Reaching the Right Audience: How to Target Your Press Release Distribution

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Every PR pro’s dream is to have their story picked up by thousands of media outlets and read by millions of people, resulting in brand recognition and increased sales. Understanding your target audience is the first step to attaining this goal.

Knowing this enables you to narrow down the geographic regions and/or types of media outlets you'll want to reach. 

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step toward reaching the right audience is determining who exactly that group is. Who is reading your press release and where, and which reporter is going to pick up the story?


When identifying your target audience, you'll need to segment two major players: the readers and the reporters. To target your press release distribution accordingly, you need to know who your readers are, where they are located, the types of media they most likely consume, and the publications they're reading.

For reporters, divide journalists based on their beat (the industry they cover) and the publications they're featured in. Also think about how your story angle might appeal to more than a single industry. Could the release be crafted to be relevant to different journalists writing from different industry perspectives? For instance, if you're writing a press release announcing a new technologically advanced fitness bike, you'd target health and fitness reporters but if it also discusses the growing business opportunity in this technology, it may resonate with a business technology reporter as well.

Review Press Release KPIs

If you’ve distributed your press or earnings release through a newswire service, you likely have access to a host of performance analytics. Many of these metrics get overlooked, however, they can be invaluable to understanding the appeal of your content.


Determine the Type of Media to Target

Which media does your target audience interact with most? Traditional media includes print publications such as newspapers and magazines, broadcast news like television and radio, and digital media outlets. New or digital media includes bloggers, podcasts, online influencers, and social media. Every consumer interacts with each type differently.  

Market research company Global Web Index released the “Digital vs. Traditional Media Consumption” report, which explores media consumption by age. For instance, the article states 16- to 24-year-olds spend most of their time online, so it’s safe to assume you can reach your demographic by pitching your teen-related releases to blogs, social media, and digital media outlets. A majority of podcast listeners are male, with a household income more than $75,000, so send press releases targeted to the male population to podcasts in hopes of getting an on-air interview. Take out the guesswork. Conduct a bit of research on which types of media your audience is most likely to explore—which can sometimes be done with a simple Google search.

Once you’ve uncovered the type, you can purchase a targeted email list from a database management company that connects PR professionals and journalists.


Build Your Media Lists

If a niche reporter picks up your press release for a story, you’ll be effectively reaching your target personas. To find the perfect journalist to share your story, build a media list. You can do this one of two ways:

Use a Paid Media Database

There are several paid media databases that connect you with reporters in your industry and niche. Such databases help you search for the right journalist and send customized email pitches. 

Search for Target Journalists

If a media database isn’t yet in your budget, you can still search for reporters who reach your audience via a simple Google search. Granted, not as efficient or productive as using a media database, yet it is an option, especially, for smaller, highly-targeted efforts. 

Just type your industry or topic into Google and click on the News tab. Scour through the list of news articles and make note of the authors in a spreadsheet. Keep a log of their name and publications. To find a reporter’s contact information, you may need to do a bit of sleuthing. Look for the author bio on the publication’s website, conduct a Google search, or check their social media, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Approximately 46 percent of journalists are open to receiving pitches via Twitter, too. 


Use a Wire Service

A newswire service can facilitate your media outreach to specific audiences. In fact, News Direct, unlike other traditional newswires, offers a unique hybrid distribution model that combines the vast global reach to a network of thousands of media outlets with targeted industry-specific distribution leveraged through our partnership with Agility PR solutions. No other news distribution service offers this innovative hybrid approach.