How to use PR to reach your target audience

Target with a dart in it.

PR goes beyond raising brand awareness. If the right message reaches your target audience, it will also lead to sales, conversions and customer growth

But how do you craft the right message? 

And how do you use PR strategically to reach your target audience?

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to use PR as a strategic tool to identify and reach your desired audience(s), increase brand visibility, build relationships with key stakeholders and attract new customers or members.

Is PR as effective as marketing at reaching your target audience?

PR is often overlooked as a tool for reaching your target audience, which is a shame because it can be just as effective as marketing in getting your message across and building brand awareness.

One of the strengths of PR is that it can help establish your credibility and authority. By providing expert insights and opinions and sharing knowledge through thought leadership, interviews or expert opinions in the media, your brand will be seen as a trusted source of information.

Another advantage of PR is that it can help humanise your brand and build relationships with your target audience. By telling engaging stories, and sharing customer success ones too, your audience will feel more connected to your brand, leading to increased brand loyalty and advocacy.

Discover more by reading our blog on how to become a thought leader in your industry.

Identify your target audience

This might seem obvious: of course you know who your audience is, but it’s worth taking a minute to consider this fully.

Are you just targeting new customers, or do you also want to grab the attention of investors? Are you hoping to reach consumers, or do you need to get the attention of business decision-makers? 

Sometimes, it can be a mix. For example, we helped motorhome rental company Goboony raise brand awareness among holidaymakers (B2C) as well as reach motorhome owners (B2B), including businesses with several vehicles. These are distinct audiences, with different needs and therefore needed different strategies to reach them. For more info on how we approached this you can read the full Goboony case study.

Discover more with our target audience checklist.

Get to know your target audience

You can learn about your target audience in many ways, including market research, customer surveys and regularly touching base with those who speak to them regularly – your in-house experts: the sales team.

If your PR goal is customer growth, then your comms operation needs to work hand in hand with your sales team; those on your front line will have a unique understanding of your customers, crucially having discussed and solved many of their pain points. This in turn will help you to construct customer personas for your PR campaign. 

When defining your target audience, consider their demographic information such as age, gender, location, and education level, but also think beyond that. 

  • What motivates them? 
  • What are they passionate about? 
  • What problems do they need to solve? 
  • Where do they get their information from? 

Answering these questions will give you valuable insights into who your audience is and how you can best reach them.

Identify where to reach target audience through the media

When you know who you want to target and you’re confident that you know what makes them tick, your next step is to reach them. You’ll need to put together a list of target media that either cater to your target audience’s location, interests, needs, or even just their demographic. 

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for a range of different media to give your business the best chance of getting your message in front of a wide group of potential customers. Types of media include:

  • Trade and professional publications (e.g., The Manufacturer, Travel Daily News)
  • Investment, tech startup and entrepreneur publications (e.g., Tech Funding News, TechRound)
  • Top-tier newspapers (e.g., The Daily Mail, The Guardian, Mirror)
  • Local newspapers (e.g., Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Live)
  • TV broadcasters (e.g., BBC, Sky News, CNN)
  • Radio broadcasters (e.g., BBC Radio 2, Heart, Capital FM)
  • Local broadcasters (TV & Radio)
  • Consumer/lifestyle magazines (e.g., Money Saving Expert, Hello! Magazine)
  • Online news (e.g., BuzzFeed, Huffpost)
  • Podcasts (e.g., Ask Martin Lewis, the Diary of a CEO).

Be strategic with your messaging: How Brewdog used PR to reach its target audience

Being strategic with your messaging means that you’ve got to match your story to your audience. Not only do you have to write something that will motivate and resonate, you’ve got to make sure your messages are appearing in the right publications.

Take Brewdog as an example. Their target audience is young, driven, anti-establishment and socially-conscious adults so their marketing often highlights their individuality and their ethical credentials such as their World f*cup campaign, which criticised the human rights record of Qatar, picking up coverage in socially aware publications that have a younger readership such as the Manc, the Drum, the National and the Big Issue.

Of course, their beer is also available in mass-market supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, so they also target bigger news publications with stories with a general appeal, like when they made alcohol hand sanitiser during the pandemic.

Brewdog has also been nimble enough to take advantage of newsjacking stories, launching a “Barnard Castle eye test beer” following the controversy with Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown rules during the pandemic.

Finally, Brewdog’s market isn’t just consumers. They release industry updates to trade magazines such as Beer & Brewer and Restaurant Online to catch the attention of business leaders who might be in the market to sell their beer in pubs and restaurants, and even potential investors with stories in Crowdfund insider and Elite Business.

They key takeaway is that Brewdog hasn’t crafted one single story with the intention of picking up as many publications as possible, they’ve created lots of different stories which have been tailored for specific media to reach their intended audiences.

Use case studies to resonate with your target audience

There’s no better way to convince your target audience that you’re a brand worth trying than to promote a case study of a happy customer. 

Journalists love case studies (and they often ask for them). They’d much rather write about a story with people; anything with a human interest angle often makes for a more compelling and unique story. It also means they’re not just taking your word for things and are speaking to people who have used your product or service and found that it’s been beneficial. 

More than this, consumers and business leaders can put themselves in your case study’s shoes. If they identify with the challenges faced by your use study, and are impressed by how your solution helped them, you’re on to a winner.

Case studies can be profoundly effective. For example, we secured BBC coverage for fashion-tech innovators meepl after creating a case study for them that promoted how their body scanning app helped a woman finally buy the right sized clothes online after many frustrated attempts! You can find out more about our work with meepl by reading our case study: From launch to acquisition in just 12 months.

Need help with reaching your target audience with PR?

Our team has witnessed firsthand how targeted PR can lead to rapid customer growth.

From persona building to brand messaging, we can help your business put together strategic PR campaigns that will deliver on your objectives.

Contact us to find out more.

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