How Trade Publications Are Adapting to Digital Disruption

3 min read · 6 years ago


Tune into ProfNet’s upcoming #ConnectChat on Tuesday, May 26, at 3 p.m. EDT with PR News

Although trade journals are geared toward niche audiences, they offer in-depth and vital information to professionals in their industry. For PR pros, industry journals serve as the go-to source for emerging trends, compelling case studies and research, as well as opinion pieces and feature articles on the latest industry developments.

Having your brand featured in a trade journal is the gold standard for earned media – not only are these publications highly reputable, but the core audience is comprised of industry leaders, which could be an important name recognition opportunity.

But much like mainstream media outlets, trade publications are faced with the pressure of ramping up content production while trying to grow a subscriber base in an environment where most people believe they shouldn’t have to pay for news.

“From an editorial standpoint, the current state of trade publications in the PR industry is a healthy one,” says Matthew Schwartz, group editor at PR News. “For a relatively small profession, the PR field draws ample coverage from PR News, PR Week, Ragan, Holmes Report, O’Dwyer’s, Media Bistro and countless blogs and niche sites covering PR and marketing communications.”

“The financials are another story, in that margins are increasingly tough to come by for any media company (whether consumer or trade). An entire generation has grown up thinking that information wants to be free; for media companies that puts a severe strain on both the top and bottom lines.”

While digital disruption poses many challenges for the traditional publishing model, Schwartz gave us a behind-the-scenes look at three ways that PR News is adapting to change.

Investing in events

Networking events, workshops and conferences offer publications a unique opportunity to engage with their audience beyond the page.

“As the Web takes up a larger and larger portion of our lives, people increasingly want to get out of the shop and press the flesh,” says Schwartz. “They want hands-on education about where the profession is headed and how to do their job better and win bigger budgets, which is what our events provide.”

Revamping print production

With so much content filling audiences’ email and social feeds, many readers relish holding something in their hands that provides a break from the digital onslaught. Publishers need to be agile in how they approach the print version of their trade journal so that it makes an impact.

“We still have a weekly print premium product (and recently unveiled our most comprehensive redesign in 60+ years of publishing),” Schwartz shares. “To build a better mousetrap, we’re moving more toward cross-pollinating our events content with our print content.”

Keeping an eye on future generations

Although today’s industry leaders are essential to a publication’s continued success, trade journals must take the long-view and plan for the needs of tomorrow’s decision-makers.

At PR News, Schwartz says, “Web development is crucial and we’re eager to enhance our site with more organic content, video and interactive programs. We also try to keep an eye on the future and plan to ramp up our coverage of millennials, who are now starting to enter the management ranks.”

Schwartz will be our featured guest during ProfNet’s upcoming #ConnectChat on Tuesday, May 26, at 3 p.m. EDT, where we will discuss the evolution of trade publications and their influence in the PR industry. To submit questions for Matthew in advance, please email or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @sramloch.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How Trade Publications Are Adapting to Digital Disruption

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