In the last decade, a lot has been made of the “demise of traditional media.” While newspaper readership is down, media consumption in general has skyrocketed. In fact, in the United States, adults spend almost half of their time on some kind of electronic device, watching, reading and listening to media sources. This trend creates more, not less, opportunities for business owners looking to reach audiences through media.

Media is an all-encompassing term that includes all of the many ways used to reach a mass audience. Television, newspapers, magazines, radio, social media, apps, podcasts, and blogging are just some of the avenues traditionally used to communicate with consumers. Given all of these options, it can seem overwhelming or fruitless to conduct outreach campaigns through the media.

Related: 6 Tips to Building a Stronger Brand Using New Media

By using the right tools, you can start to create a successful relationship with both the media and your audience.

Finding a place to start.

The trick is to narrow your audience before you begin. The better you know the public you are trying to reach, the easier it will be to find and communicate with them. Once you’ve defined your audience within specific parameters, you can find the correct outlet to reach them.

For example, while it is easy to assume that Facebook is a good place to start (this platform has double the users of any other social platform), not all messages are equally received through social media. However, a company with a B2B model will likely be banging its head against the wall, generating content that the wrong users (if anyone at all) are reading. Likewise, a small retail shop specializing in local goods will likely find it difficult to garner the attention of national outlets like the Wall Street Journal or Good Morning America.

Focusing on the right types of publications that cater to your business clientele or on local new outlets in the region you serve. It will make all the difference in the success of any outreach efforts.

Think vertical.

Companies might consider targeting smaller, niche publications that cover topics specific to their business model. In the last two decades, the Internet has given rise to millions of smaller-budget, highly focused magazines, newsletters, websites and blogs that cover everything from pet nutrition to traveling with children. A cloud-based security company could find more than 20 publications that discuss only this topic with a simple Google search, for example.

Related: How To Find Your Ecommerce Business Niche

Each of these online outlets will offer access to readers who are already interested in the product or service you sell. And because they offer such specialized content, they are likely always on the hunt for a new story to tell. Corresponding with these types of media outlets will often yield opportunities for interviews, product reviews, or the chance to personally write an article reaching out to consumers.

Consider self-publishing.

One of the most advantageous changes in media over the last 30 years is the opportunity to reach out directly to your audience, without a middleman. In the past, a press release was useless unless published through an expensive wire service. Stories about your company would only be heard if they were picked up by a print, television or radio outlet. That is no longer the case.

Entrepreneurs can now publish their own content and promote it through both traditional and non-traditional channels. A press release posted to your own website may still garner thousands of views and yield more targeted leads. A corporate blog can serve to promote new products, tell human-interest stories, and interact with customers.

Related: The Rise (and Rise) of Branded Podcasts

Even radio content can be mimicked through podcasting. All of these avenues offer the chance to reach out directly to an audience that is already interested in the ideas you have to talk about.

If you can get beyond the old definition, media equals newspaper, thousands of opportunities to work both with and alongside the media are just a mouse click away. Take advantage of media new and old to gain the third–party validation that every business needs.

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