Sourcing press opportunities has immense benefits for your equine business, both in increasing brand awareness and reaching new prospects. However, many equine businesses misunderstand the fundamental purpose of editorial; that is, to create compelling content that is on trend, relevant and interesting to a publication and its readers.
Editorial Vs Advertorial
Quite simply, many equine businesses make the mistake of using editorial as a platform to promote their products and services. They retain a focus that is inherently inward – that places emphasis on their business – rather than identifying how they can educate and inform readers on wider topics. That is the fundament difference between editorial and advertorial.
When writing editorial, the most important consideration is the reader. While editorial is an opportunity to showcase your equine business as a knowledgeable and valuable industry leader, the purpose of published content is to entertain and educate the reader.
So, how can equine businesses tell their story, while still appealing to the publication they are approaching?
Research the Publication
First, it’s critical you pitch to the right publication. Your topic will be more relevant to certain media, depending on their content, reach and readership. For example, Horse Deals and Equestrian Life both have large and loyal audiences, but their content is markedly different.
As Sunday Batters, Publisher at Equestrian Life, explains, “Equestrian Life is a high-end glossy magazine that caters to the growing interest in the equestrian world and the equestrian lifestyle. From fashion and events, to behind the scenes and at home with people, Equestrian Life started in 2006 to fill this gap in the Australian market and re-launched in 2011, along with its website, the largest social media presence in equestrian sports in Australia and live streaming.”
Horse Deals, on the other hand, began as a trade publication. “The brainchild of Steve Harris in 1986, Horse Deals came from humble beginnings,” says Kerri Cock, General Manager at Horse Deals. “For many years, it was a buying and selling magazine. Now, the Horse Deals brand incorporates so much more with a strong online presence, Horse Health Diary and a wide range of merchandise. We’re not just in one pocket; we’re multi platform, we’re multi-discipline, so we must appeal to different buyers, levels and disciplines.”
Take the time to research the publication you’re approaching. It’s unlikely your topic will appeal to all types of equestrian media, so this research can help you present your topic in new and interesting ways that align with what they’re looking for.
Understand Their Audience
Every publication is limited in their editorial space. The editorial that is ultimately published must tick all the boxes in terms of being timely, relevant and engaging. It’s also important to consider seasonality, industry trends and major equestrian events that may make your topic more interesting to editors.
As Kerri Cock explains, “We have a lot of equine businesses approach Horse Deals. Many ask for advertorial and, due to the size of our magazine, unless the advertorial adds value to our readers, I see it as more of an advert. Our readership is so diverse, the editorial space I allocate has to be very appealing, specific and practical.”
Sunday Batters says, “There are key topics our readers want to read about at certain times, such as breeding features during breeding season. We also look at the event calendar and what’s happening in the industry. But, we have to be very flexible. When dealing with major events, like the World Equestrian Games, printing deadlines don’t always work, so we sometimes have to find a compromise between timing and content.”
Show the value of your topic and how it’s of interest to their readers. Try to avoid sending out the same press release or pitch document in bulk. Instead, take the time to tweak your messaging to show how you’ve considered your topic for their audience.
Make It Appealing
Finally, it’s crucial you demonstrate your expertise on topics that will appeal to their readers. Take advantage of the opportunities presented by editorial to present a well researched article or series of articles that focus on a topic external to your equine business.
Kerri Cock emphasises this importance: “Please don’t come to us and talk about how wonderful your product or service is. That really isn’t giving value to the reader as such. We need to look at the pitch on its merits, and how it fits in with our own print and online readership. For example, say a retailer of riding helmets came to me and said we have some genuine research on helmet safety, this practical approach is an education to our reader, promotes helmets in general and positions their business as an industry leader.”
As Sunday Batters explains, “Many advertisers want editorial space. However, they will encounter problems if it simply looks like cash for comment; it can be damaging for their business. Try to be more creative. Don’t just look like you’ve paid for that space. Tie in your business in more subtle ways. The equestrian industry is maturing and equine businesses are realising if they want coverage, they need to be more professional in their approach.
“In the last four years, there has been a significant increase in equine businesses using multi platforms,” she continues. “They’re wanting multiple touchpoints and the ability to communicate to our readers in different ways. However, the key to success remains the same. I think it’s a two-way street. Advertising, in any form, is only as successful as both parties put in, so the more the advertisers communicate to us, tell us the story they want to tell and the people they want to target, the better the outcome.”
Engaging an Agency
There will be times when it is in your best interest to engage a specialist agency who can help your equine business achieve its publicity goals. Whether you are a large or small equine business, seeking the advice of a PR professional is a good place to start when evaluating your PR activities to ensure you’re on the right track and taking the best approach.
Sunday Batters says, “I think we can all use all the help we can get. I think asking for advice outside our skillset is a good business practice. I think the equestrian industry in Australia is developing in terms of marketing and PR. However, if you are going to go ahead with a PR firm, ensure they have your core interests at heart. They’ve got to be able to show you they can deliver on their services because we’re still an emerging sport.”
Kerri Cock agrees: “I think PR services would appeal to a certain percentage of equine businesses who have the budget. In Australia, many are small to medium businesses. However, a lot are quite hands on and simply don’t have the time to dedicate to PR. If these businesses can stretch their budgets and utilise the services of a professional PR company, it will only enhance their business opportunities.”
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.