A guest post by Graham Pitcher, Group Editor, New Electronics

In my last post I talked about the changing role of B2B print publications. Of course trade media also address a world well beyond print circulation – at New Electronics, for instance, we have a website, Twitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn, ezines and so on, with readers around the globe. All these outlets have different requirements; they complement the magazine, but in no way do they – or, might I suggest, could they – replace it.

However, there is one thing common between all of these elements – content. And that’s always been the role of the PR company. But it’s not the relationship it once was.

Today, I need to work closely with PR companies to develop the content I want for New Electronics. Often, this is through interviews with the ‘right people’ at clients, but sometimes it’s through contributed articles. Contrast this with the ‘good old days’, when I got abusive phone calls from PRs with ‘more front than Brighton’, complaining that I hadn’t run their (often poor quality) press releases.

We generate many of the ideas for features ourselves, then link back to the relevant PR companies to facilitate. But it’s a two way street – and when there’s two of us (Tim Fryer and me), but many PR companies, the traffic inevitably flows towards me, rather than away.

So there is a lot of room in my world for PR companies, but there’s a lot more room for those who help me achieve our goals for New Electronics.

How can they do that? By getting to understand what we want to achieve and how their clients fit within that framework. The aggressive attitude of the past – ‘you never write about my client’ – isn’t a good starting point because there’s often a good reason for that.

Good agencies are proactive. They look at the editorial programme and think about how their client’s technology might fit, then come to me with suggestions – either call or send me bullet points in an email. And the good agencies understand who they are are targeting; New Electronics’ content is technology articles, not new products. If clients want product coverage, the contact is the web editor.

And all agency personnel should read Caroline Hayes’ recent blog before they approach any editor.