Because thought leaders need to get published, they need the publication industry, and most specifically trade publications, to remain strong. However, that has been a struggle now for twenty years.
Most of us know that the number of publications, especially news publications, in this country has been on a downward spiral for several years. However, when we look at the actual numbers, it’s even more startling.
Google has created something called the Google News Initiative and partnered with an organization called the GDELT Project. This Initiative tracks the comings and goings of the world’s news publications in every country around the globe.
These outlets may be print publications, broadcast publications – for instance, television, radio, or podcast platforms – or just on the Internet. However, all these platforms share one thing in common: they all have unique domains and web addresses.
It is using these unique domains and web addresses that allows the Initiative to track what is evolving. Here is what they report:
The number of domain names for publications has declined by 60 percent since 2015.
Remember, these stats are global, not just in the U.S., but that still is a huge decline. Furthermore, many in the public relations industry are finding it is getting harder and harder to get their clients’ products and services mentioned in those publications that are still around.
Just to show you how big a decline this is, in the 1950s – the golden age of print news media – there were more than twenty newspapers printed and sold daily in New York City. Today, there are four: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Post, and the New York Daily News. If the Post had not been sold to Rupert Murdock, there likely would only be three.
What about magazines?
With magazines, it is a bit of a different story. According to Statista, which monitors the magazine industry, the number of magazines in the country has stayed consistent since 2008.
As of 2019, there are 7,357 magazines in the U.S, about where things were in 2008. That’s the first surprise. Here’s the second: the number of magazine readers in this country is going up, at least slightly.
However, many of these publications have survived by moving entirely online. Even though they usually cannot charge advertisers the rates charged when in print, their costs have come down by going online.
And what about trade publications?
It is a bit harder to track this industry, but there certainly have been declines. However, there are indications that those trade publications that have survived may even become stronger. The reason is simple: they cater to specific industries and trades.
Manufacturers need them to promote their products specifically for their industry sectors. End-customers need them because this is where they typically learn about these products and find information from credible leaders in their industries.
What does the loss of news publications mean for B2B inbound marketers?
There is one more piece to this media puzzle and that involves B2B inbound marketers specifically. While some trade publications are managing to hang in there, now is the time for manufacturers and service providers to create their own publication. In other words, they must become their own messenger.
Being able to connect directly with your end-customers is going to become priceless. The types of “publications” we are describing are blogs, newsletters, white papers, and what looks and feels like an online trade publication, with one difference: it is yours. These cannot be online advertisements. What will succeed are publications, no matter what the format, which provide credible content worth reading.
Does this mean we should start walking away from trade publications? The answer is a big NO. We need them, more now than ever before. It’s just that the Internet has opened several opportunities for B2B inbound marketers. We have no choice but to take advantage of these opportunities and put them to work.