How to land a trade magazine cover story

Securing a cover story in a trade magazine is a coveted achievement that can significantly elevate a company’s visibility and reputation within its industry even in the digital age. At SE10, we pride ourselves on our expertise in landing cover stories, with a remarkable track record of securing 15 cover stories for a single client in just one year!

The power of cover stories

Cover stories hold immense value for businesses, offering a multitude of benefits that set them apart from other forms of media coverage. They provide a high-profile platform to showcase a company’s expertise, products, and achievements. With 10 to 15 times the ad value of equivalent placements, cover stories generate substantial exposure and credibility for the featured company. Moreover, cover stories have a pass-through effect, boosting engagement throughout the company and serving as a powerful sales tool to attract potential clients and partners.

Laying the groundwork

Securing a cover story requires diligent groundwork and a strategic approach. Building relationships with the press, staying informed about industry events, understanding editorial calendars, offering exclusives, and consistently pitching relevant stories are essential steps. At SE10, we stress the importance of routine maintenance of these relationships and adopt a helpful attitude towards journalists, ensuring we are viewed as valuable resources and industry experts.

Offering exclusive access

Trade magazines often seek exclusive access to company leadership, CEOs, and facilities. By granting them this access, companies demonstrate their commitment to transparency and strengthen relationships with editors. At SE10, we understand the VIP status of editors and go the extra mile by visiting them on their turf, offering facility tours, and providing exclusive insights. This approach not only helps secure cover stories but also strengthens long-term partnerships.

Managing expectations and landing the pitch

Managing expectations is crucial in media relations. Building relationships takes time, and a “quid pro quo” mindset should be avoided. Instead, we focus on maintaining a helpful attitude, creating momentum through ongoing engagement, and highlighting the overall value of the company beyond a single story.

When pitching, we carefully match the story to the publication’s priorities, only pitching “big” stories for cover consideration. We never pitch “cold” but instead take the time to understand the publication’s style, tone, and audience. By adopting a journalistic mindset, we pitch completed stories with confidence, aligning them with the editorial calendar whenever possible.

Making it easy for journalists

Compelling visuals are paramount for cover stories. We ensure we have cover-worthy photos and send them along with the story pitch to capture the editor’s attention. By offering access to key individuals and facilities, we wrap the story in a bow, making it easy for journalists to craft engaging narratives. We understand that journalists often face budget constraints and time limitations, so we adopt a flexible and accommodating approach, offering follow-ups and expressing a “run what you need” attitude.

Leveraging the coverage and preparing for the future

After securing a cover story, we leverage the coverage by sharing it with stakeholders, promoting it on various platforms, and expressing gratitude to the editor. This not only increases the impact of the cover story but also strengthens relationships with the media outlet. Additionally, we are always prepared for the next cover story, staying ahead of industry trends, identifying new angles, and maintaining open lines of communication with journalists.

In summary, securing a cover story in a trade magazine requires a strategic approach, diligent groundwork, and a deep understanding of the publication and its audience. With our meticulous planning, strong relationships with the media, and commitment to delivering exceptional content, we can position your company for success

Damian Joseph

By Damian Joseph

Vice President

About the Author

Damian is a partner at SE10, a London-based public relations firm with offices in London, Chicago and Singapore. He works as an international media strategist and uses his experience to help clients deliver communications strategies, creative programming and compelling stories that connect with stakeholders on intellectual and emotional levels. Before moving into PR, Damian was a business journalist who specialized in innovation, technology and design. He was one of the youngest staff writers in Businessweek history and a contributor to Fast Company. He earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University.