Do you know which media your target audience consumes?

Whether it’s reading the BBC news headline through blurry eyes on waking, listening to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme during the drive into the office, or checking Twitter at lunchtime, there are a myriad of ways we keep up to speed with what’s going on in the world and how our consumer choices are influenced.

We simply can’t ignore the fact that adults spend an average of 21.6 hours online each week.

Check out Ofcom’s latest report on media usage for some more eye-watering stats.

In today’s world of 24 hour online news and the advent of social media, we might hear about a breaking news story via social media well before it’s published in the traditional media. And in any case newspaper journalism has evolved, with their online version invariably going live before any print copy hits the news-stands.

That’s why understanding how our customers and service users consume media is vital to ensure that your communications resources are being used effectively. There’s little point getting coverage in your local newspaper each week if you’re allowing your competitors to steal a march on you by securing product reviews and promoting their discounts online – although a combination of press coverage and digital marketing is highly effective.

Lifestyle data, such as Acorn, can provide you with invaluable information about your target audiences, if you have a defined geographical area for your business. If you can’t afford this level of market intelligence, you can find out more about your customers’ / service users’ media usage by asking them to complete a short form in order to receive a discount offer, sign up for your newsletter / blog, or register for an event.

You could also invite some of your stakeholders (I hate this term, but you might equally be trying to reach new members, or get people to give their views on a new development, not just sell a product) to attend a focus group or complete a telephone survey, to find out more about their media behaviour and habits.

But it’s not rocket science – you’ve probably got a good sense of the types of media that influence your target audience without going to great expense. Have a brain storm, ask colleagues – you’ll be surprised how productive an hour with a white board can be. Take a look at the following for inspiration:

Bob, 55 years, listens to his local commercial radio station at work as a builder. He casts his eye over the local rag during his tea-break. He owns a smartphone but only uses a few Apps – mainly to keep abreast of the football results and have an occasional bet. He recently joined Facebook mainly to share pictures of his fishing ‘catches’. Other than booking flights and holidays, he makes very few online purchases.

Cathy, 25 years, picks up a Metro newspaper at the train station. She scans Twitter on the journey to work – she follows thought-leaders in the fashion and retail industry. She has the latest iphone and takes advantage of offers and discount by her favourite brands. She uses WhatsApp and Snapchat to keep in touch with friends.  She enjoys podcasts and media streaming websites.

Brian, 45 years, is a professional who uses Twitter to network professionally and keep up with news and commentary in his sector. He uses consumer websites such as moneysavingexpert.com. He tends to watch the news at 10pm.

So, by painting a picture of who you’re targeting you can see how your PR strategy might begin to take shape; and getting to know your target audience’s media consumption and behaviour can really help you to up your game.

Here at Well Read PR we don’t churn out a one-sized all approach for our clients, instead we get to know you and your audiences to create a bespoke PR strategy that will ensure press releases convert to pounds.

You can follow us on twitter (@katewellreadpr) or facebook. We also like to meet people face to face – and the first coffee is always on us!

pic: istock, javi_indy

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