Trading on your industry insight

If I asked you to describe a journalist, you’d likely imagine someone clutching a voice recorder with a camera around their neck, waiting outside an office for an exclusive — probably wearing a pork pie hat. However, this stereotype isn’t necessarily true, particularly if we’re talking about trade journalists. To make media relations work in trade media, you must understand what trade journalists really want.

By Kirsty McMahon

Media relations | Engineering PR | Brand journalism | WritingTrade publications rarely have the same resources as nationals to support large inhouse editorial teams or keep fleets of freelancers on call. Often, you’ll find that there is a team of between one and four very busy people managing a magazine, particularly in sectors like engineering, manufacturing, product design or food processing.

This means that you’ll never find them hanging around outside your facility desperate for your opinion on the latest goings on in your industry — they simply don’t have the time. Instead, these publications rely on contributed content from reliable sources and knowledgeable voices in the industry.

That’s you.

However, to secure your spot in their next edition, you’re going to have to make sure what you send them is worthwhile and fit for purpose. Worry not though, I have some hints to help you do just that.

Do your homework
Before you start writing, make sure you do you research. Your opinions might be interesting, but if the arguments you’re making can’t be supported with fact, you’re not being thought leading, you’re preaching.

Take the time to check reputable sources of data, such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or a research house like Frost & Sullivan, and back up your argument.

Don’t sell
Good content is not about making you or your products famous. Good content is all about the reader and the issues in their industry. Any article that shamelessly plugs your latest product will be instantly dismissed as an advert and passed over.

There’s a time and a place to sell, but to secure editorial space in a trade publication you need to think about the kinds of articles you read in them. I’m willing to bet it’s the ones that inform you or teach you something new, not the sales pitches. Think like a journalist and leave your sales head somewhere else.

Add something to the conversation
If you’ve read lots of articles in trade media about a certain topic it’s easy to say something on the same topic. But, just stop for a second and think. Do you really have a new angle or opinion, or are you just rephrasing parts of the conversation that have already happened?

Make sure whatever you’re writing either starts a whole new conversation or moves one on. If you don’t write original content you’re wasting your time, as no-one will want to publish it.

Bonus points
Here’s my final tip, from someone who has been a trade journalist. Proofread like your life depends on it. As an editor, there’s nothing worse than accepting content that looks fab, but requires a load of work because it’s grammatically incorrect or full of typos.

It helps if you read your content out loud, as you’ll easily spot where things aren’t right. Or, you can even get your computer to read it to you with just a few clicks in Microsoft Word.

Creating quality content is the key to getting coverage in trade publications, and over-worked editorial teams will be eternally grateful to you for it. However, it’s not always easy to carve out the time to write this content and handle media relations, so why not give us a call on +44 (0)1785 225416 or email me on to see how we can help?

Kirsty McMahon

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

No comments: