A while back I was having lunch with a friend and colleague and we were talking about LGBT media; things like newspapers, websites and magazines. We were discussing how there are pockets across the country that are just blatantly lacking access to LGBT media outlets. In several of my prior marketing related blog posts I talk about the importance of getting active and getting involved in your local community. Oftentimes I suggest getting involved in the local LGBT media in your area. However, what I don’t usually do is put a caveat on that; that not every city, town or even state has an LGBT media outlet.
For those of you living in towns, cities and states that do have stellar LGBT media coverage – consider yourselves lucky! Many of us (Connecticut included) have very poor LGBT connectivity and coverage. A state like CT where we are pretty progressive, have had marriage equality since 2008, lacks one central hub of connectivity for the LGBT community. For a state as small as CT we are very disjointed in terms of having a central way to get a message out – whether it be promoting a community event or for a business owner to make a splash letting it be known that they are LGBT-friendly.
There are a lot of organizations throughout the state that do their own things, but no one place that serves as the ‘go-to’ resource to find out what’s happening for LGBT people here.
I want to know from you – is this a problem in your area? If so, what are you doing to stay active and stay engaged with the community?
This is what I do.
I pay close attention to what the LGBT chamber of commerce is up to. Often they will post events that are happening throughout the state or businesses that have some kind of promotion or special for the LGBT community. This is all well and good but one of the downsides to some of the LGBT chambers is that they only promote those who are members of the chamber, so this can miss a wide range of other things happening in your area. It makes total sense why they only promote members but what do you do to find other things happening in your area?
Next step I would look for is the community center or pride center. Is there one in your area? I know in Connecticut we have one in Fairfield county (near NYC) and one in Hartford county (Capital region). There could be others in another part of the state that I am unfamiliar with but these are the two I know of. These two organizations are hubs for activity within their geographic footprint. You can walk in, find event materials of things happening in the area and surroundings, you can see the latest business owners who have been there as well.
Often at the pride/community center you’ll see a fair amount of newspapers, directories, flyers, etc. But, back to the earlier point – what if there is no LGBT media in your area? I would be looking for any websites that are at least a good start. Using CT as an example still, I know of a handful of websites that have event listings for things going on in the area. There are a few that are specific to lesbian activities, a few that are for bears, some for lesbian moms, etc. So there’s information out there it just might be online only.
As a professional or business owner lacking access to one central source of LGBT media might make it a bit harder to create an LGBT outreach road map, but it doesn’t make it impossible. You will find your best bet by knowing very clearly who your target audience is and advertising or marketing to them in a way that makes sense to that group.
An example that just came to mind. I know there is a lesbian mom Meetup group in CT. I’ve received invitations to attend some things even though I haven’t actually been yet. But if there were a business owner out there who designed maternity clothes or something designed for babies that was LGBT owned and operated and was looking to sell to this group of lesbian moms – you could throw a picnic together for them and introduce them to your line of clothing. It would cost you a nominal amount to get in front of a very specific group, who is part of your target audience, and introduce them to what you offer.
It’s really about being creative and thinking outside of the box on ways that you can serve the needs of your target audience but find unique ways of reaching more of your potential target audience. Really think outside of the box here. While having a good source of local LGBT media in your area is helpful, going outside the box will help set your brand apart and make you unique. And that’s what matters most!
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