Floor plan on table

Trade PR: how to plan your campaign

If you’re planning a trade PR campaign, it’s likely that you’ll be considering a wide and varied audience that includes apprentices, odd-jobbers, skilled tradespeople who work for themselves as well as business owners who run teams of tradespeople.

Trade PR campaign

“Due to this mixed demographic, one size doesn’t fit all. We have the most success for clients when we have a combination of media relations, sponsorship, social media and other platforms through which to communicate and reinforce our message,” explains AMBITIOUS director Sarah Woodhouse.

Through our work with global workwear brands and companies in the construction sector, Sarah has learned not to do media relations just for the sake of it. “What works best with this sector is developing campaigns that can play out across multiple platforms, then we provide rich content and ideas. This means there’s some value being added as opposed to just putting out product news and updates.”

The drip-drip effect

When it comes to trade media, you’ll find lots of smaller, niche trade publications aimed at each type of trade.

“It’s all about volume with this type of activity, to find tour coverage opportunities. With some sectors, targeted pieces of national coverage will be enough, but with the trade press, you usually need lots of smaller pieces of coverage over a period of time,” advises Sarah. “We’ve found that a drip-drip effect across lots of smaller, more niche publications and specialist trade titles works best.”

Also, with the trade PR campaigns, you have to question whether you’re running a B2B or a B2C campaign. It could be business to business in the sense that the audience may be a small business owner, but remember that they are also consumers as well. You’ll need to look for the most appropriate channels depending on the angle of the trade PR campaigns you’re running.

Find your audience in real-time

Clients always love to see great press coverage but don’t assume that your audience will all be reading trade magazines. Many tradespeople are time poor and don’t have the time to read a trade magazine, so this isn’t always the best place to find them.

As with all successful campaigns, you’ll need to start by finding what your audience cares about and what they’re interested in. Consider how to reach people in the spaces they’re already active in. Social media channels are easily accessible and also in real-time. Your niche audience will have a genuine interest in social media conversations taking place. Compare that to the time it takes to wait for trade magazines to come out – you can have a much faster, more direct conversation on those channels.

The role of reviewers and stakeholders

If your campaign involves product-led PR, don’t forget the role of reviewers and online influencers in trade media.

In this sector, the digital versions of the trade press aren’t as developed as some other sectors. Magazine channels should lead the way in the industry but often the independent channels and YouTube reviewers are arguably more powerful than traditional media channels. The trade press is really varied and developing solid relationships with trade journalists is very important.

Map out the key reviewers and influencers in the trades you’re targeting and build relationships with them when developing your review strategy.

Don’t always lead with the product

While the business may well be product-led, the most effective PR may not always lead with the product. “Create brand differentiation through the values you align yourself with,” says Sarah. “This may be championing young tradespeople, or professionalisation of the trades. By using clever storytelling you can help to move the brand away from outdated images of what tradespeople stand for.”

Bear this rule in mind when you’re looking to create owned assets, such as videos and content. Products date quickly, so aligning your content with the brand values means that the assets you’re investing in will have greater longevity.

Working with stakeholders can be an effective way to do this, too. Look at who supports the community you’re targeting, from trade bodies to charities, and talk to them about what support you can offer them.

Dickies PR campaign

AMBITIOUS ran a campaign with global workwear brand Dickies in partnership with SkillBuild, the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices. This included sponsorship of the National Final at WorldSkillsUK LIVE 2018 where Dickies provided clothing for contestants and judges, helping to promote the brand among the next generation of tradespeople.

Read our blog on How to connect with tradespeople on social media for more useful hints and tips or get in touch for more information on our trade PR services

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