Looking to gain some media coverage of your business? The more targeted you are in your approach, the better your chances will be of reaching the right audience.
Here are four strategic questions you should ask as you develop your media target list.
1. What media does your client consume?
Consider media targets from the point of view of a potential client, not from the point of view of whatever media outlet you think you can get to run a story on your business. If the message you disseminate through a media outlet is not going to reach your ideal client, then it is requires additional marketing to make it a good use of time. For example, if your stakeholders won’t see the media coverage, then you will need to share and promote the media coverage in order for it to be useful. In particular, if the media coverage is not online, it is harder to share and does not give you SEO benefits either.
Start by compiling a list of media—newspapers and news websites, magazines, blogs, TV/radio shows and podcasts—that you feel your ideal client would read or listen to, then narrow it down to your niche. For example, someone interested in interior design might read Inside Out magazine, receive The Interiors Addict newsletter and watch The Block.
(For more on niche media, see Wooing media targets through compelling business stories)
2. Where are your clients?
Consider if your niche may be location based. If your business is a café, for example, you’re not just after people who are interested in coffee or a venue but clients who are likely to be in your area at some point. Don’t underestimate local media—local papers are always on the lookout for success stories in the immediate community.
3. How engaged is the audience?
It’s tempting to try for the big media outlets that have hundreds of thousands of readers, listeners or viewers, but unless you aim for a specific section or segment that covers your area, the audience can be too broad to hook effectively. This is because when a potential client is scanning the news s/he is not engaged in what your business might offer.
Consider the interior design enthusiast mentioned above: she isn’t likely to be thinking about interiors when she’s reading about the latest activities of a visiting dignitary. However, she’ll probably be in the right frame of mind when she’s browsing The Interiors Addict website. If you’re trying to promote your interior design services, it can be more effective to aim for the niche media with a highly engaged audience.
So while audience numbers may be smaller on podcasts or blogs compared to media outlets like magazines, they often have a much more engaged audience, which makes them worth targeting. Engaged readers and listeners pay more attention and are more likely to act upon what they read or see compared to someone who is less engaged.
4. What related areas can you target?
Think laterally about the subject areas different media cover and don’t just look for publications and shows that focus on your specific business area. For example, if your business is kitchenware, don’t limit yourself to cooking publications and shows, look at lifestyle titles that cover cooking.
Find the right contact
After you’ve compiled your media target list, make sure you have the right contact at each outlet. Publications usually have a panel near the front that contains contact details of the editorial staff; often it’s better to contact a section editor rather than the overall editor if you’re aiming for a specific area, so note who’s who.
Other media, including TV, radio and blogs, should have key staff listed online in the About section. If you can’t find the right people, don’t be afraid to contact ancillary staff such as receptionists and ask who looks after the show or segment to which you’re interested in pitching your business story.
A PR agency will have its own database of contacts and ideally will already have relationships with many of them, so this process is much more efficient for them. But if you are doing your own PR, you still have the ability to be targeted in who you pitch to.
Identifying media targets may require a lot of research, but the more targeted your approach to attaining media coverage, the higher the chances of success in not only having your story told but told to the right audience—your potential clients.