In the realm of public relations, there are a multitude of skills that one has to acquire and hone in order to run a successful campaign. One of the most vital of these is the ability to target and obtain the right press and media coverage for clients. Here are a few pointers on how best to find the most relevant media for your PR story.
Before we can even consider which media and press releases to target in any PR campaign, we first have to set out to define the target market for each particular piece. This information is the most important factor that will determine who to approach, what to write about and how to pitch it. With so many different market segmentations available and vastly different content sources and publications, it is of the utmost importance to determine to whom you would like a particular PR piece to speak. In order to achieve this, it helps to look at who your ideal customer is. Consider factors such as:
Considering questions like these will give you a pretty good feel for what type of person you are trying to communicate with, as well as what sort of content sources they are subscribing to. From this rough brainstorm, you can then start to determine which are the most relevant media publications to approach with your piece.
Now that you have an idea of who you are trying to target, you can begin to target the media and publications that speak to this audience. In addition to years of experience and dealings with particular media outlets and publications, there are a couple of ways to determine the journalists and media outlets to target.
There are a number of companies in South Africa that offer the service of amalgamating lists of all publications and journalists within particular market segments. These lists are generally broken down by industry type and with a little common sense, you can determine which would be best for your target market and PR piece.
With the wealth of information available online, it is relatively easy, albeit labour intensive, to find this sort of information. Go onto each publication’s website to read user comments and the type of content that is usually posted. Look at their twitter followers, Facebook friends and other social cues. With a keen eye and a some invested time, it is possible to fully understand the readership of various publications by assessing their online presence.
Similar to the previous point, there is a wealth of information available in publications themselves. By using a bit of logic and opening up the publication in question, there is a lot to glean about their audience and readership. Without having to invest too much time reading an entire magazine or newspaper, one can scan the index page, as well as headlines to determine the type of content that is most often being published and therefore deduce the makeup of the publication’s target audience.
Although journalists are bombarded on a continual basis by people trying to get them to cover their stories, it never hurts to ask. Even if you can just get through to the front desk of a publication, people are generally more than happy to help out and answer questions when asked in the right way. Journalists realise that if someone is willing to take the time to familiarise themselves with the demographic and interests of their readership, this person is more likely to offer them useful and relevant content when the time comes for the inevitable pitch. Our advice is to ask nicely and explain the reason for your questions.
Our final piece of advice is the most important, for there is no better way to get your articles published than to ensure that you are writing the right sort of content for the publication and media you are pitching to. Try to think like a journalist and consider what it is that they are wanting to achieve from their articles. Think again about your target market and that of the publication and write your articles and press releases in a way that speaks to both, as effectively as possible. It is always ultimately the well-written, relevant and newsworthy articles that are going to be published. So ensure that you have an interesting story to tell, tell it well, and tell it to the right people. If you can manage this, your PR stories will get the coverage they deserve.