August 17, 2010

The Crucial Differences in Reach, Outreach, and Reaching Out

published this at 8:20 am



Changes, variations, mutations, and interpretations have arisen around business “reach.”

Marketing, I think, can be divided into two eras.

The first, the biggest, the baddest and the most impressive was the era in which marketers were able to reach the unreachable. Ads could be used to interrupt people who weren’t intending to hear from you. PR could be used to get a story to show up on Oprah or in the paper, reaching people who weren’t seeking you out.

Sure, there were exceptions to this model (the Yellow Pages and the classifieds, for example), but generally speaking, the biggest wins for a marketer happened in this arena.

We’re watching it die. — Seth’s Blog, Reaching the Unreachable, May 03, 2007

Reach, as in Circulation

In the world of getting a message out to many people, the word reach has traditional meant “circulation,” how many unique people will receive the message we send out. That number has never been truly quantifiable because …

Basically reach is about broadcasting.

Reach is NOT the number of people who actually are exposed to and actually consume the message, but rather the number who have the OPPORTUNITY to see or hear the message. It might be described as absolute number (1,284,793 million) Twitters, a metaphor (the population of the state of California) or a portion of demographic (74% of the male population between 18-24).

Whether the reach was effective might be a function of time spent with the message or times exposed to the message.

Reach goes broad and far, but establishes minimal relationship between the sender and individual receivers who can inform the process. Relying solely on reach / circulation will always be shooting in the dark.

It’s naive to confuse the act of reaching to actually touching an unknown someone’s mind and heart.

Blogger Outreach to Spread a Message

In the place where Marketing and PR cross the social media, the term, blogger outreach has come to mean identifying bloggers who reach the same audience you do with your products and enlisting (or pitching) them to talk or blog about your products and services to their communities. Done well blogger outreach has the power of moving a message from one trusted friend who knows many to a group of trusting friends who may tell even more. Done less well it can be someone who is simply broadcasting in a new way.

To my mind, blogger outreach is the art of asking people to evangelize to their networks for you. It’s crucial that such things include three things for the message to come through whole, authentic, and as intended.

Leaders are learners who let people participate in building things no one of us could build alone. Don’t just reach out, but bring bloggers into your brand if you want them to understand, own, and protect your message, to stand up for your intentions. Then when a message gets misinterpreted Actively investing time online and off listening to each other and sharing expertise and you will give them reason and opportunity to own, protect, defend what you build.

Reach Out and Touch Someone …

The power of connecting people to people is not a new thing. In 1979, AT&T needed to soften it’s image as a possible monopoly and reconnect with it’s customers in a more human way, Ken, D’Ambrosio, Marshall McLuhan, and N.W. Ayer all contributed to what became the famous “Reach Out and Touch Someone” media campaign. Reach out and touch someone …

Though the AT&T commercial is still broadcast and still the idea of reaching out to touch someone is a great example of what a traditional campaign in as part of an integrated marketing effort might look like today. It shows people connecting because of the experience a product allows.

Reaching out to connect is the goal.

When we know we’re about growing their business, we listen, use their language, and choose the right tools to meet their goals. Reaching out becomes connecting to their need in a way that lowers the risk and shares the benefits. We raise the goal to something bigger than we could alone.

The crucial differences in reach, outreach, and reaching out are the differences in how well we communicate what we do and how deeply we demonstrate that we do it.

Do you have reach, do outreach, or do you reach out? Do do you all three?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

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Filed under Marketing /Sales / Social Media, Successful Blog | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments to “The Crucial Differences in Reach, Outreach, and Reaching Out”

  1. August 17th, 2010 at 8:29 am
    Andy Hayes said

    Wow – this really blew me away, what a great post. I’m not sure what I’m doing, but my goal is to make a connection, kind of like that cheesy-yet-effective TV advert above :)

    Here’s an example. Everyone knows the big thing with a SOB is having “a list.” But what are you doing with that list? Chris Guillebeau suggested to me to actually contact people on that list, call people out, talk to them and see what’s going on. Killer concept, and very powerful.

    We might all be online but you can’t hide if you want to be successful.

  2. August 17th, 2010 at 10:04 am
    @steveplunkett said

    Awesome Article Liz.. (LOL.. your new name.. “Awesome Article Liz”) ok.. just kidding..

    umm.. that is like textbook material.. very good info… now.. to mix this one with the influence… ?

  3. August 18th, 2010 at 1:50 pm
    Jamie Lee Wallace said

    Grt post. Liz.
    I think I have each of these in some degree (more on some days than others) 😉 and it’s one of my goals to continue extending myself in all three areas.

    I have a particular passion about the third aspect, though … reaching out and touching someone. It’s a difficult thing to scale, for sure, but I don’t think that the smallest gesture is ever wasted. Sometimes the small, personal touch can make much more difference than the big, “mass” touch. I think every business needs to include a mix, but those personal moments are the ones that become part of the larger story, carrying the passion and the intent to the larger group on a whole new level.


  4. August 23rd, 2010 at 4:40 am
    Monday Reading Roundup Take #28 said

    […] Do you know what the difference between reach, outreach and reaching out is? Liz Strauss explains it in a great piece, stressing the importance of reaching out and connecting with someone, building a valuable relationship. […]

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