How to identify your target audience in PR in 4 simple steps

Mar 14, 2022
5 mins

As a startup, one of the most critical factors for success is identifying your target audience. Without knowing who your potential customers are, there could be a lot of wasted effort in your marketing and PR activity.

Knowing who you’re targeting will also help you work out how best to reach them, forming the foundation of any successful PR and marketing strategy. 

In this article, we'll outline four simple steps to help you identify your audience and start speaking to them through PR.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

Market research involves collecting and analysing data about your potential customers to understand their demographics, interests, and behaviours.

There are many ways to conduct market research, including online surveys, focus groups, and social media listening tools. These tools can help you gather information about your target audience, such as their age, gender, income, education level, hobbies, and interests.

If your business sells organic dog food, you might find that your target audience is primarily made up of young adults between the ages of 25-35, families and perhaps older adults. Knowing these demographics can help you tailor your PR messaging and distribution to effectively reach this group.

Step 2: Understand Your Product or Service

With a clear idea of who you’re selling to, you should identify your unique selling point (USP), and the problem it solves for your customers. This step is crucial because it will help you understand how best to sell it, and the core reason people are buying your product. 

In the example of our organic dog food business. Of course, your target audience will likely be pet owners - likely young couples, families with children, and older adults - but the organic USP would suggest they’re also conscious about their dog's health and well-being, and probably their own. 

Step 3: Use SEO to define your audience 

As part of your market research, an SEO analysis could help you understand what your audience is actually searching for. 

A simple way to do this is through Google search. As you type, suggested search terms will appear offering a really valuable indication of what others are searching for.  

For example, if you begin typing ‘best dog food’, Google may suggest similar search terms, like ‘best organic dog food’ or ‘best healthy food for dogs’. 

Another way to use SEO to help define your target PR audience is through Google’s ‘People also ask’ function. Take a look below to see the other search terms.

Step 4: Analyse Your Competitors 

A critical step in understanding your target audience is through your competitors. By looking at their marketing strategies, you can gain insights into who their audience is and what communication methods they're using.

Start by researching other brands’ websites, social media pages, and press releases. Look at the language they use, the content they share, and the audience they're reaching. This analysis can help you identify gaps in your own market and PR messaging while differentiating your brand from competitors.

It’s important to remember however that just because a brand in your industry is using a specific strategy or tactic to reach an audience, doesn’t mean it’s working. 

Identifying your target audience is critical for startups

Understanding your audience is the starting point for all marketing activity, including PR. 

These four steps should help you gain insights into your potential customers, what they're interested in, and how to communicate with them. This knowledge will help you tailor PR to effectively reach your target audience and differentiate your brand from your competitors.

If you found this blog helpful, then check out our YouTube channel which answers questions like, 'How do you reach out to a journalist?' or 'How to write an effective press release'.

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