ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
March 23, 2009

Who Is the Target for Your News?


This is a vexing question that so many are asking themselves these days. Is that target audience for your news the “media”? To be more specific, is it just your known media as in trade media? How about your clients and prospects for your business? How about your customers?

According to a 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, one in four media jobs have disappeared since the year 2000.

Media Woes, 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics study

This figure is growing every day. I’m afraid to believe that this will grow to be two out of four media jobs by the end of this year. So, I have to ask the question again about who is the target for your news.�

When I worked for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer years ago, I would have said that the target audience for any press release was at least 80 percent media. Today, I would challenge that the audience for a news release is 50 percent press at most. The other 50 percent is search. Today, we have moved from an era of pushing our news out to an era of allowing our content to be pulled (check out The Power of Pull by Steve Rubel, Edelman) by those who are interested in it. This means that search is fast becoming the best way to reach your target audience.

There are lots of techniques to make your news more searchable. The good news is that a little know-how goes a long way. Even better news is that when you mix in these techniques with what you are doing now, it will stretch your budget dollars even further and show more ROI.

Here’s a few quick tips:

  1. Make sure you are choosing the right words and phrases when you are writing your news. Remember, just because you use one word or phrase internally, doesn’t mean that’s what people search for. Try using Google Insights for Search.
  2. Make sure you use your chosen keywords/phrases in the headline or subhead of your release so the search engine spiders will pick up on it.
  3. Use links. Too many people forget to include multiple links in their news. However, don’t just link to your home page; be sure to link directly to the pages within your Web site where you are trying to drive the traffic too. There is a lot of value in deep links.

Here’s a few more places where you can go to get more information:

Michael Pranikoff, director, Emerging Media, PR NewswireBy Michael Pranikoff, director, Emerging Media, PR Newswire, helps communicators learn about the role RSS, blogs, social networks, search engines and other emerging technologies play in public relations. He created PR Newswire’s Seminar Series “PR in a Web 2.0 World.” His own link blog, Delicious.com/MichaelPranikoff, links to sites and conversations that pertain to the intersection of technology and public relations.

Join Pranikoff for his session, “Make the Most of Social Media and Demonstrate Its Value: Maximize Your Public Relations Dollars,” at the Digital Impact Conference: Learn to Profit From New Media, April 30–May 1 in New York, NY!

  • cwreynolds

    This article is extremely interesting. Obviously knowing your target audience important, if we do not know the audience we are striving to reach then what is the point of the product? One question that caught my eye while reading this is why is a the audience for a news release only 50 percent press? I found the quick tips to be useful but somewhat common sense. Choosing the right words or phrases is something we should always consider when writing. I did however like the idea of using links. By providing multiply links the user can then find his or her way through the internet without getting lost or bored. This will keep the attention of the audience.

  • http://www.tekgroup.com Steve Momorella

    Great posting, thank you.

    Some other tips that we talk to our clients about for maximimum SEO are:

    1) Ensure that you use a search-engine friendly URL. Too many press releases have the URL of the wire service or company that put out the URL and not the company name itself. Make sure that your targeted keywords are part of the URL of each press release.

    2) Create targeted distribution lists to all of your target audiences – customers, employees, newspaper editors, bloggers, prospects, and financial analysts – and use email distribution as well to draw traffic directly back to your press release.

    3) Analyze your site stats to see what keywords people are searching on to find your news. Make sure you use those keywords in your release, your META title and keyword tags, and the URL, if possible. Also use a trend tool such as Google Zeitgeist to see what people are searching for currently.

    Thanks again for the great posting.

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