Targeting the right media for your PR


Our clients usually have media targets in mind when they start working with us.  They may want to be in titles like The Times or Conde Nast Traveller, they might be aiming for specialist media in particular sustainability or they may choose to work solely with influencers. But the media landscape has changed massively, especially since Covid, and we often ask CEO’s who do you want to reach, and do you know where your audiences really are?

Whilst influencers are still generally happy to share their profile, location and audience figures, that’s not the case with traditional media where it takes specialist tools to find out how many people saw the article that resulted from your carefully crafted communications plan.  For example, would it surprise you to know that the newspaper shifting the most copies in Scotland is the Press and Journal? Not only that, it has the largest print circulation of any regional newspaper in the UK. Now, at this point I have to declare that I am a columnist for the P&J and would love to think that I am the reason it sells three papers for every one Scotsman, but the reality is that it has invested heavily in the business during a time of redundancies elsewhere.  Not far behind it is the Dundee Courier.  So don’t discount the ‘locals’ who actually have a well-informed and large audience. (Source ABC 2023)

I can hear newspaper editors shouting at their screens because the number of physical copies is no longer the whole story. After all, when was the last time you bought a newspaper? Audiences for paper editions are plummeting and the smart titles made the switch to online or subscription models where the story is quite different. The Scotsman has a print audience of just 8,762 but its online audience is the 12th biggest for any regional newspaper in the UK, reaching a total of 4 million and growing. (Source Ipsos iris)  Others, like DC Thomson (owners of The Courier), point to 25,000 subscribers.  However you’ll need the help of a media monitoring tool to estimate how many of those thousands of online readers actually saw your article. And some of the biggest media organisations do not publish their figures at all. As a former journalist, I wish newspapers would see the benefit of showing their value through more visible stats.

My advice to you is to carefully consider your objective. Don’t assume that a big media name will generate a big audience: the publication with the biggest reach may be somewhere unexpected.  Remember that an article in a media outlet with a small but dedicated readership may get your message across to the right people more effectively.  However, all articles by independent journalists give your message authenticity and anything positive published online is a win because it’s great for your SEO.

And one last issue to bear in mind is the day of the week. London Paper City AM has seen such a shift to home working that it no longer issues a paper on a Friday.  Any journalist will tell you that their inbox fills up with more press releases towards the end of the week and empties during the school holidays.  As well as rethinking your target title, consider waiting a few days and becoming the new BFF of journos on the Sunday shift by giving them a nice story for a quiet Monday or a bank holiday weekend.