One of the fundamental questions a journalist will ask when they are considering whether to do a story is:
I am not trying to be flip or sarcastic. A producer, reporter or editor may say it to you or simply think it to themselves. That's because when you’re producing for television, radio or print, you are looking for stories (content) that engage, entertain and above all, serve your audience.
Who Cares and So What are basic questions for figuring out what matters to the audience and filtering out what doesn't. A pitch has to fit what the audience wants for the media to care about it.
A talk show aimed at women 18-24 would likely want far different stories from a show aimed at women 40+. You wouldn’t pitch a story about surfing to the Golf Channel, unless golfing or golfers were somehow involved.
It may sound preposterous that anyone would pitch something so off-topic to a niche channel, but in my TV days, I received a number of pitches from PR pros who had obviously done NO homework and were telling me how perfect their client would be for my show. Their pitch went nowhere because I didn’t produce a show. Two clicks of a mouse could have told them that.
The same is true for planning the online content you produce for your blog, videos, webinars, etc. You want to create quality, relevant content that appeals to your target audience AND works for the search engines. Think about people first, but getting your content ranked high in Google doesn't hurt.
Ask yourself Who Cares? and So What? before you post online content, draft a speech/presentation or craft a traditional media pitch.
Other basic questions:
- Who do you want to reach? Gender, age, other demographic specifics
- What do they care about? What are their values?
- What’s the best way to reach them? Online, offline, both?
- What are the best media formats to reach them – video, audio, print?
- What do you want them to do? What is your clear Call to Action?
It takes planning to get your name and message spread in the most effective way. Define the target, know why what you say will resonate with that specific audience or segment of an audience and decide the best places to reach out to them.
Online communication is all about finding and getting in front of the specific niches most likely to care about your message and content.
In offline media, you may be able to find specialty publications and shows that cater to your specific audience.
If you choose traditional mass media – broadcasting and print – you'll reach a broader, more varied audience. Since the niche is not narrow, editors and producers want to cover a wide range of interests to satisfy the different taste of a diverse audience. That means some will care more than others about you and your topic.
The good news is with many more media channels avaialble today, you have more avenues of opportunity than ever to aim your message at your ideal audience.
With the right strategy and mix of content, both new media and traditional media outreach can get the results you want.