As Valentine’s Day approaches, conversations about love and relationships begin to appear more often. While it may not seem obvious at first, PR and marketing professionals can learn a lot from the advice of relationship experts. In fact, those who take the time to “date” their audiences are far more likely to succeed in the long run.

There are a lot of fish in the sea. Stand out.

Just like in dating, you want to stand out.  In order to do so, you must present a compelling reason why someone should pay attention to you.  What is it about you that’s unique?  How are you different from others?

Once you’ve answered that question, pay close attention to the way your audience talks about themselves and their needs. By understanding exactly how they communicate, you can articulate your value proposition in a way they’ll understand.

Finally, if words alone aren’t enough, it may be time for some sort of grandiose gesture. Just remember that while big campaigns are likely to attract attention, your focus should be on building a long-term relationship, not just trying to pique someone’s initial interest.

Continue the conversation

Congratulations! The “first date” went well and now your audience wants to hear from you again. The question is, what do you say?  How do you keep the conversation going?

Start by recognizing what attracted them to you in the first place. If it was because of your quirky sense of humor, keep being funny.  If it was your deep insight in a particular area, highlight your expertise regularly.

You should also make sure that each of your interactions is meaningful.  Content should be relevant and specific. Customer service should be timely and helpful. Product offers should be valuable.

Finally, communicate with your audience when and where they want to hear from you.  Make sure you’re using the right channels to get through to them, not just the channels you’re used to using. When it’s appropriate, you may even think about introducing them to new ones.

Work on your relationship

Just because someone is interested in you, doesn’t mean your job is over. In fact, it’s actually just beginning.

Devote real time and attention to your audience. Talk to them regularly and listen to what they’re saying in response. Create an environment where they can speak honestly and openly and where you support their ideas and feelings on an ongoing basis.

This Valentine’s Day, remember how much your relationships matter.  Treat your audiences with care and you may be on the road to a lifelong love affair.

Written by Amy Jaick, Executive Director of GMI Digital at Goodman Media. For more on how we think, click here.