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Trade Media and COVID-19: What to Know About Press Outreach

By April 7, 2020 April 23rd, 2020 Industry Perspective
Trade press outreach during COVID-19

BLASTmedia closely monitors coverage in our clients’ target trade verticals to inform outreach strategy. Over the last three weeks, that monitoring included — and continues to include — tracking the percentage of articles mentioning COVID-19 or the coronavirus, as well as the overall article velocity in a sample of HR, IT, marketing, retail, finance and education trades, as well as national tech.  

We know many SaaS companies may still have uncertainties about how best to connect with the media during this sensitive time. Rest assured, now isn’t the time to stop communicating. By monitoring trade media over time, checking in with SaaS media connections and other PR industry experts, and evaluating the success of our agency’s efforts, we hope to continue to provide guidance on this topic. 

FAQs About Pitching Trade Media During COVID-19 

Here are few frequently asked questions about press outreach during this time and answers based upon the research and data we’ve collected, as well as our team’s experiences over the past three weeks: 

We have an industry announcement — is it ok to pitch trade media?

Yes. Trade publications keep industry members abreast of new developments, so it’s still important for you to keep these individuals updated on what’s happening with your company.  

As our SVP, Kim Jefferson mentioned a few weeks back, “Unlike national press, many of whom are occupied with coronavirus-related stories, members of the trade media are still seeking out industry-related stories, including company news and thought leadership specific to a given vertical.”

The data we’ve collected over the last three weeks shows that just under half of all articles (49%) published in trade publications do not reference COVID-19. 

What types of announcements are trade press covering? 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen several different types of announcements receive coverage, including new announcements related to data, new hires and new products. Here are a few examples:

Although not necessary to secure coverage, SaaS companies with COVID-19 related offers were also covered by the trade press. For example, our client EZ Texting’s announcement offering municipalities, government organizations, and schools with free access to its platform was included in a round-up of free and discounted ed tech tools on Campus Technology

What advice or thought leadership topics is the trade press covering?

Now is a unique time for advice and thought leadership. While some outlets are covering leadership best practices related to crisis and working from home, in many trade verticals, editors are still looking for interesting articles about a variety of topics. 

If a journalist is proactively looking for stories about working from home and you can add value, by all means, give them your thoughts. But for proactive outreach, think beyond stories about your company’s remote-work policy or tips to help employees work from home.

As Business Insider editor-in-chief, Nicholas Carlson recently shared in an interview with Sam Whitmore, “One of the things I said [to my staff during a recent meeting] was, ‘This is one of those rare moments when, if you find yourself curious about something and you can find out answers to your questions, you can write about that and immediately people will flock to that story in numbers like we have never seen before.’”

Are there verticals that are more receptive to news unrelated to COVID-19 right now than others?

Yes, there are verticals where a higher percentage of articles mention COVID-19 than other topics but not a single vertical reviewed dedicated 100% of coverage to COVID-19 and related topics. 

Over the past few weeks, over 50% of retail trade, HR trade and education trade articles have included mentions of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. While the percentage of articles about COVID-19 appears to be trending downward for education and HR trade (both peaked with the highest percent of articles mentioning COVID-19 either week 1 or 2), the percent of retail trade articles mentioning COVID-19 continues to increase, hitting 73% last week. 

On the other hand, some trade verticals, like IT/enterprise technology, never saw more than 40% of articles mentioning COVID-19. Others change week-to-week. National tech trade, for example, dipped below 50% of articles mentioning COVID-19 for the first time last week (only 47% of national tech trade articles mentioned COVID-19 during the week ending 4/3). 

With how trade media is covering topics related to and not related to COVID-19 changing week to week, monitoring these verticals is the best way to stay informed and to ensure your current strategy aligns with the media landscape. We’re here to help. Visit our COVID-19 landing page to sign-up to receive weekly media monitoring reports every Friday. 

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About Anna Julow Roolf

As a VP at BLASTmedia, Anna draws from her account management, media relations and digital marketing experience to help provide more seamless onboarding for clients and employees. She enjoys writing and is a sucker for a well-told story, but she's known around the office for her love of formatted spreadsheets and a well-thought-out process.

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