Engineering PR: The health of the trade press

Technical PR, Engineering PR, Industrial PR, Manufacturing PRWhether you refer to it as technical PR, engineering PR, industrial PR or even technology PR the fact remains that communicating with and via the editorial in the trade media is probably still quite high on your marketing agenda in 2010. I appreciate that plenty of other things are probably important as well. From Blogging, Social media and e-mail marketing to Google AdWords, SEO and just getting a better Web site online there have never been more 'new' elements of the marketing mix introduced in a single decade.

I imagine you have also heard, like I have, that the trade press is now a less effective medium than it once was. Well, putting aside that this is a hugely sweeping statement that addresses every magazine from the The Engineer and the IEE Review to a highly specialist title like Panel Building, I think it's fundamentally wrong.

Firstly, the trade press were amongst the first organisations to begin taking advantage of the possibilities of Web 2.0. From launching video sites to Twitter streams, it's the media who have been ahead all along. So, the idea that they are going to be left behind seems strange to me. Surely now is the best time to be in the trade press, after all you no longer just get a clipping in the magazine but also online and probably a reference in their e-mail newsletter, Twitter feed, Facebook fan page, LinkedIn Group and countless other outlets they might use to disseminate news. And don't forget, magazines are 'authorities' on their subjects and thus highly likely to rank highly for the relevant keywords.

However, while it isn't true that the trade press is on its last legs, it is true that there has been a fundamental shift in the way people buy everything from bearings to packaging lines and inverters to wind turbines.

Once, people would look at the editorial and ads in their most trusted trade magazine and select a product on that basis. Of course, there were a million and one other factors, from trade shows to how friendly the salesmen was, but the fact remains that the trade magazine was the key source of information.

Then, there was a time when people sourcing goods would just type what they wanted into Google and buy it. Now, I believe it is much more likely that they will type what they want into Google, assess every option and the trustworthiness of the information presented to them and then make an informed decision. Gone are the days in which Google was God and we believed whatever it said. In that sense, the golden age of Google has been analogous to the golden age of TV advertising - both were times in which the claims of a single medium were believed above all else.

Of course, people still use Google to find things, but they don't just trust the top three listings anymore. Instead they look for the most trustworthy and relevant pieces of information on which to base their decisions. And where do they look for it? Online articles, print articles, Twitter feeds, fan pages, message boards, video - in fact, in all of the information mediums the trade press provides... So, the fact remains, you are right to make technical PR a key part of your 2010 marketing strategy, because good technical PR now incorporates a host of online communication methodologies that will help you be that trusted source of information.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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