10 Aug 2023

“Tricks of the Trade”: three tips for engaging with pharma trade media

Driving your presence in trade media can prove challenging, yet there are positive steps you can take to effectively approach and engage journalists to improve coverage.


Recently, we spoke with figures from leading publications in the trade media space, including Scrip, PharmaPhorum and Labiotech, to better understand the unique interests and preferences of the professional health community – here we share three key takeaways:

Step 1 – Focus on meaningful innovation and impact

When sharing news within trade circles, it is important to emphasise meaningful innovation and demonstrate a positive impact. While a new finding, study or update might be perceived as exciting internally, the differentiation and impact message is ultimately what will drive media interest and coverage. Trade publications across the health space seek stories about game-changing new products or services that offer genuine advancements that the industry and patients will benefit from.

To stand out in a crowded media landscape, consider angles that tap into broader topical areas and issues, such as health equity and patient access to healthcare. Presenting solutions that address real-world challenges can give your news an edge and capture the attention of trade media.

Key Takeaway 1: Trade media values stories that showcase meaningful innovation and solutions to broader healthcare challenges

Step 2 – Humanise the narrative by putting a face to your story

While the scope and robustness of your health story are vital, the spotlight is firmly on patient benefit. Claiming to be “patient-centric” without tangible evidence will not resonate with trade media. Instead, identify and share human interest stories within the finding, study or update, highlighting meaningful partnerships and patient involvement throughout the process.

Putting a face to your story allows trade media to bridge the gap between informed readers and wider industry audiences. Engage patients early on to provide an authentic personal angle that can cut through more broadly. Lastly, when discussing patient-focused initiatives, trade publications will be more receptive to hearing from a patient or your patient advocacy head than other leads in the team.

Key Takeaway 2: Human interest stories and genuine patient involvement create a more relatable and engaging narrative for trade media 

Step 3 – Pay attention to the basics and adapt your approach

Trade media professionals appreciate clear and concise communication. Utilise visuals, graphics, and images to support your pitches and breakdown your press releases, as they are universally well-received by journalists. Lengthy and convoluted press releases can deter coverage and harm media relations.

Always provide essential context in your releases, including disease prevalence, gaps in available care, and how your finding, service or otherwise, addresses those needs. Don’t lose sight of the broader healthcare landscape and its challenges. Additionally, remember that pitching to trade media requires a different approach than pitching to consumer media. Tailor your communications accordingly to match their objectives and interests.

Key Takeaway 3: Use visuals, keep it concise, and provide the essential context in your press releases. Adapt your approach for trade media audiences

In Conclusion: Trade publications are eager to hear from you, but…

Trade media presents a valuable platform to showcase your innovations and insights within the health sector. By focusing on meaningful innovation, humanising the narrative with patient perspectives, and providing clear and concise information, you can establish strong connections with trade media outlets.

Remember, trade publications are keen to hear from you, but make sure you assist them by aligning your stories with their interests and objectives. Building strong relationships with trade media will help drive awareness and recognition within the health community, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of your organisational endeavours.

By Sean Deans

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