In recent ThoughtSparks, we’ve shared some knowledge on the basics of content creation and pitching. But one thing we know as a multilingual agency is that press placements – much like the content they’re promoting – require localisation. That’s why I sat down with my colleague Tim Lorenzen to find out his views on the best approaches to press relations in Germany.
FB: According to the 2021 German trade press statistics, print trade journals are still the most important revenue stream for media trade providers. Is this something you see reflected in your conversations with German editors?
TL: Absolutely. Typically, I don’t start discussions with editors with a format in mind i.e. print versus online but when pitching an article they’re much more likely to suggest using it in print. And it’s beneficial to the client too. The magazines we target have a dedicated and highly relevant readership so it’s worth waiting for something to come out in print. It may then go online later as well anyway.
FB: That’s interesting, and you mention “the wait”. What’s a typical lead time for German print?
TL: Ah ha! Well, some editors are very fast but more often than not – in true German style – we’re prepping things for print at least a few months in advance. That said you’re more likely to receive page proofs for approval as well.
FB: Oh wow! So how do you keep on top of things when they drag on so long?
TL: It’s a combination of phone and email. Things can go a long time without any communication, so I prefer to pick up the phone and make sure everything is still on track. Sometimes an article can be pushed back to a later issue and given how busy they are a quick call can really make the difference. Nevertheless, German journalists are fairly responsive compared to other countries so if they’re interested in a piece they’ll get back to you and even direct you to the most relevant contact.
FB: Makes sense and really reinforces why good communication and fostering relationships are key.
TL: Oh for sure. In my experience, journalists value people who keep them in the loop, stick to deadlines and are willing to tailor the content to the publication’s requirements.
FB: We’ve talked a lot about articles, is the process any different with press releases?
TL: Well German publications tend to prefer a thought leadership piece from an industry expert to a press release. It just comes easier to interest a publication in an article pitch because their readers love a detailed, technical article. Newsworthy press releases will get some traction but there’s a clear preference for the longer form, more in-depth stuff.
Interested in learning more about how we can help you to successfully approach the German PR market? Drop us a line here.