Why your B2B PR strategy shouldn’t be “Wall Street Journal or bust”

Media coverage in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other prominent national publications can boost a B2B company’s reputation – and a public relations professional’s ego. However, B2B companies and their PR advisers shouldn’t overvalue national media coverage at the expense of coverage in industry trade publications. Articles and interviews in these trade publications can often help companies achieve their goals more effectively than coverage in national media outlets can. So, B2B companies should prioritize trade media as they finalize their 2019 marketing plans.

Reach your target audiences

A B2B company’s PR activities should aid sales efforts by increasing awareness of its products and services among customers and prospects. So, it makes perfect sense to seek frequent coverage in publications read by these audiences. Trade publications typically offer free subscriptions to relevant industry professionals. Therefore, the best of these publications are easily accessible to and widely read by a B2B company’s customers and prospects. These same individuals may also read national publications. However, national publications also reach many individuals who aren’t relevant to the company. Therefore, if getting its points-of-view in front of a targeted audience of customers and prospects is a priority for a B2B company, trade publications should be the centerpiece of its media relations strategy.

Generate substantive coverage vs. “mentions”

When an expert from a B2B firm is quoted in the Wall Street Journal, she’ll likely be mentioned once or twice (at most) in a story. However, a trade magazine is likely to publish longer, more substantive quotes from her. Plus, many trade publications will also publish contributed articles from B2B companies that allow experts to offer in-depth commentary on important topics. Coverage in trade magazines therefore allow companies to better showcase their comprehensive expertise on issues that matter to their customers and prospects.

And when a company receives substantive coverage in a trade publication, it has rich material it can leverage in multiple ways: via social media channels, its website, at conferences or at client meetings. Sending a prospect a 1,000-word bylined article in a prominent trade publication will usually do more to advance the company’s cause than sharing a quote from a Reuters article will.

Deploy a balanced media relations strategy

Of course, it’s easier for a subject-matter expert to brag to friends and family about an interview she did with Bloomberg than it is to tout an article she wrote for a trade publication few outside the industry will know. So, it’s important for marketing leaders at B2B organizations (and their PR advisers) to understand the value of trade publications and make the case internally for company experts to devote time to speak with trade reporters and contribute content to trade publications.

None of this is meant to suggest that companies shouldn’t continue to seek national media coverage, as appropriate. But, for many B2B companies, trade media is usually the most effective channel through which they can raise awareness of their expertise and showcase their unique value propositions. So, as these companies seek a higher brand profile in 2019, it’s imperative that they place a heavy emphasis on trade media.

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