Digital disruption of traditional media outlets over the past decade has been significant, but one of the consequences which was not necessarily anticipated in the internet age has been the emergence/growth of trade media outlets.

While traditional media channels, such as major national newspapers and news/talk radio programs, are still, by and large, highly respected and command a large share of people who engage, trade media outlets across many different industries are thriving.

What’s more, the relationship between major companies/industry associations and the trade media outlets which are directly relevant to them is, in many instances, far different to what has and continues to exist between major companies/industry associations and traditional, broader media channels.

As an example, it’s not that unusual for an industry association to have an informal or even formal arrangement, such as a memorandum of understanding, with a trade media outlet which is devoted to covering issues and stories about the industry the association represents. This includes stories about advocacy, developments and other work the association is conducting on behalf of members, as well as announcements and developments involving companies which are members of the industry association.

Consistent with the digital disruption model, trade media outlets do not necessarily have to have a physical presence (e.g. a magazine) – there are several who rely on e-newsletters (daily or weekly), a website and promotion on social media channels. Although depending on the nature of the industry they focus on, some trade media outlets do still print magazines or produce other printed forms of communication because there is still a demand from readers for these channels.

For industry associations and major companies, trade media channels represent a relatively fast and efficient way of broadening communication of key messages. Another positive aspect of trade media is it has the ability to provide broader coverage of issues/developments in the industry it focuses on.

It means that if you are developing a media strategy and if you are developing a government and media relations strategy, then both traditional media channels and trade media channels should be among your key media stakeholders.

– By Hamish Arthur