Why Trade Advertising is Important in the Digital Age

One of my favorite feeds and websites is Hubspot. Fortunately for me, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have a new book called Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. Yes, I am a book-aholic, but if you want to get found on the web, this is worth the read. These guys are the AUTHORITIES on the subject, and that is the reason I follow them with a passion.

In my world, and the world of most of my clients, the industrial equipment and chemical or what I lovingly term hard-core business-to-business world, I have watched with great pain, the dying off of trade publications. The good news is that the ones that are left are the gold standard. The experts that truly know and report on highly technical information write for these publications. They are AUTHORITIES in their respective industries.

It was with great delight that I read in my new favorite book, Inbound Marketing, a confirmation of what most of us know to be true: Google ranking is based on a combination of two things: relevance and authority. Authority, or credibility, is determined by the number of credible sources that link to your site.  This is becoming more and more important as search engines and searchers become more sophisticated. As the digital natives (the younger generation of web surfers as compared to my generation of digital immigrants) move into positions of power in industry, they demand that the search engines return trusted data.  If they don’t get what they want, they switch search engines. So Google has a vested interest in returning credible results.

When I have a client that tells me they are going to cancel all of their print advertising, I balk. Why?  Because the publications provide a series of credible, AUTHORITATIVE links to my clients’ sites. While their books may be slimmer, their online capabilities have grown from digital editions to digital blogs and multiple opportunities for linking. And yes, our target audiences are still split on reading print versus digital edition. Either way, advertising in the books gets you links on the AUTHORITATIVE sites of industry captains. This adds up to the best way to gain AUTHORITY for your web site.

If you or your agency are having trouble ranking highly in the search engines, talk to your agency or media representatives. There may be more opportunity in the publications to gaining better-qualified leads than meets the eye.

1 Comment

  1. Great post, Drew.

    Modern PR firms are leveraging the online version of trade publications to build links for their client. These publications can also drive a lot of targeted traffic at publication time, as well as ongoing, since the articles often rank well for search terms.

    Further, many of these publications sell online advertisements and newsletter sponsorships and even dedicated email campaigns. If you build landing pages on your client’s site that these ads can direct visitors to, you can start to fill the top of your client’s sales funnel pretty quickly.

    Whether to continue the print advertising with these pubs is a different conversation, though. Sometimes, these pubs force you to bundle it, of course. But, a savvy media buyer knows how to negotiate for the right package.

    Glad you’re enjoying the book. Marketing is moving so fast. Reading is a must to stay on top of the trends.

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