It’s not necessarily about getting your public relations message in front of a lot of people, it’s about getting it in front of the right people.
I’ve spent the majority of my career working with B2B technology companies. No matter the size or stage, each organization has one thing in common: a passionate belief that their company or platform is solving a major business problem. Their fire is part of the reason I enjoy this corner of PR so much; it’s always very evident that the founders and teams love what they do.
When I first begin a client engagement, I always ask about the business goals they want to accomplish through our PR program. Do you want to drive leads, attract new talent, or simply increase website traffic? About 50% of the time, contacts have an incredibly specific answer: “I want to be in [insert major media outlet here].”
While it’s understandable that having your company’s name in an outlet that has 100 million viewers a month is nothing to scoff at, I always try to take a step back and focus on the business goal of that placement. It’s not necessarily about getting your message in front of a lot of people, it’s about getting it in front of the right people.
Many clients I’ve worked with throughout my career have been quick to write off trade outlets because of lower readership; it’s an expectation I immediately work to reset. Counter to popular belief, trade placements are great at moving the needle with core audiences. If you’re trying to sell a SaaS platform to a developer, you need to think about where the developer is getting their news — it’s probably not the same place that you are as a CEO or CMO.
Trades may garner fewer readers overall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer readers that come specifically from your target audiences, who are highly engaged and truly care about the news being presented, i.e. more read-throughs, fewer meaningless clicks.
The reporters at these niche publications also tend to be more deeply ingrained, covering industry-level issues that don’t necessarily have relevance for a general, national audience. Trade reporters can ask the questions a potential customer might and go much deeper in the weeds without fear of alienating their readers.
All of this is not to say there is no value in a New York Times placement — there absolutely is, but it’s likely serving a much different purpose. That’s why, as PR professionals, it’s our job to help our clients understand which types of articles will provide the right value. With companies that are brand new to PR programs, it can often be difficult to break through the noise with a top-tier outlet right out of the gate. Without brand recognition or hard news, it’s easy to get lost in an inbox, but I always try to explain that the world of journalism is small — especially tech journalism. Establishing a steady drumbeat of trade hits can be a great way to get on the radar of larger newsrooms — reporters are readers too!
Particularly over the last six months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, newsrooms have changed quite a bit. More than I’ve ever seen, reporters are leaving major outlets to start their own platforms or moving to smaller sites to build them up. You really never know where a writer will end up in a month or a year, so to write off anyone at a smaller publication is unwise -- every interview is an opportunity to own your story.
As we head into 2021 planning, I encourage marketing and communications teams to consider ways programs can be tailored for trade-level audiences to help drive business objectives. If you’re not sure where to start, drop the talented crew at N6A a line!
Posted by Kayla Perkins