Driving Audience Awareness by Targeting Your Press Release

You’ve carefully crafted a press release to share your organization’s latest story. The content has been drafted, the approvals are in, and it’s ready to go. The last, and often overlooked, step is to set your press release up for success by selecting distribution options that drive awareness by getting your story in front of your target audience.

This guide to optimizing press release performance will walk you through the decision-making process and offer some tips on how you select distribution options that deliver the most value.

What are your business goals?

Is your organization interested in brand awareness, media coverage, website traffic, or a different communications goal? It is important to be clear on the best possible outcome for the release before determining how to distribute it.

Who is the intended audience?

Once you have defined the business goal, it’s time to consider the ideal audience to help your organization achieve that objective. Is your press release intended for the media? Consumers? Analysts? Investors?

A note on…


B2C audiences consume information and make purchasing decisions online and through recommendations from their social networks. Adding online and social components to your press release distribution plan will help you reach this audience in the places they go to seek information.


What’s true for consumers can be said for B2B audiences, too. However, consider distributing your news to trusted trade publications to further increase engagement with your news or content.

Analysts & Investors

Reaching the financial community and institutional investors can require thinking out of the box. Consider seeking out a distribution option that targets financial media and news services, as well as institutional and individual investors directly. There are also several professional-level social media services that cater to this audience that should be on your radar for distribution.

Each audience has its own preferences and habits so having a clear sense of who you’re trying to reach will help you effectively target that group.

Targeting Options

The most common goal for a press release is to be seen by as many eyes as possible. This is based on the principle that the more people that see your press release, the more people who will engage with your news or organization. Pairing the benefits of broad distribution with targeted options to reach niche audiences offers the best of both worlds.

Targeting by Geography

International appeal

The first step is to determine if the press release is relevant to an international audience. You’ll need to pin down the countries that are most important to your company, your client, or your news.

National vs. local

Next, consider the content of the release when deciding between national, state or local distribution.

In most cases, such as product launches, executive announcements, or financial updates, national exposure will help provide the boost in awareness and media pick-up your press release needs to achieve its goal.

There are some cases where it does not make sense to share your news at a national level. Local or state-wide contests, events, and promotions are great opportunities to use localized distribution networks that will target your geographic audience.

Targeting by Industry

Targeting media and other influencers who cover specific industries allows you to focus on relevant markets that are more likely to be interested in your story.

Relevant Markets

Certain industries are geographically grouped into hotspots (think automotive and Detroit or high tech and Silicon Valley). If your target industries include tech, healthcare, finance, energy, automotive or others that naturally cluster together, it’s important to consider key regional media in hotspots throughout the country that often cover the sectors driving the local economy.

Industry Subscriptions

Media aren’t the only ones interested in industry-specific news. Media, analysts, bloggers and consumers alike subscribe to news channels that offer the latest insight on specific industries. Supplementing your distribution by sharing your news with optin subscribers is a great way to reach an audience that is actively interested in your content.

Targeting by Publication

Some industries have a handful of well-known publications and influencers, and pick-up from these outlets alone could represent success for your press release. Pair your distribution with a customized outreach to the key contacts at these outlets.

If you have an in-house list built to reach these publications, the easiest option is to upload and store this list with your newswire service for repeat use.

Don’t worry if you don’t have their information on speed dial, you can seek out a media database tool to help you fill in the blanks.

Cultural Targeting

If your organization or the content of the press release appeals to a multicultural audience, this is an excellent opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Delivering relevant news to outlets dedicated to multicultural issues may help you to engage an audience that is untapped by your competitors.

Just as the content of each press release is unique, so is the distribution option that will help you drive successful engagement with your news.

If you have questions about which options make sense for your next press release, a PR Newswire team member would be happy to offer consultation.


Regardless of your audience, multimedia can drive an increase in views of as much as 2.8X more than text-only press releases, so set your message apart by adding images and videos.

* PR Newswire analysis of 2015 press releases.


Once you have your list of countries, you will need to translate the copy into those respective languages.

Translations take about 1-2 business days per 800 words of your release, so plan accordingly when working on your timeline.


It’s easy to forget that mainstream outlets still have a vested interest in all types of content. You could be selling your press release short by leaving them out and sending to just trade media!


When appropriate, consider translating your message to connect with your audience through additional languages, even within the US or Canada.


Alexa Hoffman is PR Newswire’s product manager for US distribution, a curator for @prnlgbt, and a former manager of Customer Content Services. Follow her on Twitter at @auth2b.