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Know Your Audience? 5 Foolproof Ways to Target Your Press Release

August 21, 2017  - Tips for Small Business
Effective PR targeting for your SMB audience

So, your small business has positive news that you’re excited to share. What now? Before you write a few jazzy paragraphs to send over the wire service, there are a few important steps – one of which is determining: Who is your target audience? This seems like a relatively simple question that would garner a relatively simple answer. However, like many challenges a small business faces, what seems simple is not necessarily so.

We began our Anatomy of a Press Release series covering the various aspects of preparing, distributing and making the most of press releases. We continue with the first W: Who. How can you ensure you are targeting the appropriate prospective audience and in the most effective way possible? We will help you address these important considerations.

Your target audience are the customers you already work with and prospects that you want to reach with your press release. This can also include key influencers and others interested in your industry that you may not even be aware of today. How well you reach this audience depends on the 5 steps outlined below:

1. Build brand recognition

Make sure you are noticed. As you distribute news, consider how this can build brand recognition. Ensure your releases use a consistent voice and incorporate your company tag lines and mission statement where applicable. You should also include your logo at the top of every release. Each release you distribute is another touch point to reinforce your brand both visually and through written word, so make sure you're taking advantage of the opportunity.

2. Know your audience

You should already understand your customers, but perhaps you are expanding your offer or broadening your geographical reach. Whatever the case may be, a bit of demographic research will go a long way toward achieving a connection with your audience. Avoid jargon and terminology not commonly used by your readers since it will not help gain traction. Be sure to use familiar terminology and avoid being overly technical. Understand the audience and who you are writing for before you craft your newsworthy release.

3. Target the influencers that your customers follow

You want to target customers and prospects to increase sales – but think bigger. Widen that sphere of influence with influencers. Key influencers may be different from the audience you think you should target. Listen to your target audience of customers and prospects to uncover the influencers they are actively following on social channels or the publications they read. This research will help you form an influencer targeting strategy to build an extended targeting list.

Scratching your head and wondering where to start? Think about influencers as the friend of a friend who can make an introduction. Cultivate these relationships. Interact on social channels by reading what they write about and liking or commenting on their posts. When you are ready to pitch them, or send them a release, this may help them to recognize your name or company. Help them get to know you better so they can write or blog about you, support or validate your products or services, and amplify your brand. Cision is one resource for reaching influencers. Searching by topic within the database allows you to learn about influencers you may have been previously unaware of, but could be very helpful in getting your brand into the topics they are covering in your industry.

The influencer relationship does not end once you receive coverage for a product or service related press release. Build your influencer relationships and remember it is a two-way street. Continue being a source of industry information and interacting, and they will be much more likely to collaborate or amplify your message in the future.

4. Use consistent targeted messaging

Be consistent and do not dilute the message. It is critical when writing a press release to ensure it is focused on a single, newsworthy topic. Adding too many news items into one release confuses and weakens the message. A release about a clearly identifiable topic and includes keywords that matter to your target audiences is more likely to be discoverable, read and understood by your audiences. The targeted message is also easily shared through the social networks. Save the additional news items for future releases to keep brand awareness alive.

5. Expand reach with SEO

We are far past the days of sending out a press release, posting it on your website, and hoping that people will see it based on your company name alone. That is a Field of Dreams approach: “build it and they will come.” Modern targeting relies greatly on using the right industry buzzwords, keywords, and thinking about search engine optimization (SEO).

Having a refined SEO strategy will make your news discoverable by your target audience, and perhaps even those that you are not yet considering as part of your target audience, but should. If you ensure that SEO, especially long-tail keywords, plays an active role in your writing of the headline, sub head, first paragraph and throughout your copy, your news will rank higher in searches. The release will get in front of not only customers and prospects already interested in you, but a much broader audience that could move into the buyer category. We covered this in greater detail in our Get Social series if you want to learn more.

Proper targeting can make or break your news release. It can be the difference between thousands of reads and plenty of traffic streaming back to your website . . . or deafening silence. The key to targeting is to understand your audience, refine your targets and influencers along the way, and research every single industry your company, products, or services apply to before you prepare your release.

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