It’s fair to say that in our industry the consumer media tends to enjoy the limelight. ‘Consumer’ is the glossy face of PR – the colourful, vibrant, popular version of its b2b relation. Or is it…?
At a time when some consumer titles are struggling, in the world of food and hospitality, the big trade media publishing houses from William Reed to H20 are harnessing digital channels, creating compelling new content streams, hosting innovative events, and delivering engaging publications that can stand up to any of the consumer glossies.
Today, the trades are certainly no poor relation. Securing a profile slot in The Grocer is the holy grail for any food or drink business – it can help to reach new customers, secure listings, generate investment, raise brand profile, and elevate a start-up business into the mainstream.
But with such influence comes serious competition…
The food and hospitality sectors are fiercely competitive landscapes, with many brands and businesses vying for space. Ten years ago, a decent news story would almost certainly result in coverage. Today, there are close to twenty news stories vying for each editorial opportunity. Even as a major player in the sector, you need to work hard to make your voice heard.
As PR’s operating in such a bustling, competitive sector, here are our four golden rules for success:
- Think like a consumer: Yes, the trades are driven by insight, sector specific content designed to resonate with a targeted business audience, but remember that business readers are consumers too! All too often editors tell us they are steering away from ‘dry, corporate’ content to a more consumer-friendly stance. Telling your story to the trade media doesn’t need to be any less colourful or interesting than telling it to the consumer media. In the words of Chaim Hass, Head of Innovation Communications for Bloomberg: “I encourage people working in B2B to get some consumer experience and learn some tricks of the trade. It will make your work better.”
- Tell a story: It’s important to remember that what a business wants to say isn’t necessarily what a journalist wants to hear. The real skill in trade media relations is in successfully managing expectations – filtering through information, crafting it into an engaging and relevant story, then tailoring it to fit the opportunity you are targeting – be that a feature, an opinion slot, or a news page.
- Know your stuff: Don’t underestimate who you are pitching to. Trade journalists – as some of the most highly qualified professionals in the industry – have a highly in depth knowledge of their sector, so pitching should not be taken lightly: be prepared, understand your subject matter, and be ready to explain your story. Relationships with the trade media take a long time to carve out, and are based on trust – don’t take this lightly.
- Communicate cross platform: The best trade media campaigns integrate above and below the line content to deliver brand messages more effectively. Our role as PR’s is to encourage clients to consider an integrated approach, demonstrate how PR success can be amplified when backed up by solid above the line activity, and craft content to ensure relevance and consistency across platforms – from news releases and expert opinion through to newsletters and banners.