Worthwhile but not complicated
There’s a huge opportunity for trade media publications to reach a wider audience. Here, Richard Stone managing director of scientific, technical and technology PR agency Stone Junction suggests a quick way publishers can boost their online visibility in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.
Though trade magazines inevitably have a finite audience, limited by the number of people in their target country in the job roles they are written for, many trade media publications fail to reach their whole audience because of lack of visibility.
Compounding this, most magazines don’t have sufficiently strong awareness in the industries they serve, outside their own subscriber bases.
For example, I once did an exit survey at an automation industry trade show asking engineers what automation magazine they read. Most people answered with generic sounding non-existent publications like Control Engineering & Automation… they just blended the names of publications because they don’t know them well enough.
So, even if your publication caters specifically to one sector, in this case automation engineers, many of them may not recognise your brand as strongly as you would hope.
For example, according to Statista there were 83.3k design engineers working in the UK in 2021. One well known magazine catering to this readership has a circulation of around 20k, so three out of four design engineers probably miss stories they’d like to read.
A wider audience means more readers, more readers mean more advertisers and more advertisers mean a more successful magazine.
Google News currently draws from around 50k publications around the world. The platform often misses out on stories in the public domain due to the staggering number of unsubmitted publications.
Stone Junction’s database of media outlets contains around 900,000 outlets around the world, so Google News is, at best, only getting 5.5 per cent of the available outlet’s content.
One of the simplest things publishers can do to give themselves the biggest possible audience boost for ten minutes work is to submit their content to Google News.
As a PR consultant, I’m often asked why a piece of news on a particular website doesn’t show up in the Google news tab and the answer is simple – the publisher hasn’t submitted their site.
Adding a publication to Google News is simple.
1. Visit https://publishercenter.google.com
2. Input your URL or RSS feed.
3. Provide the outlets name, country and language.
4. Click "add publication".
5. Verify and continue. To verify, all you will need to do is add a short piece of code to your site, either via Google Tag manager or your CMS, so that it shows up automatically on every new page. It’s really easy.
Doing that means that Google will, at the very least, then consider whether it wants to publish your news. While it might publish your news without this step, it would first have to crawl your site and decide that it is a genuine news publication. It can run into two potential hurdles there.
Google often looks for an outlet containing 90 per cent current events. A print trade publication, on the other hand, might contain 50 per cent feature content, 40 per cent ads and only 10 percent current events.
However, on a website, you disregard the ad/editorial split and just focus on the news/features divide. Most trade sites publish a lot more news online that they do in print and would probably pass the Google test with flying colours.
Having said that, if you don’t, you could forgive Google for not knowing that your trade magazine is also a news site.
The other potential issue is that Google prefers the stories on a news site to come from different sources or authors. Lots of trade magazines have only one editor, and most articles are by-lined to that person or a contributor. This can put Google off deciding the site is a news outlet.
Long term, publishers can remedy these issues by publishing more news and crediting the people who are contributing copy – if there’s an assistant editor, contribution from a freelance or even an intern, make sure you credit them.
In the short term, while you are waiting for your tea to cool, submit your site to Google News and watch those extra readers pour in.