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The Power of Precision: How Automotive PR Can Leverage Niche Media for Maximum Impact

Randi Payton, Professor of Journalism/Automotive Journalist

by Randi

The automotive industry has become increasingly competitive today, and automotive PR departments constantly seek new ways to reach their target audience. While traditional media outlets such as television, radio, and print are still critical, automotive PR departments also have a valuable opportunity to produce consumer content in niche media that can influence more vehicle sales than an influencer social media site that reaches millions.

These outlets are specifically designed for a particular audience, meaning that the content reaches a highly targeted group of people more likely to be interested in what is being offered. Niche media is also less cluttered with competing ads than online and mainstream social media platforms. This is especially important for automotive PR departments, as they can use these outlets to reach a specific demographic with their messaging.

The first step in leveraging niche media for maximum impact is understanding your target audience and current research methodologies. Remember that diversity marketing also considers that there are limited research methods to track African American automotive consumers, a vast untapped market. Most research firms use zip codes and surnames to identify new car buyers, which does not count most African Americans who purchase new vehicles. Many middle and upper-income African Americans don’t live in Black zip codes and cannot be distinguished by last names. In addition, dealers are legally prevented from identifying customers by race.

The best way to reach this targeted group is by reaching out to auto writers who cover niche media outlets. Identifying the media outlets rather than the writer’s ethnicity is more important since many auto writers, regardless of their race, reach the same mainstream enthusiast audiences. Every demographic group has cultural niches that reach retirees, seniors, golfers, businesses, contractors, social and religious groups, etc. Invite ethnic auto writers to press launches and new vehicle test drives which cover these niches.

Once you have secured coverage in a niche media outlet, leverage your social media to amplify that coverage. This can be done by sharing the story on your social media channels, tagging the outlet and the journalist who covered your story, and using relevant hashtags to increase visibility. This will help extend your message’s reach and connect with a broader audience. In addition, many local dealerships will use culturally relevant content to attract more ethnic consumers to their showrooms.

Measuring the impact of niche media coverage is essential to understanding the effectiveness of your media strategy. However, in most cases, directly monitoring the effectiveness of content in smaller niche media is limited and is not tracked by mainstream research firms. However, the results will show up in overall sales increases. Sometimes you have to have faith that your strategy is working through increased sales.

There are several examples of successful niche media campaigns in the automotive industry. For instance, in 1997, Jaguar ran a series of car reviews in Black newspapers that helped to increase its market share among African Americans. General Motors conducted an independent study on African Americans exposed to automotive content in Decisive Media auto magazine, which showed that 59% of those who received the culturally relevant content planned to purchase a new vehicle in the next 24 months. Although many past diversity campaigns were effective, the tendency is to revert to brand awareness marketing or jump to the next trend.

In summary, niche media outlets offer a valuable opportunity for automotive PR departments to reach a highly targeted audience with their messaging. By understanding your target audience, identifying and connecting with niche media auto journalists, including niche media outlets in press distribution lists, and leveraging social media to amplify coverage, you can maximize the impact of your media efforts and generate buzz around your brand. As the multicultural market continues to grow and the automotive industry becomes increasingly competitive, the importance of niche media will only continue to grow, and those who master this strategy will be well-positioned to succeed.

Randi Payton

Professor of Journalism/Automotive Journalist

Decisive Media Network


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