December 3, 2023
Germany is Denmark's largest neighbouring country, and with over 83 million inhabitants, it is not only Europe’s strongest economy, but also has one of the most diverse and dense media landscapes in Europe.
From a communications point of view, entering the German market as a Danish firm can seem daunting. The competition is strong, the bureaucratic system is complex, and language and cultural nuances can be complicating factors when entering the market. Especially as a foreign player, it can be a challenge to make your voice heard in an already crowded media landscape and to stand out through compelling storytelling.
Thanks to our German-speaking expertise in the team and our track record of working with German media, we have learned how to approach PR here. Below, we share our key insights and five tips to have in the back of your mind when positioning yourself in Germany.
1. National media outlets are not based in just one city
The German media market is geographically decentralised. National newspapers, in particular, are distributed throughout the country. For example, the Süddeutsche Zeitung is based in Munich, WELT in Berlin, while FAZ reports from Frankfurt, BILD from Hamburg, and Handelsblatt from Düsseldorf. However, all these media outlets have correspondents scattered in other cities. Keep in mind that the journalists you contact, invite to an event, or arrange an interview with, will likely not be in the same location.
2. Consider various regional interests and sector footholds
Hamburg is a media city, politics is made in Berlin, Frankfurt is the financial centre of Germany, the startup ecosystem thrives in Berlin, and many corporations are based in Munich. Considering regional differences in terms of sector footholds can be helpful when deciding which publication and journalists to target with your story. Does your news have political or technological relevance? Look for journalists covering these topics in Berlin. Is it finance-related? Frankfurt is your place to start. While this is not black and white and every regional office covers various topics, this regional perspective can be helpful.
3. Embrace the multitude of publications when navigating the media landscape
Compared to Denmark, Germany has a multitude of industry and niche media. The country produces more than 300 daily newspapers, about 1,600 special interest magazines, and more than 3,800 trade journals. Additionally, there are over 450 radio stations in Germany! Deutschlandfunk and Deutsche Welle are publicly operated and offer a comprehensive perspective on current events.
What does this mean for your PR work in the German market? You will have better chances of finding a publication that actually focuses exclusively on your niche sector. Research well and find the industry medium that is relevant to your company and story. If your pitch is well-tailored to the readership and interests of the journalist, you have a good chance of bringing something new to the table as a Danish firm.
4. Play on your Nordic origin
Few other regions in Europe exert such a strong attraction on Germans as the Nordics. Digitalisation is more advanced, the welfare state is stronger, gender equality is more advanced, and the design is beautiful. Focus on the strengths your home country has and on what this innovative mindset can mean for the Germans. Whether you decide to compare the Danish status quo with Germany, share key learnings from a Nordic point of view, or look for journalists with a connection to Scandinavia who have already written about Nordic companies - use your Nordic background and the new perspective it will bring to the table.
5. Be concise, clear, and personal
Germany is culturally different in many respects, and the media landscape could not be more different from Denmark's small and centralised media system. However, when it comes down to it, good PR work in Germany works just like it does here.
Your pitch must be clear and precise. What is the story about? Why should it interest the readers? And most importantly, why is it relevant now to write about it? Just like in Denmark, editors nowadays are drowning in a variety of pitches, press releases, and news - and they lack the time and resources to address and respond to every story. Put yourself in the shoes of the editor, invest in building personal relationships, and stand out with engaging stories that will interest the readers. With that in mind, you will start off your PR work in Germany on a good note.