Tackling trade media – why bigger isn’t always better
MediaCast Team, September, 2022

Understanding the media landscape is vital when it comes to pitching a story. Knowing which publications your messaging aligns with and the exact audience you want to target can determine whether or not your story gets picked up by journalists and editors. 

While most people are familiar with traditional media outlets such as television news and local radio, trade media is often overlooked when it comes to pitching a story or building out a campaign. Trade media refers to publications targeting a highly specialist audience who work in a particular trade or industry. This can include magazines, journals, newsletters or digital platforms just to name a few.

Common industries with extensive trade publications include medical, health, education, business, HR, beauty, retail and so many more. Any sector you can think of, there’s likely a whole world of media out there related to dissecting those topics in detail.

The Quality V Quantity Debate
Trade media is an entirely different ballpark compared to traditional print, digital and broadcast outlets and the differences in reach numbers between trade and mainstream media can be quite monumental. However while some might assume trade isn’t as valuable as traditional media because it doesn’t have as wide of an audience reach – we’re here to tell you that bigger isn’t always necessarily better. 

While you might be reaching 6,000 people with trade in comparison to hundreds of thousands of people via mainstream mastheads, those 6,000 people are likely to be highly engaged with the topic at hand and consume that publication religiously. If you’re wanting to target an audience that has a more in-depth knowledge and understanding on your messaging than the average Aussie, targeting trade is an excellent strategy. 

Research is key
As trade media is extremely specialised and catered to people who live and breathe that particular field, it’s important to hit the nail on the head with your pitch. Trade outlets want hard-hitting and thoughtful content related to their industry, and if your story doesn’t match their criteria, you may struggle securing pieces in them. 

If you are planning on tackling trade media, make sure you thoroughly research exactly what publications and audiences you want to target. Think about the tone that will best suit your key messaging and the type of publication which will most amplify your story and what assets you have available. Do you have research to suit an academic journal? Or access to an expert to align to an opinion editorial? 

Show off your skills
Trade media gives you the ability to use language that may not normally be appropriate for mainstream media. You have the opportunity to use technical language and industry jargon to make your story more impactful. You don’t have to worry about explaining or simplifying topics for the everyday Aussie. Your content needs to have the right amount of assumed knowledge as well as new information, so that it’s adding value to your reader.  

In it for the long haul
One of the biggest aspects to consider when including trade media in your PR strategy, is that trade publications can be incredibly long lead. Some journals, magazines and newsletters may only come out once every few months and often work months in advance. For printed trade publications it can be difficult to get timelier stories across the line, but digital trade is a great avenue for things like announcements, advancements and timely new developments. If you have a time hook in mind for a story, approach the trade media you’re targeting several months ahead to ensure you can work in with their timelines. 

Securing a great piece of trade media can create instant credibility and a sense of trustworthiness. While the long lead nature and more technical style may put trade on the backburner for some, for those willing to put in the effort the benefits can truly outweigh the challenges. The audience is engaged, knowledgeable and eager to consume new content related to their industry, so what are you waiting for? Ask us how you can include trade media in your next campaign – we’d love to show you what we can do!