In the age of digital, it is sometimes easy to forget the role of trade journals. Once the mainstay of Business to Business marketing, trade publications are still a valuable element in the marketing mix, and they can now be even easier to engage with.
Trade Journals are always looking for good content
Ultimately, most trade journals are supported by advertising. To sell advertising, they need readers, and readers demand good quality content. Combine this with the fact that magazines are increasingly working with fewer editorial staff, and you can see that they are always open to good content from outside. With this in mind, it is always worth engaging with relevant trade journals and offering them your (good quality) content. If you follow our blog on a regular basis, you will know that we believe content is king, and that any marketing programme should have the creation of high quality content at the centre. If you are effectively marketing your business it is likely you are already creating content that may be of interest to trade journals. Typically, editors of trade magazines are looking for articles that:
- Are of general or specific interest to their/your sector
- Convey useful information rather than a sales pitch
- Are well written so don’t require too much editing
- Are easy for them to use (but more of this later)
These points should be guiding principles for all your content anyway, so, in principal, creating content that may be of interest to trade journals should simply be a part of your day-to-day marketing activity!
Editors will use content from people they trust
I mentioned above that editors prefer content that is easy for them to use. Not least, this means content that does not require detailed reading and checking. As with all external content (on-line and off-line), trust is a key factor. Once you move away from paid content (advertorial), editors will tend to prefer content from people they can trust (normally from past experience) to deliver appropriate copy. If the journal has a good readership they can be bombarded with potential articles. Most of these they will reject out of hand, so the trick is to build a rapport which takes time.
It is not simply about sending a press release and hoping they will print it.
Enter social media
By its very nature, social media (especially Twitter & LinkedIn) are great tools for building connections with journalists and editors. Targeting, connecting and engaging with editors, journalists and writers on trade journals should be a key strand to your social media strategy.
- Build a list of target journals
- Research the name of the editor and key journalists – These will normally be printed somewhere within their pages, or listed on their website
- Find these journals/people on social media and follow them/encourage them to follow you
Once you have these connections you can use social media to make them aware of your content. For example, on Twitter you might tweet:
@tradejournal We have just added this to our blog, and thought it may be of interest to your readers <>
They are not going to use every post you suggest, but if your content is good & relevant, they will certainly take notice. LinkedIn is another place to raise your profile/reputation for producing good content. By regularly posting good content against your profile, intelligently commenting on the posts of others, and posting good content on the LinkedIn Pulse blog, you are continually re-enforcing your ability to produce good copy and thus enhancing your reputation.
The Role of Email
Email too has a role in this process. In addition to targeting customers and prospects directly, you should also include trade journal contacts in your email marketing programme. However, rather than simply sending them your newsletter, we would suggest re-formatting the content to make it trade journal friendly:
- Include only one story per email, and include the story in full
- Include links to high-resolution versions of logos and images that trade journals will need if they decide to print your story
- Include a link to an editable version (MS Word or similar) of the story to make it easy for them to use the copy
- Include a short biography of the company/author that they can use as a byline.
Finally, when emailing trade journals, take account of their deadlines and try to get a feel for their publishing timelines. There is little point in sending the email just as they are about to hit their print deadline. Much better to send it shortly after, when they are starting to think about future issues.
A Word about Trade Press Advertising
Ask any trade journal editor and they will tell you that editorial and advertising are not linked, that one does not depend on the other. In principle this is correct. If you provide good quality copy then it should have a chance of being printed irrespective of whether you advertise with a journal. However trade journals do rely on advertising revenue so if you value a journal in your marketplace, and you believe that relevant people are reading it, then it follows that advertising there can have value to you. if you are considering placing advertising then maybe that journal would be a good place to put it!
- In many markets there is little doubt that trade journals still have a valuable role to play in the marketing mix
- Email and social media make it cost-effective to engage with trade journals in a sustainable way
- Make sure you join-up this activity with your broader content marketing
- Take the long-term view and build relationships with key journals and their editors.
If you would like to explore the potential of trade journals in your marketing, drop me a line or call 01457 851111