The Apple iPad buzz reached a fever pitch over the past three weeks. The ibuzz has targeted the publishing industry, in particular. Many have speculated here and here that the iPad would save the traditional publishing with a rush of innovative advertising and iPad content applications. Others, however, here and here, have argued that the iPad will have a negative or ambiguous impact. Regardless of whether traditional publishers survive or change with the iPad, the key for progressive B2B marketers is that traditional publishing is shrinking. As the number of industry publications shrinks, the opportunities for B2B marketers to evolve into publishers, and to own a new, niche, marketing channel will continue.
According to IBIS World 2010 research, the US Magazine and Periodical Publishing industry is in decline. Industry Revenue has declined each year from 2008 to date. Industry employment also dropped by, as much as, 12% during the same period. As the Publishing industry continues to see slowing advertising revenue and slowing subscription growth, the growth of the Internet will continue to provide increased external competition for reader’s attention. This situation is a difficult one for traditional publishers with very strong print brands which struggle for advertising amidst a shrinking subscriber base. Online publishing changed the nature of the periodical industry. The cost of internet publishing quality, premium content, online is extremely low and most Internet periodicals have close to zero distribution costs, online.
As B2B marketers continue to build up their content marketing and publishing capabilities to connect with customers, these companies have increased the number of quality writers and even journalists on their staff. Even if these companies outsource their content creation to quality partners, they continue to publish more content and they deliver this in a consistent, periodic manner. Some have proposed that journalists leaving the publishing industry may find a more promising future as B2B “brand journalists.” This is a promising trend that shows that companies are quickly becoming the new publishers, not driven by advertising and subscription revenue. Nonetheless, all publishing from one organization is a limited perspective, no matter how prolific the content. The more limited the perspective, the less authority we give to that perspective. B2B marketers need to collect, aggregate, and share relevant content from various sources to provide a balanced perspective their readers can trust as authoritative. Read any industry trade journal and that publication is a collection of quality, premium insights on that industry.
With content curation, B2B marketers, the newly emerging industry trade-publishers, can deliver new niche, periodicals to their audiences of customers. Additionally, as niche markets demand that their publishers deliver increasing relevant industry content, B2B marketers that curate will be able to easily satisfy this demand. Thus, B2B marketers may be a new and compelling competitor to traditional publishers that previously controlled the flow of information. As traditional publishers seek new platforms for advertising and subscriptions, such as the iPad, their focus on niche markets will continue to decrease and move elsewhere. Does any B2B Marketer not want the authority and leadership as a leading industry publisher for their customers?