Having a targeted audience is a cornerstone of a successful web strategy. People know they can get general news and information from a variety of sources, but they often turn to trade and professional publication websites to stay current in their profession. Trade magazine websites speak to fairly specific groups of people. Companies that sell tools or other products for people in specific professions prefer advertising on trade magazine / publication websites, because they can be confident that their ad impressions will reach readers who have a predisposition toward their products.
But without a careful long term audience development plan, trade publication audiences risk stagnating numbers. One part of a successful audience development plan for trade publication websites is reaching beyond the boundaries of the existing audience to include relevant industry outsiders.
Ensure Your Branding Image Is Inclusive
Of course your branding initiatives should be focused, but they shouldn’t be too tight. Do your branding images reach out to retired professionals? What about minorities or people who aren’t traditionally associated with your trade? In the push for a steady stream of fresh, relevant content it can be easy to pile up a dozen blog posts profiling, for example, only female nurses. Make sure that within your target audience, you’re addressing the full range of people who belong to it.
Where You Advertise Matters
There is simply no substitute for learning about your trade publication’s readership demographics. You can get information from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or other sources, or you can create a reader survey to ask questions directly. The more you know about your readers, the more you can target the advertisements you place for your trade publication. For example, if 30% of your trade publication readership is black and you’re not advertising in the publications and on the websites these readers enjoy, you could be missing out. Know your audience, and you’ll learn more places to advertise to help enlarge that audience.
Use Your Site’s Job Board to Extend Your Reach
A custom job board on a trade publication site is a hit with employers in your profession, job seekers, and advertisers. Does your trade publication site for dental professionals reach out to target those in endodontic or cosmetic practices, or does it stick to general dentistry professionals? Extending your audience may be as simple as developing your job board so that it reaches out to subspecialties or related professions (like equipment technicians).
Use Events, Conferences, and Speaking Opportunities to Your Advantage
Participating in events and conferences is a terrific way to get in front of your target audience as well as a larger audience. Does your propulsion engineering publication participate in propulsion conferences as well as broader aerospace conferences? It should. When you reach beyond the tight boundaries of your profession, you have the ability to find and attract those in slightly different specialties who nonetheless may have a strong interest in your trade magazine or publication. Regular face-to-face contact in a slightly larger sphere can be a key to further audience development.
Trade publication websites are inherently focused, and that is a huge part of their draw for both readers and advertisers. However, it’s possible to limit your focus too much and give up audience gains that could be achieved by reaching beyond your traditional readership. Inclusive branding, advertising in relevant related publications, job boards that reach job seekers in related professions, and participating in events that go beyond your tightly focused core audience are all foundations upon which audience development can proceed.
Custom job boards can be a reliable income stream for trade publication websites, and RealMatch offers recruiting advertising solutions for trade publications that can help your site attract new readers and retain existing readers, serving both revenue development and audience development.
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