Whenever we ask clients about their “dream placement,” national media (especially the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal) always top the list. These multi-platform outlets, after all, attract millions of eyeballs on a daily basis.
Although there is no denying the substantial publicity boost a mainstream media outlet can bring, trade pubs and niche outlets offer several advantages, especially for companies in business-to-business industries such as healthcare IT. Savvy PR pros recognize their importance and feature them prominently in PR/marketing plans.
How do healthcare trade outlets trump mainstream press for B2B PR? Let me count the ways:
Target audience. A mention in USA Today is impressive but offers little benefit to a company that markets a telehealth platform. While millions of people visit the site daily, it’s highly unlikely they are there to learn about telemedicine. An article in Becker’s Hospital Review, with 1.4 million monthly visitors, has a greater chance of reaching clinicians and medical directors. In addition, buyers in the later stages of the buying cycle prefer to get their information from trade outlets. That’s because B2B outlets dive deeper into technical details while major publications cover broad topics in general terms.
Legitimacy. Trade outlets are highly respected by industry insiders. Health IT professionals rely on industry associations such as HIMSS and CHIME to provide insight on laws and regulations that affect the industry. A consistent presence in their newsletters and websites can brand a new company as a legitimate player or help establish a company founder as a thought leader.
Digital presence. There is a definite trend away from print toward digital, which means fewer space restrictions and more room to expand on a topic. There is also a trend toward specialized sites and blogs (e.g. HIStalk, Healthcare Musings). Even LinkedIn has a healthcare channel run by a former editor of Modern Healthcare. Answers Media has created several sites — HITECH Answers, Health Data Answers, RCM Answers, to name a few. It also has an internet radio station, HealthcareNow Radio, with 15 shows attracting 1,400 listeners a day who listen an average of 30 minutes. An article on one of their sites could potentially be seen by 42,000 visitors, shared among 25,000 social media followers, and be featured in a weekly e-newsletter sent to 50,000 subscribers.
Greater use of press releases. Have press releases become obsolete? That may be true for pitching B2C publications, but B2B pubs welcome news releases relevant to their niche audience. Trade editors are also more willing to run press releases in both print and online, Tweet them out, and include links back to your website, enabling you to re-share the posts and expand reach.
Sending a new product press release along with a brief pitch about a new tablet device for seniors to a trade publication such as McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is a direct hit. It shows you know the publication and its audience.
Article placements. National publications prefer to report about large companies and breaking news. Getting quoted in a major publication may take weeks, even months, though it is not impossible as this example in Forbes shows. On the other hand, niche editors are happy to report on small companies in their sector. As long as the pitch is on-topic, they will respond to media requests faster and publish articles sooner. In addition, because trade outlets are often short on staff, they’re more open to accepting contributed articles as long as they are objective and vendor-neutral. Click here to see a sample placement in Health Data Management.
Reversioned content. PR can repurpose a byline article placed in a niche publication into owned media, webinars, case studies, and pitches to larger outlets. We call this the “turkey carve out” approach to content. It works only if you start out with a 25-pound turkey, not a Cornish game hen. We advise or remind our clients to amplify the article using corporate social media channels. We also recommend creating a marketing e-blast to customers and prospects with a link to the article.
Journalists and editors for major newspapers and consumer magazines often use trade journals to research article assignments. The trade pub article may become your ticket to being part of a bigger story in a major consumer pub, eventually getting your CEO the mainstream hit s/he desires.