PR for Startups and Small Businesses Using Facebook Ads

by Toby

August 31, 2017

PR for startups using facebook ads

There’s no questioning that good press coverage of your business can do a lot for getting your brand into the media and in front of potential customers. But what if you don’t have a large media budget and can’t afford to hire a PR professional?

If you’re a small business or a startup, Facebook ads can be very effective at getting your story out in front of the right people, and for very little money.

In this post, I will show you how to target journalists and the media within Facebook’s ad platform.  Moreover, you can be as narrow or broad in your targeting – from journalists at major newspapers to niche local papers.


How To Target Journalists Using Facebook Ads

You are probably wondering how we can use Facebook ads to target journalists and the media. However, people put incredible amounts of information in their Facebook profiles, including job titles and their employers – two such informational nuggets that can be used for ad targeting.

Moreover, this is just another example of how Facebook shines as an ad platform. There really is no other way to target journalists in an affordable way.

Before we go any further, I’m assuming you already have a compelling story, announcement, or a new product that you want the media to see along with a landing page of where the traffic will end up.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Set Your Geographic Target

Where are the journalists that you want to target? Do you want to target locally? Are they only in your city or metro area? Alternatively, are you targeting national publications and media, or perhaps an industry vertical?  You can be very targeted here and can go extremely broad or narrow – the options are many.

Below is an example of how I set the targeting to just San Diego plus 25 miles.

setting your geo target for journalists
Setting a geographic target for your Facebook ads.

Step 2: Set the age range you are targeting.
I would probably set this to mid 20’s to late 50’s or early 60’s perhaps. Gender you can leave as “All”, and leave language blank unless of course you are targeting, as an example, Spanish-speaking journalists who are a whole other option.

setting age range facebook ads
Setting the age range of your Facebook ads.

Step 3: Select Job Titles

Here’s where you start to get focused. There are dozens of job titles related to the media that you can target. Under Demographics choose Work then Job Titles.

job title targeting in facebook
Setting the job title targeting towards journalists.

Start typing in media related job titles. As I typed in “Journalist” you can see that Facebook auto-fills all sorts of other related job titles. Select all the titles you think are relevant.

facebook auto fill job titles
Facebook will auto fill job titles and provide others.

Here are more examples. Just keep going.

facebook auto fill journalist job titles
More journalist and media job titles to add to your targeting.

Add all the ones that are most relevant to the Job Titles field – keep building your list.

As you are building your list, Facebook will show you how big your target is, which at this point for this example is restricted to San Diego plus 25 miles and whatever job titles were selected.

san diego journalists job titles target size
Targeting San Diego journalists.

Right now Facebook is indicating our target is fewer than 1,000 people, which is fine since we are targeting a very narrow area. However, this changes once we either add more job titles or change the geographic target.

Below I changed the geographic target to include Los Angeles and San Diego, and the target grew to 5,600 people.

san diego plus los angeles journalists
Journalists in San Diego and Los Angeles.

So at this point, you could target just job titles and run your ads. Narrowing your targets to more specifics is always a good idea, however. Let’s explore several other options.

Add Employer For More Focus

To add the type of company that the journalist works for just select employer by choosing Demographics, Work, then Employers.

Layering employer targeting facebook ads
Layering on employer targeting with Facebook ads.

Here’s a list of example employer targets:

employer added targeting
Facebook employer added targeting for media companies.

How To Target Journalists in an Industry Vertical or Niche

So keeping your job titles, now remove the employer, but add interests to layer the vertical or industry the journalist might work in.
So if you were a biotech company, you could layer on Interests of Biotechnology or Science.

biotech journalists in facebook
Targeting journalists in Facebook that cover biotechnology or science.

Alternatively, what if you were a microbrewery? You could target journalists that had an interest in the beer industry.

journalists covering microbrewery industry
Targeting journalists that cover the microbrewery industry.

The options here are really endless.

So there you have it – a primer on how you can easily, and effectively target journalists and media professionals to get your story in front of.

With Facebook, you have so many options and can be as broad or targeted as you need to. In general, when you have small budgets layer on targets to become more focused.

Comments or questions welcome below. And if you liked the post, could you tweet it out too?
[Tweet “Guerilla PR: How to promote your business to journalists, media using #FacebookAds”]

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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