There’s always need a big celebrity or big-name press coverage to make a big impact. While those components can be part of your overall communications mix, often the key to success lies in reaching audiences where they already are – at the local level.

After all, whether you’re a local organization or have a national footprint, at the end of the day, you need to connect with your targets as individuals and drive them to action. But what are the best ways to make a meaningful connection with these audiences and boost activation in local markets?

Here are five tips discussed to consider when activating campaigns on the local level:

1. Identify measurable, desired outcomes.

You may have an idea of your goals, but are they measurable? Think of all of the actions or results to get you to the final success point, and quantify those success factors before you even start. Is it the sheer number of people you reach? The specific types of individuals (target audiences) you reach? The number of strategic media placements? The messages you deliver? The specific actions taken? It is important to identify these KPIs in advance – and get buy-in from key stakeholders – so that results of the campaign can be measured against your original goals.

2. Do your homework.

Take the time to truly understand each community you want to connect with and get a sense of their unique needs. No two are the same, and a cookie-cutter communications approach won’t work. You need to get a good sense of each culture, going beyond simple demographics. What are their issues/concerns? Where do they get their information? Who do they trust? Who are their leaders? Where do they gather? How do they get things done? The good news – you don’t necessarily need to be in market yourself to uncover these answers. A strong audit of social media, local media and talking to people in the local network can help you get a better understanding of their culture.

3. Develop an authentic approach.

After you have a better understanding of the local community and your target audiences, you need to develop a genuine way to connect with them. Authentic personal stories can be the best way to resonate with individuals, so it’s important to leverage local voices in communications efforts, build a library of these resources for easy access and develop tailored messaging that incorporates your brand. Perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re communicating a clearly-defined, easy-to-accomplish call to action. Think about how you want your story told, who you want to tell it and be clear about what you are asking people to do.

4. Activate a multi-channel program.

Local media is just one way to reach your target audiences, and you need to uncover all the channels open to you in a community. These can range from social media, existing community forums, events, morning shows, radio, podcasts, bloggers, newspapers, newsletters, magazines – not to mention activating your local partners’ own communications channels. A well-blended mix will ensure you reach all of your target audiences, and reach them often.

5. Create local ambassadors.

Lastly, if you implement your engagement strategy successfully, you not only create activation and build relationships – you can create long-lasting ambassadors for your brand. After your initial outreach concludes, continue nurturing these authentic relationships through repeated interactions on an ongoing basis. Over time, your ambassadors may leverage their influence to spread your message on a personal level to their networks without you even having to ask.

The time is ripe for local activations this summer so be sure to look into and use these tips to guide you along the way!