So can trade magazines survive?

I said yesterday that I’d been reading a few articles recently about the trade press, and only mentioned one of them, so here’s another pair, this time from The WebMarketCentral Blog in the USA. Will Content Marketing Kill Trade Publications? and How Trade Publications Can Capitalize on Content Marketing and Social Media acknowledges that trade magazine publishers have failed miserably to move with the times, but does look at what they might offer to differentiate themselves – and survive – in the future.

There are some good ideas in that second article. Trade magazines still have opportunities which the companies they write about don’t have. The chance to aggregate the arguments and offer a base for discussion. The market positioning to undertake research and publish ratings. And the ability to disseminate all of this in print, still a more user-friendly format than on-screen for the big picture (and indeed, big pictures).

If you still have any trade magazines remaining in your sector, they probably look just like they did twenty years ago. As we mentioned yesterday, this isn’t giving us any reason to want them to survive. They’re just an anachronism, supported by the inertia of the remaining advertisers who don’t have time to measure the results of their promotional budgets. But they could be relevant again, with just a bit of vision.

Discussion

  1. Tom Pick

    Hey Chris –

    Thanks very much for the kind words and observations. As I noted in that second post, I don’t have all the answers, but believe trade pubs can survive if they focus on providing the type of content they are best positioned to provide. Thoughtful, well-researched vendor/product comparisons would also be very helpful to readers.

    The dramatic changes taking place in the market may foster an “only the strong survive” type situation, but also present opportunities for smaller, more nimble publishers to leapfrog larger competitors too slow to change.

    As the Chinese curse goes, trade publishers indeed now “live in interesting times.”

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