Know your audience – social media as a primary news source

Figures released last year by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, revealed that 40% of online users in Western Europe utilise social media as a news source, with one in 10 saying it is their main method of consumption. This was found to particularly apply to young people aged 18-24, who use social media more than television to catch up on the news.

So why was this of interest to us?

When we first sit down with a new client, one of the first things we’ll discuss is their target audience – who do they want to communicate with, and why? Such information is crucial if we’re to deliver a PR campaign that will achieve those all important business objectives.

Once we’ve built up that picture, we can start to refine the PR strategy we adopt. We will think about the tone we use, the level of detail we share, the nature of the content itself, and consider where we will ‘find’ the audience we’re striving to communicate with.

That’s because, all too often, a client will tell us where they’d like their brand to be seen. And, of course, the client’s requirements are very important – but sometimes we also need to challenge clients to ensure they’re putting themselves in the mind of a customer.

If you’re a demolition contractor, for example, it’s understandable to want to appear in the demolition media. But the success of the PR activity may be limited if you’re talking only to your peers. Potential customers are more likely to read the wider construction press, or media in key vertical markets, so those titles need to be on your ‘hit list’ just as much as – if not more-so than – your industry’s own titles.

We’ve also heard some clients say that they’re ‘not bothered’ about having a social media presence, because they don’t have the time to use it. Now, naturally, social media won’t be a primary focus for some brands – and when it does have a role to play, some channels will often be more relevant than others. However, Reuters’ recent research shows that, whatever your thoughts about social, it does matter to a lot of people. It is a quick and convenient way to digest industry developments, breaking news, opinions and trends. And, crucially, it is always ‘on’.

So, if you’re thinking about how to tell your story, the channels you use are equally as important as the story itself.

To talk to us about your PR requirements, please call 01484 489333 or email

Read the full report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

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Written by Katie Mallinson

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