With a lot of online readers only being able to peruse 140 characters at a time, there have been two questions that have been asked repeatedly: Can trade publications survive? If not, should the trade magazine business adapt to the social media landscape? The answer to both questions is an unequivocal yes.
A trade magazine is a type of publication that is marketed towards industry professionals and dedicated consumers who want in-depth analysis and insightful commentary when it comes to subjects relating to the arts, engineering, science, cryptography and others. These would generally be long, detailed articles that would take a while to read and thus require longer attention spans.
Indeed, times have changed and there has been substantial audience development. This is why a growing number of trade publications are modifying their content standards to become more concise, direct and to the point. Since social networking venues are being used by media outlets to deliver 140-character news summaries and information that is announced in real-time, trade magazines have to decide whether or not to adapt to their readers’ needs and shorter attention spans.
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Due to the fact that the bulk of trade publications are in print format and geared towards older adults, more and more of these magazines are beginning to prepare for the future of maintaining an online presence and writing articles with the focus on the younger generation. For those that refrain from doing so, they could very well whimper into obscurity as their audience develops.
Here are three reasons why trade publications should follow social media’s cues:
Social media is here to stay
Much like email, the social media industry is here to stay. This is a realization of pretty much all major retailers, news outlets and marketing professionals. The marketplace is finding new, useful tricks for using social media and the younger generation will still likely maintain a significant presence on Facebook, Twitter and the next big social network.
If trade publications wish to maintain the status quo and refuse to adopt social media then they will lose the future generation of readers and potentially face closure.
Attention spans will lessen
Let’s face it: a lot of web surfers don’t want to read long-winded articles. Instead, they want authors to list the most important elements right away and refrain from going into too much detail. As attention spans continue to shrink as time goes by, young readers will want content that is brief, somewhat comical and leaves them a better understanding of the topic at hand.
In today’s publishing landscape, the average article should consist of anywhere between 400 and 600 words.
Brand’s ubiquity on social media
Studies, including one survey conducted by the American Press Institute earlier this year, have shown that a growing number of Millennials – those born between 1981 and 2000 – use social media for their news. This means that a majority of outlets publishing the news are sharing it online with their fans and followers. The practice suggests that websites respect social media users and understand that younger adults search throughout Facebook and Twitter for the latest entertainment, political, science and business news. In another word: adaptation.
A reader will likely search through the publication’s profile and look for other interesting article titles rather than perusing through Google News or the outlet’s website for important content.
If trade magazines wish to remain an important part of the publishing business then they will need to adapt to social media and implement many of the same traits that make other outlets popular in the social networking realm.