Who are we talking to? The important role of the audience in PR

Who are we talking to? The important role of the audience in PR

Long gone are the days when families sit around a single television screen to digest the day’s news. The rise of the internet, the 24-hour news cycle and smartphones has fundamentally altered the way we consume media.

New ways to the news

Understanding how your target audience digests content is crucial to the success of any communications campaign – a fact sometimes ignored by PR agencies on the hunt to fill the monthly report with as much coverage as possible.

One criticism levelled at PR campaigns is they do not deliver tangible business benefits. The client is always very happy to be featured in a national newspaper but how do you quantify the impact?

The latest ABC figures show that newspaper readership in the UK continued to fall sharply – with The Sun (- 7.27%), Daily Mirror (- 19.55%), Daily Mail (-11.13) and The Daily Telegraph (-18.4) suffering heavy year-on-year decreases since 2017.

Smarter communications

With less people reading newspapers, we – as communication professionals – need to be smarter if we are to continue creating and delivering effective PR campaigns that reach the right people.

What if your client sells a particularly niche product. Is a broadsheet newspaper still the best place to introduce their brand to a wide audience or would a high-profile online magazine have more impact? What about a video series with a high-profile ‘influencer’ backed up by a targeted social campaign? These are the questions that need to be answered, as the perfect solution will be unique to each client and their long-term business goals.

The right message, the right audience

When working with a client to develop a strong communications campaign, the approach should not be solely focused on spreading messages to as broad a base as possible. Instead, it should be about using the right communications channel to deliver the key messages to the right people.

By understanding the target audience and how it operates (reads specific magazines, uses certain social apps etc) you can achieve more with the same effort – tying in the marketing and advertising streams so all of the client’s external communication is clear, consistent and compelling (the mythical three C’s of communication).

In an increasingly noisy world, with PR professionals and their clients competing for the attention of the same target audience as their competitors, only by knowing your audience can you realistically achieve a memorable campaign that drives true business benefits.

Liam Andrews

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