Every B2B tech PR person dreams of the splashy feature that will help make their company brand instantly recognizable. Maybe it’s a Fast Company article detailing a compelling success or a groundbreaking startup story. We all live for the big hits, but not every feature story is a magic bullet, and they don’t come along every month. Just as some celebrities are famous for being famous, big-media notoriety can build the ego without building the brand.
If the big-name media feature is the show horse, then trade publication coverage is the less glamorous workhorse of PR. The B2B buyers’ journey has been evolving rapidly, with research indicating that “decision makers don’t just go to a website, add a data center to their shopping cart and check out. They research, ask questions, ask more questions and spend countless hours online before deciding.” Those hours, of course, include studying trade journals, reviews, and analyst reports.
In a B2B purchase decision, third-party influence is a powerful way to capture customer interest. While pitching the national publications should definitely be a part of the overall PR plan, no B2B tech campaign can afford to ignore the opportunities that trade media afford.
Trade coverage has built-in relevance
While a feature in The Verge reaches a broad demographic of tech enthusiasts, a similar story in AI Magazine (published by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) will target the AI community: engineers, entrepreneurs, experts, and fans of artificial intelligence. Wired describes itself as covering the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture. A B2B with a new VR (virtual reality) tool for real estate sales should never neglect specialty outlets VR Journal or AR/VR Magazine – as well as real estate trade journals like Realtor Magazine. Real estate company buyers are more likely to be paging through these journals than Wired. This adds up to coverage with greater relevance to the likeliest buyers. Your story may have less eyes on it, but they will be the right eyes.
Trade pubs are a community network
Digital and print trades in a given sector are tantamount to a virtual business community. They’re platforms for idea-sharing, networking, recruiting, and advertising. A consistent presence in the right trade outlet can announce the arrival of a new company as a legit player, or it may help establish a founder as thought leader. Trade coverage can also help attract talent and be a door-opener with prospective clients. Some trades are distributed free through industry membership organizations, and this less commercial model breeds greater objectivity and familiarity within the community.
Trades placements yield good returns
Pitching trade press can be easier than nailing a story in a large media outlet. A large outlet will be looking for a seven-figure financing announcement or a splashy customer testimonial. Plus, bigger outlets like to report on bigger companies. In trades, the stories can be smaller and less flashy, but more in-depth. If a new company has a very specific, highly technical new tool, its value may be hard to communicate to a wide audience, but a trade may love it, technical details and all.
Additionally, trade press hits can multiply opportunities. B2B can leverage trade outlet coverage by repurposing it into owned media, as well as in case studies, white papers, webinars, and pitches to bigger outlets. National publications sometimes even pick up trade journal coverage, leading to exponential coverage for your brand. You get the best of both worlds.
Trades confer “earned authority”
Like all earned media, trade publications offer that all-important third-party endorsement. Industry insiders respect the credibility of trade journal reporting and use it as a valuable resource. That respect and trustworthiness which journal coverage confers upon a company translates into expanded brand visibility, new leads, and conversions opportunities. The pitching of bylines and interviews to trade publications is a cornerstone of a well-conceived thought-leadership plan. An executive whose name and point of view appears regularly in the trade press will become an industry fixture.
This air of authority that trade placements produce also helps guide B2B decision-makers along the buyer’s journey. In the information collection phase of the buyer’s journey, B2B decision makers seek to gather content more trustworthy than that from a company’s own website. They dig online for data sheets, case studies, reviews, analyst reports, and white papers – much of which can be found in trade journals.
Two of the biggest 2018 marketing trends in B2B involve the creation of more marketing content and the personalized delivery of that content. Pitching to trade media satisfies both trends, by assisting in the creation of relevant content and its most appropriate audience. An inexperienced PR pro may neglect trade outlet pitching, opting instead to swing for the fences. But savvy B2B teams realize that more hits in the right places can add up to winning outcomes.