No one communication method will reach everyone. To be successful in your communications, you need to know how your audiences get their information, who they trust, and how your messages fit into what they already believe and know.
Don’t rely on guesswork. Instead, make risk communication an interactive process by conducting audience research prior to any emergency event. Continue to check in with members of your target audiences during and after an event so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your communications. Use surveys, focus groups, or interviews with members of your target audiences. Even if you don't have many resources, just getting on the phone with a contact in a community organization can tell you something about that community’s communication needs.
Audience research can help you:
Again, advance preparation can make the difference between whether your key messages actually reach people or get lost amidst all the other noise during a crisis.
For more information about audience research, check out the CDCynergy communications planning tool.