Public Relations Strategies: Knowing Your Audience


Your 'audience' as a PR professional may be larger than you think. It refers to the press contacts and media vehicles your consumers and potential consumers (target audience) use, see, read, or visit. Knowing who to address in your pitches for your news and press releases is critical to getting any sort of coverage, reach, or results. Are you targeting your pitches, new stories, or press releases?

Just as you would (or should) personalize a cover letter, so should you personalize your pitches and stories. Don't waste the message you worked so hard on perfecting! Here are some ways for targeting the right audience:

  • Do Some Research. This is such a simple task that, though time consuming, can be what gets your company some media attention. You need to understand who it is you're targeting, and where they go for news or entertainment. For example: you are a technology company and your target market consists of mostly college-educated, white-collar professionals from Generation Y who are mostly male. What sort of publications do these white-collar folk read? Time? BusinessWeek? The Times? Small Business? Knowing will lead you in the right direction. Not knowing what publications your target audience reads means you could be wasting time, energy, and monetary resources on media who, though they may give you coverage in their media vehicle, do not target your consumer audiences. Ultimately, you need to know who you target as a business, and who targets them as a media vehicle.
  • Customize. Once you've found who your target is, make your pitch personal and customized, and ensure that your news is relative to that targeted individual. Also, it may be a good idea to know the angle that publication uses. If you fit their tone, use similar angles, and write on topics they often feature, they may be more likely to feature your story.
  • Understand What Medium to Use. What does your target audience use most? The internet, newspapers, television, or magazines? If you know where to go to get to your target audience you can save yourself a lot of time. This knowledge can come from research (the first step that should have been completed). This research will also let you know how each medium gets information. Do they have writers on staff, or do they usually syndicate or byline articles from industry experts?
  • Lastly, Have Something Newsworthy. Your story doesn't have to be Earth shattering news, but so long as you make it more interesting by making it relevant to readers or viewers, your story ought to be considered newsworthy. You can send out a press release about something big to your company, like the changing of a CEO, but it won't be read as important or newsworthy unless you state what will come of this change. Relate it to the community and your audience, as they feel the affects of this change as well.

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your rapport with media and get your company some coverage. While there is a lot of competition, you doing well makes a world of difference. Put a little extra time into planning and you should see some positive results.

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