Trading places: 7 reasons why you should target trade publications

Trade publications may not have the glamour of mainstream newspapers or appearing on TV or radio.

In fact, some publications like Potato Storage International, Drain Trader and Poultry World have been the subject of jokes on Have I Got News For You.

But trades should not be laughed at or overlooked. As we stress on our media training courses, they can present great opportunities for coverage.

And securing coverage in these titles can sometimes be more beneficial than gaining the attention of national media.

Here are 7 reasons why you should target trade media coverage.



Not only are trade publications aimed at audiences that have a genuine interest in the sector, but they are also read by the decision-makers.  

In one organisation I worked in, there was a copy of all the main trade publications for the comms team and another for the CEO.  

There was not a similar arrangement with national newspapers.

Why? Because the trade stories were the ones that mattered most to the leadership team. They wanted to know what was happening in the sector and what was being discussed. They viewed it as a valuable resource.

Securing coverage about your services or new product in a trade magazine means it is more likely to be seen by the people who will make the buying decisions.

Even if your audience doesn’t read trade publications because you sell directly to the public, getting coverage in these titles can still help you to attract talent or be useful when you are looking for funding.


Raises your profile

Giving an interview to a trade publication does not mean the story will necessarily stay within the sector.

National and regional newspapers and broadcast journalists view trade titles as credible sources of information.

Many of our current working journalists use them to research and develop stories they are working on and find ones they feel could interest a wider audience.

Trade coverage increases the credibility of stories and can increase the chance of a story gaining national or regional coverage.

Similarly, when they are working on stories about a particular industry, reporters will often turn to trade publications to find respected spokespeople for the sector.

So, a regular supply of trade media stories will not only raise your organisation’s profile among a targeted audience but also help it to reach a wider one.


More detail

Trade publication journalists and their audience are likely to already have a detailed understanding of the subject.

This means that stories can be explored in much finer detail than one in national media.

This allows you and your spokespeople to talk in-depth about the specifics of your new product or service in a way that you would need to avoid when talking to the more general audience of a newspaper.

You also don’t have to worry so much about the complexities of what you are discussing.

The result is that more space is likely to be dedicated to the story than if it was featured in a national newspaper.


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Thought leadership

Of, course, you don’t necessarily need to wait to be interviewed.

Many trade publications offer regular opinion piece slots where people in the sector can give their thoughts on the latest issues and developments.

These offer great opportunities.

Not only can it increase your profile. But it can also show readers – potential customers – that you share the same challenges and concerns they have and build trust in the solutions you have for them.


Size doesn’t matter

Don’t get me wrong, interviews with trade publications are not easier.

But, it can be easier for smaller organisations to gain the interest of trade publications than national newspapers.

Think of the stories that feature in national news. It tends to be the bigger organisations that secure the most coverage.

They typically have fewer hurdles to overcome because their size means they naturally tick some of the newsworthy boxes.

Trade publications are more likely to carry the news from small companies in their sector and accept opinion pieces from them.


Fewer paywalls

Who doesn’t want to secure positive coverage in national newspapers?

It is always worth striving for.

But, it does not necessarily mean more people will see what you have to say.

Let’s say your story is picked up by The Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times or The Independent.

All these titles have subscription models, which means online content is hidden behind a paywall.

While some offer access to a limited number of free articles per month, some readers will have already used their quota and rightly or wrongly, be unwilling to pay. That means fewer eyeballs.

Paywalls do exist in the trade media. But, as someone who looks at a lot of different titles when researching background information ahead of our media training courses, there appears to be fewer of them.

The majority of articles can be viewed without a financial commitment.


Forward planning

Another crucial difference between trade publications and national media is that trades often have much of their content planned well in advance.

Sometimes it can be planned up to a year ahead. And you can often find out what is coming up by looking in their advertising packs or the media information section of their websites.

This gives you the opportunity to speak to journalists early and show them what you can offer for some of these advanced features and plan some of your announcements for when they could gain the most coverage.


About to face the media? Get your media interview homework off to the best start by downloading your copy of our free media interview preparation eBook.


Media First are media and communications training specialists with over 35 years of experience. We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications coaches and media trainers. 

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