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Four trade media trends healthcare marketers can leverage

Twenty-three percent of B2B marketers view print trade magazines as a key content marketing tactic and only 17 percent rely on digital magazines. In 2017, even fewer saw trade media as a critical tactic to their marketing success (6 percent and 5 percent respectively) according to the B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report. We have seen this across both healthcare and manufacturing industries. In fact, we found not as many manufacturing clients are engaging with trade publications.

Does this mean the end of the healthcare trade media as we know it?

While a few healthcare trade publications have closed up shop over the last couple of years, most of them are still around. In fact, top trade publications are rethinking how they provide value to their readers to continue to keep engagement rates high.

Here are a few of the trends we have seen healthcare trade publications adopt in the last year that you can leverage in your marketing strategy to reach key decision makers in health systems:

Digital first
Four of the top read healthcare trade publications made a bold move in 2018 – they retired or reduced their print issues and moved to mainly online coverage. According to one editor, the decision was not because of lack of readership, but rather a push from readers for more online content. Website traffic was increasing exponentially so the publication responded by giving its readers what they wanted. More online content. This is good news for B2B marketers for three reasons:

  1. It allows publications to accept rolling submissions for content and cover it in a timely fashion, instead of slating it in a print issue based on a pre-determined editorial calendar.
  2. It makes it easier for companies to share and promote published coverage via their social channels.
  3. It can include backlinks to the company website, which helps improve SEO and also allows us to better measure the number of people reading or engaging with the content.

Content syndication
Another trend we are seeing is companies shifting from using trade publications for print advertising and editorial content and more for content syndication for lead generation. Many of the trade publications are offering B2B companies an outlet to promote gated assets, such as white papers and webinars. This is a win-win. Healthcare companies can reach a highly targeted audience and it also helps build credibility as the content is housed with a third-party.

This is becoming a popular option as many publications are changing or becoming stricter with who they accept content from. In fact, an editor from a healthcare trade publications said she often doesn’t have enough interest from vendors to capture a balanced industry perspective so she has pulled away from using any manufacturers as a source. Without a case study or customer story, publications that have content syndication options can still reach your key audiences and generate leads.

Curated content
With the amount of content on the internet, some publications are trying to help their readers cut through the noise. Instead of simply publishing their own content, they pull together the top articles from around the web for their readers. These articles can be featured on the website or as part of a daily or weekly e-newsletter. For example, HealthLeaders moved to this as a way to provide its readers “calm among the chaos.” The publication’s experienced editors comb through the headlines daily and pull together the top pieces of content that “harvest only the ideas and developments that [their audience] can use.”

Why is this an important trend?

They often feature strong thought leadership content helping expand the reach of your original placement. Don’t believe me? One of our healthcare clients had an original article published in Daily Nurse reaching approximately 8K readers. The piece was picked up by another publication growing the reach to more than 25K.

Paid subscriptions
A number of trade publications and association publications require paid subscriptions to access their content. Because advertising numbers are dwindling, this can help them keep their doors open. This trend can impact the reach of the publication, and therefore some companies forego earned media placements in these publications. However, this usually means the publications are more targeted, so you can feel confident you’re reaching the right people with your content. Additionally, participating in these issues brings third-party validation helping the credibility of your brand.

The way B2B marketers view trade media is evolving. But trade publications won’t go away. We are excited to see some of the top trades adjust to the changing landscape and continue offering options to help reach their audience.

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