By Bridgette Borst
Why is trade media coverage top tier? PR Pros from around the nation’s capital packed their list of questions and piled into PRSA-NCC’s most recent workshop to hear it straight from top trade media journalists: Virgil Dickson, of Modern Healthcare, Aaron Mehta from Defense News, Energy and Environment Publishing’s Kevin Bogardus, and John Gilroy, from Federal News Radio.
Aaron Cohen of Aaron Cohen PR moderated the panel discussion. Here’s the scoop on how YOU can convince your boss or client that trade media coverage is top tier coverage –
- 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.
- 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.
One panelist summed it up by asking the attendees, “Do you want a more right, informed piece– or a watered down piece designed for a wider audience?”
The journalists continued to dish out “tricks of the trade” to help public relations practitioners get in the door and strengthen their pitches.
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.”
“Trade journalists are more subject matter experts so be prepared for tougher, more technical questions,” said Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare. Dickson added, “I like to go on Twitter to find out what’s trending.”
The attendees brought lots of questions with them that ranged from current best practices to how trade journalists use Twitter, how to write a great subject line, daily deadlines, and more. Not only did the panelists talk about what works in trade media and why it is top tier media coverage, but they also shared feedback that’s applicable to mainstream media pitching.
“I don’t like press releases – they’re overused, just send us a quick email,” said Aaron Mehta, Defense News.
“If you’re going to call or email me, don’t make it look like a blanket outreach. 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.
All of the panelists stressed the importance of having personal relationships with media, and no matter how pitch perfect your story idea is, having a personal relationship with a reporter still matters most in this business.
“Generally, if you put something like, ‘Think you might be interested in this’ or ‘I saw your story about…’ in the subject line, then I will at least open your email,” said Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare.
The Q & A style workshop proved to be a popular event because it spanned all of the major industry trades and provided public relations practitioners of different industries with valuable insights. Bottom line, attendees learned that yes, 10,000 readers are better than three million when all 10,000 readers care about your ideas or products.