How to do trade and tech PR in France successfully
In France, as throughout Europe, the media landscape has seen a shift away from print. Even for Trade media, if the print readership remains strong as illustrated by a recent survey for the FNPS (national federation of trade and specialised publications) (1), it now almost automatically offers a digital version or an online alternative to answer to the new information consumption habits of its audience. This level of readership is driven by the excellent reputation of French trade media (91% consider it credible and reliable). That said, in order to maintain their revenue many publications increasingly expect advertising budget in return for editorial placement –though they don’t always admit it.
Thought-leadership content around trending topics, in French, with supportive facts and figures is the “crème de la crème”. If you can support this with a local client’s testimonial, even better.
Editorial protection is strong in France so it is rare to see a company article or comment published verbatim. More likely, the editor will use the idea behind the content as the base for an interview.
Press releases are also used as source material, although these may be posted directly to an online portal. It is acceptable to be overtly promotional in press releases but less so for opinion pieces or articles.
Surely all editorial placements are agreed over a bottle of wine?
Clichés exist for a reason and editors can be tempted by a free lunch, but simply sending an invite is not enough. Editorial teams are stretched pretty thin, so you’ll still need a compelling topic for discussion – or some potential advertising - to justify the meeting.
That said, personal interaction is key to securing an editorial placement and the more you know your target media, their strategy and coming features, the bigger the chance to secure valuable column inches.
Is exhibiting still relevant in France?
Absolutely. Trade exhibitions are a great opportunity to meet several media in one go (building that crucial personal interaction), and provide the perfect forum for the launch of a PR campaign. You may have to chase the editors around, as they’re liable to ‘forget’ to meet you at your stand as promised. Quick tip: they can’t resist the free coffee and croissant from the press office, so you’ll likely find them here in the morning.
One last suggestion
Trade PR often works in English; however not in France. You’ll need localised content in French and French spokespeople who can bring anecdotes, facts and figures to the conversation if you want to be taken seriously.
Finally, as digitalisation spreads across all media, including trade media, it becomes critical to convey your message across all channels whether they are traditional, social or online and to offer targeted enriched content to your audience.
Author: Emma Channell, Account Director, Technical Associates Group
(1)Reference: survey conducted for the FNPS based on 745 trade publication readers from the 18th to the 26th of April 2016.