If you’ve heard the old saying that “no publicity is bad publicity,” I have some news for you. All publicity isn’t actually good. What is better is targeted publicity.
Everyone wants awareness for their company. Clients expect it, and agencies want to (and must) deliver. However, the thing that really matters is for all parties to establish an understanding and expectation that targeted, market-appropriate publicity should be a key PR objective.
What’s more, a commonly expressed concern among both clients and agencies is the importance of business versus trade media, as well as the correct mix of media placements. I am often asked which media segment should be targeted first and why, as well as regularly being asked, “Why am I not getting any business placements?” or “Why are we being ignored by the trade press?” Answers depend on the stage of the company, the quality of the news the company is generating, and the appeal of the media pitch.
Trade Media: The First Target
Emerging companies must choose their targets wisely. In order to build later success with business media, a best practice is to cover all of the trade media basics. Ensure that clients are represented in product reviews, industry roundup articles and trend pieces, and make certain that industry and financial analysts are well-briefed on your company’s market, products and services. Vertical case studies and customer stories typically lead to trade press stories, as can “newsjacking” efforts that tie a client’s solution to current trends in a given sector.
Trade Coverage Sets the Stage
Success with the trade media as an early-stage company or startup means that market-specific credibility is being built, typically at a budget that startups can handle. When it comes time for your company or client to have its breakout moment – be that a major innovation, a partnership or an acquisition or IPO – the business media will look to trade press coverage to establish a small company’s credibility. In this way, the trade media is a powerful source of validation for the business press, and a strong foundation of targeted articles and mentions in the trades will serve companies well.
Of course, big companies like Google make their own news, because earnings and corporate moves have the potential to shift markets; as a result, news coverage follows them. But all of the big players like Apple, Cisco, Google, and Oracle – and countless others – got their beginnings in the trade media, and you should, too. Experienced public relations practitioners understand that trade and business press have a symbiotic relationship, and both require careful attention at different points in a company’s lifecycle. Careful targeting of media prospects helps build company reputations that scale, avoiding the mentality that causes lack of focus – and lack of results – in media relations.