Beyond PR

Jan 11, 2017

4 Communications Tips to Help Challenge Common Misconceptions


Getting your message to break through the noise is a complex task, but when that message challenges common misconceptions, it can be even harder.

In a recent case study, we describe how National Safety Council (NSC) faced that challenge with their #CallsKill campaign. Eight in 10 drivers mistakenly believe hands-free devices are safer than using a traditional mobile device. NSC wanted to bring awareness to this misconception and help make the roads safer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning a content marketing strategy that revolves around challenging misconception.

1 – Who is your right initial target audience?

To bring awareness to a misconception, it is important to target the right audience. Doing a mass outreach might yield some results but won’t be as powerful as focusing on one specific segment, who then can advocate on your behalf once convinced. Understanding your primary target audience is key. For NSC, research showed that they should focus outreach to mothers with young children. A clear understanding of your target audience is a crucial first step to crafting the right message for your audience.

2- Focus on a clear, concise, and impactful message.

When challenging misconceptions, it’s important to grab your audience’s attention fast. One way to accomplish this task is by appealing to emotions. You need to pick your audience’s interests and entice them to want to learn more.

NSC created a short PSA video with a powerful message specifically targeted to their audience. The video strongly appeals to their audience’s emotions and draws them in for more information.

Once you grab your audience’s attention, it is very important to support your claim with thorough research. Addressing misconceptions needs to be backed up with tangible data in order to bring the message home for the reader.

3– Use the right medium to convey your message.

Tell your story visually to grab your audience’s attention fast and make an impact. Multimedia assets such as videos and images are best to quickly appeal to emotions right away. Keep in mind which channels you will use to distribute your content. Your message might need to be tailored and optimized based on the channels you will use.

Text, including data with explanatory videos and infographics is a great secondary step to help support your claim. Your research should be easily digestible for your reader as to quickly address the misconception and get your point across.

4- Reach your audience using the right mix of content distribution and strategic placement.

Before distributing your content, you must decide where your newly created assets will live. Having one hub either on your owned channels or elsewhere that hosts all of your information is key.

Then, it is important to create a multichannel promotion specifically tailored to reach your targeted audience. In order to maximize the reach of their message and to target their audience, NSC developed an integrated distribution strategy, building a custom paid and earned media program to place all of the visual assets of the campaign in places they knew their target audience would likely be watching.

It is important to promote your message and assets through PR and earned media channels in addition to your owned channels. Earned media allows you to reach readers outside of your existing audience and help increase your brand awareness through a wider, yet targeted outreach.

See an example of a creative & tactical media strategy in action by downloading our case study National Safety Council & MultiVu Increases Awareness on Critical Issue of Distracted Driving and find out how NSC received over 100 million impressions and ended as a Gold Winner in Public Service Announcements Category from AVA Digital Awards.

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