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Blog4 Ways to Elevate Your Community Relations

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PR team discussing 4 ways to build trust with community relations best practices.

4 Ways to Elevate Your Community Relations

Community relations is mainly about trust. Either your organization needs to establish trust or it’s aiming to re-establish that trust. Or perhaps even strengthen it. As you likely already know, trust is difficult to gain and easy to lose. That’s why community relations is a constant effort. It’s not a “we sponsored this event, so we’re good” deal. It’s the building and maintaining of many relationships over a long period.

If that sounds daunting, it shouldn’t. Community relations is really just a part of your organization’s overall public relations efforts, and it comes down to good communication with your key stakeholders and audiences.

So without further ado, here are some ways to focus your community relations efforts.

1. Define Your Community

Your community is typically where you do business, but that can be many places as more employees work remotely or your organization expands. That means you need to figure out who your community is and where it makes sense to establish those relationships to be mutually beneficial for all parties.

2. Determine Your Goals

If your organization is new or recently rebranded, you will have to create awareness that helps your key stakeholders and the audience immediately recognize your organization. Perhaps your organization is older than most of your employees and you need some help reinvigorating your presence in the community.

The important part of making your goal is ensuring it aligns with your brand and your mission. If your organization is focused on healthcare, you probably want to do things that help the community’s health, but that doesn’t mean wellness screenings and health fairs are all you can participate in.

What matters in your community? “Community health” can mean many things such as a playground for children or serving as the physicians for the local hockey team or planting trees along a new road — the idea is that you should be able to easily pinpoint how this makes sense for your organization and the community and why they tie together.

3. Build & Foster Relationships

Then start to build relationships and foster them through communication. First, determine the best method for reaching your key stakeholders and the audience you determined in that first step.

Perhaps it’s a matter of speaking to them in person. What local organizations matter in your community? Do you have employees participating in these organizations? Speaking in person at community organizations and events is a fantastic way to build relationships because that face-to-face interaction where you share your time with someone is extremely important.

Likewise, this relationship building is where your corporate communications comes into play. Your employees should be your best advocates in your community. If they’re not, you may need to think about how your internal communications is working. Employees who feel valued and “in the know” are going to be much more likely to build that goodwill in their networks toward your organization.

This relationship-building step can take on many different looks. You could host an employee volunteer day, work with local leaders on a new project or participate in local chamber of commerce events. The key point is that you and your employees are actively participating in the community in various ways — all to promote goodwill and establish trust.

4. Expand Your Outreach

When it comes down to it, community relations is an effort that expands beyond your leadership team connecting with other local leaders. Your organization impacts the lives of many in your community, so you should be talking to all those individuals. While working with local leaders and key stakeholders is important, you’ll want to reach everyone in what you determined as your community.

Some questions that play into this are:

  • What are the primary languages these community members speak?
  • How does our organization impact them?
  • What are areas of opportunity for our organization to make a positive difference for these community members?

It’s also important to consider how they want to receive information. Perhaps social media will be key, or a physical mailer may be better.

Consider the best channel for expanded outreach. AMPERAGE is here to help take your community relations efforts to the next level. Reach out.

Sarah LarsonSarah Larson, PR and community relations specialist. is the Director of Public Relations at AMPERAGE. She helps clients create content and establish relationships that enhance their brand reputation in the community.

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Sarah’s public relations and media relations credentials are a great fit for clients looking to strategically establish, grow or strengthen their brands through media. Her media experience ranges from local exposure for smaller organizations to media events, promotion and placement for internationally known entities among some of the most respected names in the world of media. Specializing in earned media placement, Sarah also supports clients with next-level communications, content development, event/media management and authentic storytelling. Her background in PR and communications extends to a wide variety of industries and areas of focus, allowing her to quickly home in on a client’s needs, create a strategic plan and execute tactics designed to deliver results and kudos.