On the Record – Trade Media Coverage is Top Tier Coverage

By Bridgette Borst

When are 10,000 readers better than three million? Simply put, when you’re a solar company and all 10,000 readers are cleantech professionals who passionately care about your ideas or products. At Tigercomm, our cleantech clients want to educate more decision makers about the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy technologies, and we regularly turn to trades to get their messages in front of key publics.

Whether you work in cleantech, healthcare or any another field – PR pros get a lot of pressure from their board members, bosses and clients to land national, mainstream media hits because of the outlet’s size or reach. However, just because those hits are commonly perceived as “bigger” doesn’t always make them better.

So, let’s dive deeper into why trade media coverage is top tier media coverage.

Last week, I attended a PRSA-NCC workshop where top trade media journalists in Washington, D.C. participated as panelists, talking about the benefits of securing placement in trade media. One panelist even responded by asking the attendees, “Do you want a more right, informed piece – or a watered down piece designed for a wider audience?” The journalists shared a ton of insights and “tricks of the trade.” Here are some:

  • The niche audience of trade media publications cares more passionately about the story than the average reader at a major national outlet.
  • Trade media keeps professionals informed about their particular field and they are passionate about these issues, ideas and/or products.
  • Trade media are more likely to seek out public relations practitioners as sources for stories, unlike mainstream journalists.
  • Trade media have time (and space) to “go deep” on a story.
  • Most often, mainstream media stories start with or are inspired by, stories first published in trade publications. Let me repeat that for those who are still saying, “but my client really wants national media attention…”: Most often, mainstream media stories start with or are inspired by, stories first published in trade publications.
  • Trade media stories are more effective in getting your message in front of the right people because the stories are likely read by everyone that matters in your field.

Virgil Dickson of Modern Healthcare also reminded us, “Trade journalists are more subject matter experts so be prepared for tougher, more technical questions.”

Additionally, the journalists answered questions about general best practices in media pitching, how they use Twitter, best time of day to reach them and more.

“Pretend that you’ve read something that I’ve written. Please tailor it to me, don’t waste pixels and one last thing – I am a hundred times more likely to read your email if I recognize your name,” said Kevin Bogardus, Energy and Environment Publishing, the publisher of Greenwire.

“I don’t like press releases – they’re overused, just send us a quick email,” said Aaron Mehta, Defense News.

Federal News Radio’s John Gilroy offered this tip, “Find out what reporters are going to conferences that you’re already attending and then try to set up twenty minute face-to-face meetings with them.”

The Q&A discussion with journalists helped PR practitioners brush up on good media relations habits in general and reinforced common best practices, such as, no matter how pitch perfect your story idea is, having personal relationships with reporters still carry more weight in this business.

Bottom line, trade media coverage is top tier because it helps you get key messages in front of the right people.

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