When small business owners have a story to tell, they want to get it out as quickly as possible to the people they know it will resonate with best. Yet, with the modern media landscape being as multifaceted and competitive as it is, small business owners may struggle to find where their story fits best.
It takes a deep understanding of the media landscape to see where one’s story is best suited, and gaining this understanding can be a challenging task, especially if one is new to the market. However, there are several key steps to take to gather knowledge about the media world and develop a robust strategy to ensure their story is heard.
Public relations (PR) experts are adept at analyzing the media world and industry trends to guide their clients and get them the most meaningful coverage. Their expertise can create trending topics, engage new audiences, and positively affect the overall reach and reputation of their clients.
Here are some of the best ways PR professionals help guide small business owners to understand the modern media landscape.
Research and analyze different media platforms
Expert knowledge of PR is, in truth, an expert knowledge of media. To discover where your story will resonate the most, start by familiarizing yourself with various media channels, including newspapers, magazines, podcasts, websites, social media platforms, and television shows.
Each channel should be individually analyzed to gain an understanding of the unique audience, content formats, and editorial focus. Although a particular media channel may be popular or a favorite of the small business owner or person seeking media coverage, it may not be well-suited to their particular media needs. The platforms targeted should showcase similar stories and have a target audience that aligns with the client or business owner’s target market.
Study audience demographics and preferences
Once different media outlets are pinpointed, the demographics, interests, and preferences of those target media outlets should be studied. This information can help people identify the different platforms that will reach your target audience effectively, ensuring that your story resonates with the right people.
A good PR professional understands that knowing one’s audience is the starting point of every solid marketing or PR strategy. Demographics — including age, race, gender, or education level — can tell you a lot about who is consuming your content, buying your product, or interested in your services.
For example, if your target audience is individuals over age 50, certain social media apps such as TikTok may not be the best way to reach them, as these people tend to prefer outlets like magazines, newspapers, or email newsletters. If you are not looking closely at demographics, you may be wasting energy on media channels that are not reaching your target audience.
Monitor industry trends and developments
Change is a constant within the media. There is always a new social media platform, a new trend, new breaking news, and shifts in preferences for consumed media.
For this reason, small business owners should stay updated on the latest trends, innovations, and changes within the media industry, such as new technological advancements, shifts in consumer behavior, emerging platforms, and evolving storytelling formats. These innovations in media have changed rapidly in recent years — from paper media like newspapers and magazines to short-form videos — and the public’s preferences for how they want to consume media seem to always be in flux.
Remaining aware of changes and shifts such as these can help one pinpoint the channels that are more likely to provide their story (and brand) with maximum online exposure.
Engage with media personalities and influencers
Small business owners who want to get their stories out into the world should network with journalists, editors, producers, bloggers, and influencers who operate within their desired media landscape. One should attend industry events, connect with influential people on social media, and establish relationships to gain insights and advice on where one’s story would be most suitable. This can be done by following those personalities online, commenting on their posts, and pitching stories or opportunities to appropriate personalities or journalists once you get to know them.
Influencers wield significant power within the social media landscape, and their expertise can help small business owners gain further access to wider audiences. Journalists have a different power, in that they can lend credibility to your story, along with providing an audience.
PR experts get to know the different intricacies of these varied media personalities, and learn how to tailor pitches to each one individually. They foster meaningful relationships with these professionals to learn more about them and their preferences, and proactively reach out to their media network when they have stories from brands and small businesses that match those preferences.
By studying audience preferences, demographics, and trends, and by establishing relationships with media personalities, small business owners can forge a deeper understanding of where their stories will best resonate. Stories are meant to be heard, and knowing exactly where to place one’s story for maximum engagement and exposure can provide an excellent pathway toward success in today’s media landscape.
Chan Desai is an account strategist for Otter PR.