Pitching for Keeps: Building Relationships with Trade Publications

March 6 2017

It’s any publicist’s dream to call a reporter who knows our name, which companies we represent and even remembers our die-hard Green Bay Packers fandom. It’s even better when the reporter works at a publication that is extremely valuable for our clients. Although building relationships with reporters is no small feat, it’s certainly possible – and should be a goal for all trade media.

For some of our clients – especially those in highly-regulated industries like financial services, healthcare and professional services – trade coverage can be just as valuable as top-tier media exposure. In many cases, industry trades garner the most ROI for these clients because they are hyper-focused on specific sectors and target key decision-makers that our clients care about most.

What is the best way to pitch these high-priority industry outlets? And how can they benefit clients in the long run? When building relationships with trade reporters, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Know the Audience

Although we frequently secure media coverage for our clients in top-tier publications like The New York Times, USA TODAY and CNN, many of the companies we support target their products and services to a distinct B2B audience. This audience isn’t always concentrated in the mainstream publications. Because they are most concerned with trends that impact their industry, our clients’ audience gets their news from niche publications that provide insider points of view on topics that are most relevant and tailored to their profession.

Understand What’s Different

Pitching a trade publication is not the same as pitching a top-tier publication. Trades usually run on a skeleton editorial staff with a bank of freelance reporters that are assigned to stories by their editor. However, unlike the top-tiers, many trade freelance reporters have been covering their industry for years – they might be just as much of an expert as your spokesperson is on any given topic. Because these industry publications are so honed in to their specific subject matter, identifying the correct reporter, learning about their background and sending them personalized story ideas is crucial.

Be a Reliable Resource

I’ve worked closely with a number of financial services trade publications for my clients, and the goal is to be on their go-to list, in the same way they are on yours. If you have a good relationship with the reporter and you serve up reliable sources, he or she will come back again and again for your insights.

While a hit in The New York Times will always be a big win, a feature story in a niche trade publication can be just as valuable to your clients’ bottom line. By cultivating strong relationships with reporters at these trades, PR pros can secure meaningful coverage that provides increased visibility for their clients and can result in new leads for their business.

By Becca Hare, Account Executive at CooperKatz & Company, Inc.
Courtesy of CooperKatz & Company, Inc.