May 16, 2018
By Jenna Cason
For as long as trade journals have been around, CEOs everywhere have reacted to the mere mention of their names with an underwhelming lack of enthusiasm. To (loosely) quote a few from my past: “Yeah, that’s nice and all ... but what about The New York Times?” “These smaller publications are, uh, great, but when can we expect to see hits that will actually move the needle for us?” And, from the more brazen of the pack, something along the lines of, “Why are we wasting our time with such small potatoes when what we need is a cover story on Forbes?”
Years ago, trade journals and publications were the main source of niche media. Today the category has expanded to include podcasts, blogs, social media groups, and more. While the definition of trade media has certainly evolved, the overall reaction to niche outlets unfortunately has not changed much. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes a feature story in a major national publication might be the answer, but for the situations listed below, you might consider tapping into a more focused outlet.
If your business sells, say, a special type of casting reel for left-handed fishermen, a feature in The Huffington Post will be of little consequence to your audience. Sure, the publication gets millions of readers each month, but how many readers are buyers of the product you sell and engaged enough in the content to act after reading?
On the other hand, if you place an article in B.A.S.S. Times, with a circulation of about 100,000 readers, you’re reaching a far smaller audience, but an extremely targeted and engaged audience. The readers of this publication are serious fishermen, and even if they don’t have need for a left-handed casting reel, they probably associate with someone who does. These readers are engaged, passionate about their craft, and much more motivated to buy your product than the readers of a broad national media outlet.
Does your business serve a highly technical audience? Do you have a message to share that the average Joe might not understand? If either is true for you, outlets that specialize in a specific industry can be a great tool to get your message out. Trade media editors, podcast hosts, and industry-specific bloggers all understand and are passionate about their subject matter. This cuts down on time used to explain concepts in interviews and allows both the interviewer and the interviewee to get to the meat of the conversation much quicker. Because both the writer and the eventual reader of the article already have an understanding of the subject matter, you’ll likely get a more in-depth feature piece than you would be able to secure in a top-tier publication.
Getting placements in niche media outlets is especially useful when you’re taking time to work a national outlet but want to maintain a steady drumbeat of news. Securing a pitch with a national media publication can take weeks, sometimes months. One of the benefits of trade media is that you’re typically working with a shorter publication cycle. This means media can respond to pitches and requests quicker, and as a result, time to publish is greatly reduced. These hits can work as “fillers” to help you keep your business in the news consistently.
If you’re trying to build out a thought leadership platform for experts within your company, trade outlets are a great place to start. Because niche publications, podcasts, and blogs are typically shorter-staffed than major news outlets, they’re often open to taking bylined articles and contributed content. Featuring your spokespeople in various trade outlets that target a similar audience is an excellent way to build credibility within a given industry.
Remember, numbers aren’t everything. When it comes to media coverage, quality usually reigns over quantity. Don’t fall into the trap of always going for the major players. Sometimes the smaller, more focused outlet is the best channel to share the right story in front of the right audience.
Photo by The 5th from Pexels
About the author
Jenna Cason was formerly a public relations specialist at SmartBug Media. She began her career in sports relations for the NFL and has since led PR strategy both in-house and on the agency side. Read more articles by Jenna Cason.