Professionals who wish to establish media profiles for themselves tend to divide into two categories: those who see a value in engaging with their own trade press and those who do not.
The latter group often argue there is no point expending time and energy talking to their peers and that they should focus exclusively on gaining coverage in media targeted at potential clients or business introducers.
I understand this point of view, and have myself benefited from potential (now actual) clients contacting me after reading about Alpha Public Relations in the mainstream press. However, I also believe that those who ignore their trade press are missing a trick – sometimes massively so.
A clipping is a clipping
The phrase “tomorrow’s chip paper” (which I must admit to having used myself a couple of weeks ago) is often no longer accurate. Trade publications host archives of several years’ worth of articles, and their SEO is generally good.
So, when a potential client Googles your name, he or she will come across a stack of quotes positioning you as an expert, trusted by your peers.
In many sectors and regions finding good employees is not easy – particularly at the skilled level, where staff know their own worth. Establishing a reputation for your business in your trade press can be a real boon in terms of:
a) Getting on to the list of firms that good candidates might approach themselves when looking for a change of scene.
b) Ensuring any approaches made on your behalf by recruitment agents are taken seriously.
Investment and acquisitions
If you hope one day to sell your business, take on investment or purchase a competitor then a strong reputation in the industry will hardly be a hindrance. Not only can it help in terms of attracting trade buyers – or sellers, if you are in the market – who may make a direct approach, it also provides a reassuring archive of positive mentions for investors considering the value of your business.
This does not replace due diligence and cold, hard figures, obviously, but – all things being equal – a business that commands brand awareness in its industry will be in a stronger negotiating position than one that does not.
People move on
You may have noticed, with some frustration, that the same few commentators seem to feature in the national papers and on the radio or TV with monotonous regularity. This is because journalists know they are reliable and quotable; and, simply, they actually know them.
Journalists, particularly the young ones who often work for the trade press, tend to move jobs a lot. Therefore, the trade reporter you spend time cultivating now could well become a correspondent on one of the nationals in a year or two’s time – and will take your relationship with them.
Others will become freelance, working for a wide range of titles, and, again, the sources they already know will be the first ones to whom they go when they need a quote.
I believe there is great value in being featured in the trade press for its own sake. It is also an excellent basis upon which to build a broader media profile – a process which, if not exactly a marathon, is certainly not a 100-yard dash.
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