Trade Publication (© golubovy / fotoloia.com)
Trade Publication (© golubovy / fotoloia.com)

If you are in PR or marketing, you have undoubtedly heard the term “trade publication.” Even though trade publications have been around pretty much since the printing press was invented, not everyone is completely clear about what defines a trade publication or where they fit into the marketing and public relations world. In this article, we will delve deeply into the trade publication and its role in public relations.

The Definition of a Trade Publication

If you break down a trade publication to its most basic definition, you could call it something like “a publication that is intended for a very specific audience.” Sometimes, that audience is quite large and other times, the market for a trade publication is extremely small, but trade publications thrive nonetheless.

But a better definition that offers more clarification might be a publication that features a particular industry, hobby or trade. Some common (and uncommon) examples of trade publications include:

  • Advance for Medical Laboratory Professionals
  • Adventure Gaming (magazine)
  • American Bar Association Journal
  • Antique Trader
  • Birding Business
  • Broadcasting & Cable
  • Chemical & Engineering News
  • Coach & Bus Week
  • Coinslot
  • Columbia Journalism Review
  • Cranes Today
  • Dentistry Magazine
  • Design News
  • Emergency Nurse (magazine)
  • Engineering (magazine)
  • European Railway Review
  • Farm World
  • Florist's Review
  • Food Technology (magazine)
  • Foodservice Equipment & Supplies
  • Game Industry Report Magazine
  • Global Custodian
  • Graphic Arts Monthly
  • GreenSource Magazine
  • The Grocer
  • Hairdressers Journal International
  • Hotels (magazine)
  • Journal of Film Preservation
  • Journal of Singing
  • L.A. Record
  • Land Line Magazine
  • The Law Society Gazette
  • Logistics Management (magazine)
  • Medical World News
  • Motion Picture Daily
  • Mathematical Society
  • Paper & Printing Trades Journal
  • Plastics News
  • Professional Remodeler
  • Radio & Records
  • Retail Week
  • Sales Promotion (magazine)
  • Speech Technology (magazine)
  • Timber Trades Journal
  • Travel Agent (magazine)
  • U.S. Pharmacist
  • Whole Foods Magazine

Statistic: Revenue of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade publishing segment worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 4th quarter 2016 (in million U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Why Trade Publications Exist

Trade publications are created because there is interest within the industry for things relating to the trade. For example, people that are into playing video games might enjoy a magazine that is dedicated to them exclusively. People that buy or sell antiques might enjoy a magazine that helps them improve on recognizing or restoring antiques. The bottom line is that these publications exist because people enjoy exploring their hobbies, occupations or industries further.

What Does a Trade Publication Include?

A trade publication will have content that appeals to the reader. There are many different types of content that a publisher can choose to include in a trade magazine.  Some of the most popular types of content that you’ll find in these publications include:

  • Current events and news related to the industry
  • The latest trends
  • Useful articles that teach people something new
  • Advice from experts in the industry
  • Interviews with some of the top people within the trade

The content within a trade publication may come directly from people within the industry, or it may come from freelance or staff writers that have experience writing for that particular trade. One of the other things that you will consistently find within trade magazines is advertising. Industry publications are the perfect place for someone to advertise if their customers are people within that industry.

Trade Publications and Public Relations

From a public relations standpoint, trade publications are one of the best tools that you can use to improve your company’s image or gain visibility. That’s because a trade publication goes out to some pretty important people within that industry, and if your company is featured, then you are being seen by some big influencers that might just spread the message. Being featured within an industry publication lends credibility to your company as a leader in that particular field.

But in order to get featured in a trade publication, you are going to have to have something valuable to offer. People subscribe to trade magazines because they are getting valuable information that will help them somehow within that industry. That means that you would have to offer something pretty significant to readers to get featured in that magazine. That’s why so many companies are releasing their own media publications, because there is a market out there that is willing to consume well-produced media and a company-created publication can entertain and inform as well as strengthening a company’s image and gaining customers.


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