While many B2B trade publications will be working to further define their focus on an even narrower niche market along with developing a stronger online presence in order to survive, the fact remains that many of them will still disappear despite their best efforts to remain viable. The Internet can be too powerful — after all, more than 100 newspapers closed in 2009 alone. Many B2B magazines — like Editor & Publisher most recently — will suffer the same fate.
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Now, this can actually benefit your business. Much of the B2B information in these periodicals can also be found by your prospects conducting online research and talking to people in their industry. But the most important thing to remember is that in the Internet Age, there is little need for middle men! Anyone can publish great content, and the search engines won’t care if your a $1 million dollar company or a $500 million dollar company.
For instance, if your B2B company wanted to communicate with your potential audience and customers, your method has likely been historically to get (free!) coverage in your trade magazine at best or place advertisements at worst. The industry publication, editors and journalists were the gatekeeper between you and future sales. But just as technologies like blogs and social media eliminated the position of traditional media as the sole gatekeepers between news (and advertisements) and the public, so will the same Web 2.0 advances free your company from relying only on trade publications and other traditional avenues to get your message out. Already. there are fewer obstacles between your B2B company and your clients – provided some basic online marketing concepts are taken into consideration.
Now, imagine that trade publications relevant to your industry were disappearing (this shouldn’t be hard) and fading into the sunset. There would be no objective reporting on the industry. There would be no print platform for thought leadership anymore. And just as nature abhors a vacuum, your most savvy competitors could be planning to step in with a content marketing strategy.
In any human community, the most knowledgeable and respected person will naturally rise to the top. And that person should be your company. The future lack of industry thought-leaders when more B2B print publications go bankrupt creates a space that your company can fill. By using online marketing techniques, your company can position itself as the new thought-leader. If any given trade publication were to disappear, then a motivated content creator could devote some of its resources to posting news, analysis, commentary, and other value-added content on its website, blog and in their social media outlets.
Over time, that company could become known as the new thought-leader. Think about what that would do for branding and sales. In addition, buyers will increasingly depend on Internet searches to find the B2B products and services they desire. This makes search-engine optimization (SEO) and search-engine marketing (SEM) for content creators even more important.
With a little focus, creativity, and outside help, even smaller companies could use the opportunities provided by disappearing trade publications to surpass competitors that have multi million dollar budgets.