5 ways to unlock effective PR through life science trade media relationships
In the world of life sciences marketing, effective Public Relations (PR) is crucial for building strong relationships between an organisation and its target audience. PR can provide numerous benefits such as increasing brand awareness, enhancing credibility and authority, and cost-effectively elevating your brand. However, building fruitful relationships with the media is at the core of a successful PR campaign. This can be a challenging task that requires a significant investment of time and effort over the years.
To establish strong trade media relationships, life science organisations must have a thorough understanding of the media's needs and interests, know the dos and don'ts of media interactions, and navigate an ever-changing landscape. Failure to do so can hinder PR success and result in inconsistent, low-quality coverage, missed opportunities, and, ultimately, wasted resources. But building these relationships, and in the longer-term a trusted, valued working partnership takes time and a significant amount of resource.
In this blog post, we explore five ways to build lasting relationships with life science trade media to unlock better, more frequent PR coverage and help elevate your life sciences brand.
1. Get familiar with publications and their editorial staff
In order to build strong relationships with trade media, it's important to become familiar with the publications and editorial staff you'll be pitching to. This involves understanding three key areas:
- The topic: Sending a pitch for a topic that doesn't fit a publication's focus can waste valuable time and harm your chances of future success. Make sure you explore a publication thoroughly before pitching to ensure that you're targeting the right audience. A publication's media pack and "about" section on their website can provide valuable information about their focus and audience demographics.
- The format: Knowing the types of content that a publication accepts and publishes is just as important as understanding their focus. Different publications have varying guidelines for content creation, including whether or not they accept vendor-authored content and the length of content they prefer. Checking a publication's website can give you a good idea of the types of content they frequently publish.
- The contact: Even if you know the publication and content format, you need to ensure that you're pitching the right person. Editorial team-members often cover a specific sub-topic area in their publication. Researching the contacts' profiles on the publication's website and their recently published work can help ensure that your pitch is relevant and increases your chances of success.
2. Be respectful of journalists' time and priorities
Editorial teams often have a heavy workload and strict deadlines, so it's important to try to make their lives easier by being clear and concise in your pitches. Here are a few ways to show that you value their time and priorities:
- Be concise and to the point: With editors receiving countless emails each day, it's important to be clear and concise in your communications. By keeping your email short and focused, you can make it easier for editors to quickly understand the main points of your pitch.
- Capture their attention: A well-crafted pitch can make all the difference when it comes to securing media coverage. To stand out from the crowd, focus on creating a compelling message that clearly communicates the value of your story or news.
- Provide value-added information: Editors and journalists are always looking for sources of information that can help them create high-quality content. By anticipating their needs and providing additional resources, such as product overviews or expert quotes, you can make their job easier and increase your chances of being featured in their publication.
Following these practices can help you cultivate a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with your life science editorial contacts. They will appreciate your proactive and thoughtful approach, which can lead to increased trust and credibility. As a result, you may find yourself being approached by trade media for expert input, without needing to actively pitch your content.
3. Choose the right follow-up approach
Effective PR relies on building strong relationships with media contacts but knowing when and how to follow up on a pitch can be challenging. You need to strike the right balance between timely and relevant pitches and intrusive or annoying communications which can ultimately damage the relationship.
To avoid adding to an editor or journalist's inbox without increasing your chances of coverage, it's important to understand your contact's preferences and daily operations. While there are no hard and fast rules, these general tips can help you get the follow-up balance right:
- Avoid following up on the same day unless your news is highly relevant and urgent. Choose the most appropriate communication method for your contact. Many people assume that phone calls are the best way to reach journalists and editors, but they can be very disruptive. Email pitches are often preferred because they allow recipients to scan, digest, and prioritise messages on their own schedule. However, it's important to consider the recipient's preferences when deciding how to communicate. If you're unsure, try sending an email first.
- Take time zones into account when reaching out to contacts. By knowing the time zone in which your recipient works, you can time your initial pitch or follow-up email to arrive in their inbox at a time when they're likely to be awake and available to respond. For example, sending an email at 9am on a weekday is usually more effective than sending one at 7pm on a Friday.
- Be mindful of significant industry events and attendance patterns. If your contact is attending an event, expect a longer response time, and consider contacting another suitable person who is not attending the event. We've shared a list of upcoming life science events for the first half of 2023 in our previous blog.
Avoid sending multiple follow-up emails about the same topic. Two follow-ups are generally acceptable, and if you have not received a response, consider reaching out to other contacts or exploring alternative publication options.
4. Share a steady stream of high-quality content
To effectively engage with their audience and add value to their readers, life science publications rely on a consistent flow of high-quality content. This presents a great opportunity for industry experts to support information dissemination and better connect with their audiences through contributed content. However, if the contributed content does not meet publication specifications in terms of quality, format, tone, and style, it can become a burden for editors who must edit and revise extensively. In the worst case, the content may not even be published.
To avoid these issues, it’s essential to deliver ultra-high-quality, on-spec content to publications. Doing so benefits both parties: the expert authors and vendors who take on the burden of editing work, are seen as valuable and reliable content providers that understand the publication's needs. This positions them as top-of-mind when the right topic arises, thereby increasing the chances that editorial teams will bring opportunities directly their way.
Creating high-quality content, however, requires a balance between writing engaging, compelling pieces and meeting strict editorial requirements, which often include being non-promotional. Successfully meeting both your client’s and the editor’s needs can be challenging, but it is crucial to invest the time and effort necessary to produce content that meets publication specifications. In this way, you can ensure that the publication and readers get the best value from the content, while also positioning the author and vendor as a trusted source of expertise in the industry.
5. Seek help from PR experts
Building strong relationships with life science trade media is crucial for effective PR, but it takes time and effort to do so. For companies that lack the resources or expertise to navigate this landscape, working with a reputable PR agency can be an excellent option.
Established agencies will have pre-existing relationships with the media, allowing for immediate access to opportunities. Additionally, knowledgeable PR agencies can keep up with changes in the industry and quickly build relationships with emerging media players. Agencies that specialise in content production can also help develop content that serves both the media and the company's key messaging.
Ultimately, working with PR professionals can save time and resources, allowing companies to focus on other pressing business matters while still reaping the benefits of effective PR.
If you’re looking to leverage a PR agency, we recommend learning more about how BioStrata's expert PR team can assist you in maximising your life science trade media coverage to enhance your brand's recognition, credibility, and authority.
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