Bluewood Top Tips for working with the trade press

The trade press covering your sector or industry are great for building media relationships and to start getting coverage for your brand. These relationships will be crucial once you start competing with rival organisations that are also after editorial space. Whether you are new to PR or want to stay on top, these tips will help ensure you’re the person the journalist calls, rather than your competitor.

• Trade press journalists have hugely varied levels of experience. Make sure you are ready to be tested on details if you are speaking to an editor, and be ready to provide background and more simple explanations if the reporter is new to the title. Don’t forget that the naïve 19 year old reporter might be editor of The Sunday Times one day.

• Deadlines vary between the trades so get to know when they go to print – this will help you to understand when it’s best to pitch your stories and ideas.

• All journalists are keen to fill their story ‘pipeline’ – alert them to events, conferences or upcoming deals that they should cover later in the year, and offer to provide comment when they write about it.

• The trade press, like other platforms, are under increasing pressure to produce more, with fewer resources. Remember to be timely and helpful when you deal with them – they will be grateful for it.

• Think about feature angles – trade titles have to repeat features throughout the year and year after year. Many feature editors are desperate for new angles on old subjects.

• The trades also love good pictures and they don’t always have their own photographers. Offer them photographs (or even video for their website) with your story – it can be the difference between getting in print and being overlooked.

• Like all media outlets you should provide stats and facts to back-up what you are saying, but the trade press might be keen to get your exclusive research too.

• Get to know the freelance journalists that cover your sector as they will probably write for a number of titles in the same market and can be a great path to getting more coverage.

• Trades might focus more closely on news in your industry but don’t assume you can use lots of acronyms, jargon and corporate speak – keep your language clear and simple.

• Understand the difference between the frequency of various trade titles; weeklies tend to be news-led and monthlies tend to cover features and wider-industry issues.

• Consider positioning yourself or one of your colleagues as a spokesperson for your wider-industry; even if you only get your name and title in; it’s still brand building and the trades are always keen to have expert commentators.

• Try to angle or ‘hook’ your stories and press releases onto other current news or trends in the industry – this will increase your chances of coverage.

• Don’t assume trade press stories won’t go any further – some of the biggest stories started off there and got picked up by other journalists on the national and broadcast news.

• Finally; as with anything it’s worth persevering – if you don’t get the coverage you want first time, analyse what you did, right or wrong, and don’t give up.

Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.com – February 2015

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