Top Tips: for working with the trade press

The best methods for working with the trade press

If you don’t have media experience, learning how to deal with the trade press can seem daunting. But the trade media that cover your sector and industry are great for building relationships and 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 top tips will help ensure you’re the person the journalist calls, rather than your competition:


  • Trade press journalists do have 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. Make time to help and guide journalists new to your sector – don’t forget that the naïve 19-year-old reporter might be the 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 come to 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
  • Trade titles 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
  • Keep in mind that plenty of trade ‘magazines’ now only exist online – vary your approach accordingly e.g. deadlines for online news are often as soon as it’s been read and proofed
  • 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


What next?

Think about the key trade titles in your market; what do you read, where do your competitors get quoted, where do your clients get their industry news from? All of these will be a good place for you to build your target media so that you can get coverage for your brand, but before you start engaging with journalists it’s a very good idea to undergo training. The Bluewood print media training courses will explain how and why trade press journalists operate the way they do and give you the opportunity to practice your approach with tailored interviews. For more information, please get in touch.


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