Tapping into Media Minds: Tips to Sell Your Story to an Industry Publication

By Anna Scordos
Public Relations Account Executive at Foster Marketing

Your company is doing great things. You just developed a new technological innovation that is a step change for the industry. Or, you just got the results back from a field trial on your new equipment and the client is extremely pleased. Or, your amazing team of forward-thinkers has come up with a new and improved way of approaching problems that have foxed and foiled other industry players for decades.
You’re proud of what your colleagues and your company are achieving. But this isn’t the time for only quiet congratulations amongst them. If you want your clients to be assured that they’re working with an innovative company; if you want potential clients to give you a call; if you want your competitors to break a little sweat, then you need to recognize where the story is and shout it from the rooftops. Luckily, the media are there to help you do just that. But, in such a noisy environment, sometimes you need to fight to be heard.

Here are 10 tips to make sure that the media has the confidence to share your story:

1. Know the Publication

Magazines, journals, e-news – they’re all basically the same, right? Wrong. Not all publications are created equal. Some employ in-house journalists to write their stories, some only accept by-lined copy provided by you as a company. Some are looking for in-depth pieces, others are looking for short snippets. Aside from these creative differences, it’s important for you to know the readership of the publication (and the publication’s reputation), before you commit the time and effort to collaborating with them.

2. Know the Editor(s)

The editor is the gatekeeper of the publication and gets the final say on the inclusion of every word that makes it into print. It’s therefore very important to develop and nurture relationships with editorial representatives from the publications that most closely align with your intended audience. Once the editor knows who you are and understands your business (and is suitably impressed by the industry-enhancing advancements you must share) they are more likely to trust that future stories won’t be a waste of their valuable time.

3. Understand Their Objectives

Publications are businesses too, and their objectives are usually twofold: to disseminate newsworthy information and to make money. Some turn a profit from limiting access to editorial content via paid subscriptions. Others profit from the sales of advertisements. When “selling” or promoting a story, make sure it really would be considered “newsworthy” to an industry circle significantly wider than your own company – people may be paying to read it or paying to advertise next to it.

4. Prepare a Concise Abstract

Editors are called “editors” for a reason – they prefer brevity. In a publication, space is money and word counts rule. It is not a place to be verbose. In your initial pitch, prove to the editor from the get-go that you will not cause them a headache in the editing process. Prepare a succinct abstract of what you wish to write about: a couple of sentences to demonstrate industry context, a short summary of the “core” of the story and spell out why readers will be interested. 

5. Talk About Success

Aside from the fact that nobody likes a Debbie Downer, be aware that people read industry publications to learn how to improve their businesses and operations. Emphasize, wherever possible, success stories or case histories, and it will not only portray your company in a more favorable light, it will generate more readers keen to learn something from your article.

6. Stay Objective

In this day and age, readers are savvy when it comes to detecting vaguely disguised advertisements. Articles will usually be vigorously vetted to remove any language that betrays that the author is biased. The place for advertising is in a paid-for ad. A well-written, objective article that reports technical achievements rooted in supporting case studies is a far more sophisticated form of company promotion, in any case.

7. Communicate Value

The story represents a great success for your company, but so what? You need to make it clear to the editor and the potential reader how your success can be their success – how your innovation stands to benefit the reader in their operations in the Gulf of Mexico; how what you learned in your field trials has saved the reader from making a mistake in their upcoming operations in West Africa; how working with your team will save them time and money in the long run.

8. Be Relevant and Timely

News gets old, fast. As soon as you have the kernel of a great news story that is relevant to a current industry problem, it pays to let a communications expert like Foster Marketing know, so we can guide you into crafting the full story and getting the word out and funnelled into the right channels, quickly.  

9. Be Trustworthy

Publishing an article is a great way to position your company as a respected industry thought-leader, but a quick way to hurt your integrity is if the story isn’t accurate or the facts exaggerated. Whatever you do, make sure that every part of the story is verified, and that you would be happy to field any questions arising as a result of it.  


10. Be Appreciative!

There are a lot of companies vying for the attention of the media, and a lot of them are doing great things that are worth talking about. Each publication has a finite amount of space to allocate, so it can be quite an honor to score a spot for your story. It always helps to personally let the editor know that you appreciate them lending you their support.

Anna is based in the U.K. and has a wealth of industry experience gained as an editor with various global oil and gas industry publications, including magazines such as Oilfield Technology and LNG Industry and online publications such as EnergyGlobal.com and WorldCement.com.

Need help with your next technical article or other communications efforts? We can help. Call us today at 281-448-3435.