How to get free publicity in trade journals

Most trade journals offer editorial space when you book an advert.  Editorial is a big opportunity for publicity. Not just because it is free, but because editorial is more credible than an advert. If the press contacts you about an editorial, most people assume their journalists will interview you. And that a photographer will come out to shoot video or take pictures.

Editorial is often ONLY an opportunity.  Yes, they allocate you space, but you have to provide a good story. Their Features Editor will review what you send, and decide if your story goes into the next issue. Hundreds of editorials get rejected, or re-edited in a way that isn’t good for your business.

Tips for Technical Editorial

You need to give them a news release in their language style, written for their audience.

  • A subtle sales message. Sell too hard, and your editorial will be rejected.
  • Exciting. You have seconds to grab their attention. Headlines and captions draw people into reading further. “Clickbait” headlines get attention, but annoy readers when they don’t deliver on promises!
  • Know their reader’s pain points. Accept that all they want to know is “what’s in it for me”. Make it newsworthy and add key benefits. Images and text must appeal to their tastes, needs, existing opinions and local issues.
  • Keep people reading with  bullet lists, indents and call-out boxes that break up the text. Newspaper editors are busy – by saving them time, you might get a more interesting layout.
  • Keep it short. A full page of magazine editorial is only 500 words. Writing more than that may get your press releases rejected, or edited down in a way you don’t like.
Editorial is more valuable than advertising

When you place adverts with trade and technical magazines, you can often negotiate covers and free editorial space. By matching the journal’s editorial style, they are more likely to accept news releases for publication.

But what should I talk about?

The best content is newsworthy, and answers questions. But what if you don’t HAVE “news”?  A new order or contract – as proud as you are – is NOT newsworthy except to your competitors!

Sometimes it takes an outsider (like me) to identify some interesting aspect of your business. I can see your product or service as a customer would.

  • Tell stories that uphold your company’s values and credibility
  • Focus your key benefit on a single person who achieved that benefit, rather than the technology behind it.
    • Let’s say your product reduces back pain – tell the story about how a person overcame pain and is now running marathons?
    • You have a product that helps the environment. Tell the story of one family whose life was changed by clean water, or a pack of wolves who had healthy pups!
  • Point out your strong points, where your competitors are weakest
  • To appear unbiased, point out your competitors least useful benefits

Photographs matter

  • Show benefits in the photo
  • Use actual products, projects and customers
  • Don’t take photos off the internet – copyright lawsuits are expensive and can date back to a photo used years before!
  • Don’t use stock photos of blue skies, new plants and people on the phone!

Extending your investment

Once you have written them, publish your press releases on your website, put them on social media and add them to a  customer newsletter. Make sure you get the most mileage from every story.

Our editorial for the Clay Brick Association. Free editorial isn’t just cost-effective, it’s more credible and has greater reach!
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