Targeting Your Publics

All too often, we get so caught up in putting our ideas onto paper, that we can sometimes forget who we are writing for. It is important to keep our audience in mind with every news release we send, but sometimes it becomes the last thing we think of when we sit down to write.

To avoid this in your writing, consider the following points before drafting your news release and as you are editing.

  • Who am I trying to reach?
    • Are you trying to reach people in a specific industry or region? Are you targeting people who have a general knowledge base in your area of expertise or people with a certain specialty in your field?
  • What is the most pertinent information in the opinion of my target audience?
    • Depending on your audience, this may be something very technical or very general. For example, if you discovered the cure for cancer, your message to the general population would probably resemble something like: “XYZ company has discovered a cure for cancer,” however, your message to oncologists or scientists in the field would be much more specific, using technical language and terms.
  • What is the level of understanding that I want them to have about my product or company?
    • This question goes along with the above, but is also essential to consider on its own. Depending on who you are targeting, you may wish to give more or less detailed information about your product or services.  Messaging for the same announcement should differ depending who your target audience is.
  • Who are the gatekeepers for this target industry?
    • This is a critical point to consider, because gatekeepers are ultimately the ones who will disseminate your message. In PR, we like to consider gatekeepers to be reporters, bloggers, news anchors, radio personalities, etc. Once you have defined your target audience, you need to figure out which gatekeepers influence this audience. Using our earlier example, if you wanted to let the general public know that you found a cure for cancer, you would notify all the major news outlets, CNN, Fox News, etc. and, if the announcement was properly positioned and had merit, it would be picked up by every local news station, newspaper and radio station in the country. However, if you decide to target the oncologists and scientists with the more detailed information of the discovery, you would look to medical journals to disseminate this message.
  • What do the media need to know to make this story relevant to them?
    • This is the tricky part – making sure that your message is both relevant to the gatekeeper (media) while keeping in mind what is most crucial for your audience to know. In a perfect world, these things tie in nicely, but in the real world, it is often hard to get the media’s attention. Research your gatekeepers before you target them. Make sure your message will interest them by looking at topics that they have covered in the past and also taking note of their writing style. By doing this preliminary research, you can find the best gatekeepers to approach with your announcement and secure the best chance of reaching your target audience.

Work through these questions before writing your announcement and you will greatly improve the chances of reaching your audience.

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