To get your story in front of the right people, you need a thorough understanding of the media landscape. Public relations experts handle this constantly changing beast by analyzing audiences, platforms, and industry trends. With an eye to all of this, they help you navigate the media landscape and determine where your story is best suited.
Research and analyze different media platforms
The media landscape incorporates all forms of media. It includes traditional media outlets, such as newspapers and magazines, as well as newer platforms like blogs and social media sites.
A public relations specialist will be able to expertly research each platform’s target audiences, content formats, and editorial focus to determine which aligns best with your story. For example, if your company sells organic food products to restaurants and grocery stores, it may make more sense to place the story in an online magazine targeting health-conscious consumers rather than focusing on local business news or food trends.
Study audience demographics and preferences
To develop a successful public relations strategy, you need to understand your audience. Researching your audience demographics and preferences helps you identify the media best suited to your story.
In essence, demographics are key statistics about your audience, such as their predominant age range, gender, ethnicity, and education level. These are important because they reveal what type of content people want and how they prefer receiving information.
For example, some demographics prefer reading email newsletters, while others prefer tweets. Once you know who your audience is, however, you can more easily learn how they prefer to receive information. Some turn to social media — especially younger members of your target audience — while others to email newsletters, and still others to reputable magazines.
Next, you need to study the platforms you want to target most because you need to learn the most popular platforms associated with your industry. You also need to discover the outlets with a reach extending to people who haven’t heard of you yet.
Public relations experts have insights into the demographics, interests, and preferences of the audiences that frequent different media outlets and can identify the platforms that reach your target audience effectively. They know the type of coverage that is best for each story and will be able to help guide you toward the outlets that will pick up your story and share it with a larger audience. The right placement means your message will resonate with the people engaging with those outlets.
Monitor industry trends and developments
The media landscape is constantly changing, and you need to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry if you want your story to stand out. Industry trends like technological advancements, shifts in consumer behavior, emerging platforms, and evolving storytelling formats all affect the media channels that give your story maximum exposure.
To understand how your story fits into the news landscape, public relations professionals keep tabs on industry conferences, awards, and events, read blogs that provide insight into what’s happening in your industry, and monitor social media channels used by journalists covering issues related to your brand.
PR experts also read trade publications like AdWeek or Fast Company. These outlets regularly publish stories about new products, advertising campaigns, and other developments in the world of marketing and public relations.
Engage with media professionals and influencers
To get your story out there, you need to network with the journalists, editors, producers, bloggers, and influencers who can make it happen. These connections occur in person at industry events or online via social media.
To make the most of media professionals’ time, PR specialists develop an understanding of how they work and tailor their pitches accordingly. For example, to catch their attention, you will need to know if these media professionals prefer email pitches over phone calls, if they are more likely to respond to exclusive story opportunities, or if certain subjects interest them more than others. Proactively reaching out to these journalists and other influencers will help you identify the best outlets for your story and keep track of any new developments within the field.
In a constantly shifting media landscape, a story that was a perfect fit for one outlet last month may not be a good fit this month or even next week. To create a solid public relations strategy, you need to know where your story is best suited, who wants to read it, and how to get it in front of those people. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be when planning your next PR campaign.
By studying audience demographics and preferences, monitoring industry trends and developments, and engaging with media professionals and influencers alike, you can develop an understanding of where your story is best suited and how you can get that story where the right people will see it.
Chan Desai is an Account Strategist at Otter PR.
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