TradeTips Blog
Trade Publications
Still Powerful After All These Years

By Jack Petree and Clayton Petree

Whatever economic sector your company operates in, chances are it is served by one or even several business trade publications (Sometimes called Business to Business or, B2B magazines).

No matter the current and on-going discussion about social media, on-line marketing, a whole range of technology based options, and on-line communities, the fact remains; trade publications, whether in print or hard copy versions, are still a powerful tool for any business wishing to penetrate the U. S. marketplace, or any other market in the world, for that matter.

Trade magazines can be especially effective for a smaller business approaching the marketplace. B2B publications are highly targeted so, anything you do is focused on the exact readership you need and, better, trade publications are often read by the decision makers in a company. An industry trade publication is just about the only promotional medium available capable of reaching a national audience already interested in learning about your product and, if convinced your product has value, interested in a purchase.

Press Releases Have Value And Cost Almost Nothing:

Most industry trade magazines print short pieces featuring new product or personnel information supplied them by companies via press releases. Oddly enough, despite the fact that most magazines provide the coverage free or at a nominal fee, the vast majority of companies never get around to press releasing a new product. By way of illustration, Public Policy Perspectives has actually been paid by trade publications to write press releases for companies to "submit" to that very publication; companies who'd been asked to submit a release but, "never got around to it."

Think about it, coverage can be obtained in a magazine focusing on your industry sector and read by your specific customers for little or no cost; and you're not following up on the opportunity?

And don't forget, if a number of magazines cover your industry press releases, usually in the form of a hundred or so word of description, contact information, and a good, high quality picture, are instantly replicable; you can cover several magazines with almost no additional investment over the time and effort needed to write the original release.

We suggest you send both an e-mail and a snail mail copy of the release. The two reinforce one another and, interestingly, in the age of everything electronic, a physical piece of mail in the hand is intriguing today.

A Story About Someone Using Your Product Is Worth Its Weight In Gold:

Trade magazines often function with very small staffs so many are not only open to submissions but, eager to have them but, and it is a big but, editors are generally not looking for advertorials; bits of thinly disguised advertising fluff. Editors are looking for good, solid stories about good, solid businesses and they want them well written. If you can provide that kind of a story the odds are high you will successfully place articles about your customers in the trade magazines.

The payoff for you is that editorial about your products is seen as credible in the mind of the reader.

Paid Advertising:

Of course, when you issue a press release and/or pitch a story idea, or have a story pitched on your behalf, you can expect to be contacted by the advertising department of the publication you've contacted.

Trade publications have to make money for their owners just as your company must provide a profit or die.

Advertising in the trades can be very inexpensive compared to other approaches to the marketplace. Two of the secrets to success are consistency and standing out.

For decades studies have shown that consistency produces results and nothing has changed in the world of on-line marketing. Over time, a small, consistent ad in every issue of a publication will produce better results than a large ad run once. The beauty of this is you do not need to, and, in fact should not, change the ad often. Awareness of an ad's sponsor increases with repetition. An ad placed twelve times with the same copy presented each time will produce far more recognition than twelve different ads placed one time each.

Industry trade magazine remain today, as they have been for decades, one of the most important ways a business can converse directly with its customers. Social media and other kinds of electronic advertising are increasingly important but they are simply frosting on the cake trade publications provide.

On-line Trade Magazines:

Like any other business, the business of providing trade publications has been dramatically changed by the advent of easily available computing. Don't overlook the on-line versions many trade magazines now run in coordination with their hard copy versions. The need for on-line copy is taxing the staffs of many publications and, in doing that, opens up opportunity for you.

Jack and Clayton Petree own and operate Public Policy Perspectives, a Bellingham Washington company specializing in writing and placing articles in trade publications on behalf of the clients they work with. Together the two have written and placed more than 3,000 articles over time. Public Policy Perspectives can be reached at publicpolicyperspectives@comcast.net