Let’s kick it back to the fundamentals of public relations. You’re deciding who your audience is but you just can’t pin down exactly what you’re looking for. Perhaps it’s a right of passage for PR professionals to grapple with the basics, so here’s my beginner, ever-evolving solution for one of those “simple” tasks. 

Know Your Brand

Understanding who your company is and what they stand for is the first piece of the puzzle when it comes to your audience. Here’s a list of things to broaden your understanding:

  • Company goals and values
  • Services available 
  • Presence on the internet

This process is similar to an audit: just get awareness about what exactly your company is trying to accomplish. Once this information is established, get familiar with who they are connecting with. What publics are already being targeted? Are they who you want to be focusing on, or do you have different goals for another audience segment?

Answer these questions and you’ll be on the right track! Although it might seem tedious, recognizing your brand from the goals up is crucial to understand the appeal you’ll have to different audiences. 

Who Do You Want to Reach?

You’ve completed preliminary research, so now it is time for the fun part! Decide who your target audience is. These characteristics need to be detailed enough to justify why your organization wants to focus its attention on the particular audience.  

For example, don’t just say young people. How old are they? What do they do for fun? What are their interests and values? How will they be reachable?

So, young people are not a target audience. Individuals ages 15-20 who attended large universities and value equality are. Now, the detail depends on exactly what you need to be informed about. Start with age and go on from there. 

Where to Utilize this Knowledge

You don’t have to be a big-time company or organization to have a target audience. This tool is applicable for awareness campaigns, media pitches, or random important information that needs to be discussed. 

Obviously, this is most beneficial when one is planning a campaign to bring awareness, launch a product, or increase sales. However, in PR there’s nothing too small, so understanding the audience is one of the building blocks to success. 

Next time you find yourself sending an email or planning out a project, you have some basics to go off of. Discovering your audience may have some complexities, but stick to the plan and it should progress smoothly. 

Better Communication

Goals always have some intertwinement with communication. It’s how we connect and evolve, so it’s crucial for it to be successful. That’s the finishing touch when it comes to understanding your audience. 

The detailed research and grasp you have on your audience allows for the elevated communication that makes public relations so useful and important today.

I may just be an undergraduate student with limited real-world experience, but from what I know, sometimes the college textbook doesn’t lie and really helps a PR pro out. Decide what you want, who you’re representing, and who you want to target. The rest is up to you!

About the Author:

Emma Nelson is a junior studying Advertising, Public Relations, and Writing. She is currently serving on the PRSSA executive board as Podcast Director. This year is her first year involved with PRSSA and GrandPR where she will serve as an account associate. Obsessed with pop culture, Emma hopes to work in Entertainment PR. In her free time, Emma enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her dogs, Lola & Clementine.

Twitter: @emmanelson34