Understand Your Audience
Technically your audience is the people you’re trying to reach via the media, but it’s hard not to consider the reporters, producers, bloggers, etc. you’re targeting as your main audience. They are your first point of contact in trying to reach the broader audience that will respond to your message or call to action.
With that in mind, it’s important to take the time to understand your audience’s likes, dislikes, preferences and roles to better tailor and place your stories. Traditionally, this has been done through media databases that will compile guidelines about reaching out to media: i.e. “do not call to follow-up on releases, send emails”. More recently, reporters will post bios on the media outlet website, or even manage their own sites where they not only discuss what topics they cover professionally, but also give indications of their personal life. I once was pitching a dog client, and found it tremendously valuable to identify reporters who mentioned their pets.
And today, social media can give you a clearer look into how to work with a reporter than an hour deskside interview may have in the past. A public Twitter page will give you an idea of their interests both professionally and personally, and may offer a more direct form of communication than a phone or email that is inundated with pitches from other PR people. On Facebook, they’ll delineate the causes that they support, while LinkedIn will give you an eye to what professional netwok connections you may share.
Time and again, I’ve found that if I’m going to ask a reporter for something – coverage for my client – then I need to take the time to get to know them as carefully as I would a good friend.