When it comes to any kind of communications – from PR and social to IR and marketing – your organization’s target audience is the beginning and end of it all. Your Alpha and Omega.
However, when’s the last time you thought about who your audience really is?
It’s easy to get so caught up in the never-ending cycle of creating and promoting content that you begin to think of your audience in over-simplified terms such as “the media” or “consumers.”
The problem with this is that within these broad audience labels, there are more specific segments you need to consider when honing your message or selecting which channels to share your content across.
Not doing so could mean a missed opportunity down the line.
Take the time to revisit how you define your target audiences. This primer can get you started.
THE TRADITIONAL AND NOT SO TRADITIONAL MEDIA MIX
It’s easy to understand why most, if not every, communicator will say they want media attention for their brand.
According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, today’s buyers are more trusting of experts, peers and journalists, than they are of brands they don’t use.
Getting the media’s attention lends credibility to your message.
If you read our weekly Influencer Insights series, though, you know that today’s media landscape consists of more than just print and broadcast journalists.
The media mix can be broken into professional, financial and consumer media.
Professional and financial media are what we traditionally think of when thinking of “media pickup.” Professional media include newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, and websites across different geographies and industries, while financial media include those channels that report on businesses and help publicly traded companies fairly disseminate material news.
Consumer media, on the other hand, can include bloggers, YouTube and Vine stars, and other influencers who cover a topic from the point of view of the customers you’re targeting. While reaching consumer media sometimes demands a different approach than professional and financial media, they can inject your story with the unique and authentic voice of your customers’ peers.
INSPIRING INVESTOR CONFIDENCE, LEVERAGING ANALYST INSIGHTS
If your company is publicly traded or seeking outside investment, it’s crucial to keep investors and industry analysts top of mind.
Publicly traded companies must meet disclosure requirements by sending material news to the financial media. However, shareholder communications teams also need to focus on building confidence with current and potential investors, a topic we regularly explore on irblog.prnewswire.com.
For instance, a mid-cap company investing in tech that’ll help them expand into an emerging market may want to target the professional investors and portfolio managers who will get them exposure in developing economies.
So while it’s necessary their news be distributed to major financial reporting systems, their strategy should also include industry-specific investment media and organizations both at home and abroad.
Industry analysts can also help a company garner the attention they need for future investments. Although analysts have many informational needs in common with journalists covering the same sector, they often go further in offering unique insight and a specific, technical point of view on a company or industry trend.
Providing analysts with content that digs deeper into your company, trends or financial data can help you land differentiated and authoritative coverage.
B2C: CREATING DIRECT CONNECTIONS WITH THE RIGHT CONSUMER
With the ability to easily syndicate press releases and other content to consumer-facing websites and social channels, brands need to think not just about how to craft their message for the purpose of earning media attention, but also how to directly address the needs of potential buyers.
For business-to-consumer brands, the first step is determining which type of customer their news affects: broad segment consumers or niche enthusiasts.
Broad segment consumers can be defined as a wide group of customers who may differ by demographics, overall interests and other characteristics, but are unified by a shared need to purchase a particular type of product.
For instance, as a 33-year-old, married female living in Cleveland, Ohio, I may not share a lot of characteristics with a 55-year-old, single male living in San Diego. However, we likely both have a need to purchase mobile devices, transportation, food, and other ‘essential’ consumer goods.
While steps should be taken to dissect the different layers of your broad segment consumers, you can start crafting content that addresses the needs and issues the majority of them have in common and promoting your message across the key channels they frequent.
Niche enthusiasts, on the other hand, are going to be a very specific, and typically a smaller audience base to target. While niche enthusiasts may share many of the same habits with broad segment buyers, they also have specific interests they devote a lot of personal time to.
Niche passions like yoga, gardening, computer programming or craft beer not only take the form of actively practicing an interest, but often also include researching and discussing it on blogs, social media, discussion forums and at real-world events. If your brand fits the needs of a niche enthusiast, it’s important to monitor and actively participate in these channels.
B2B: ENGAGING BOTH THE SEEKER AND THE SOUGHT AFTER
For B2B organizations, it’s important that your brand message connects with the professionals in your industry who help influence their companies’ budgets and purchasing decisions.
To convert these potential buyers, you’ll need to create content for both the B2B information seekers and the engaged industry advocates or “sought afters.”
Most professionals can be considered information seekers. While they are not “publishers,” they are a very valuable audience as they are actively searching out information about their sector.
Creating content that fulfills their informational needs and promoting it beyond your owned platforms, across a broader mix of paid, social and earned channels will make your brand more discoverable.
Engaged industry advocates can be slightly more challenging to connect with. These individuals and organizations are active industry participants: commenting in forums, sharing content on social media, publishing on blogs, perhaps even speaking at industry events.
Turning them into enthusiastic “activists” for your brand can be a coup. However, you need to be smart and precise with how you reach out to potential advocates. Similar to members of the media, industry advocates are often receiving a lot of pitches. You need to target your outreach only to the most relevant and offer specific and appealing reasons to partner with you.
Amanda Hicken is PR Newswire’s senior manager of strategic content. Follow her on Twitter @ADHicken for tweets about the media, marketing, Cleveland, and comic books.