B2B media pioneers: data, analysis, workflow, marketing solutions

Business to business publishers have arguably had even more of a baptism of fire from digital than their consumer colleagues.  Just this week New Media Age ceased its weekly print edition and Emap has been talking about phasing out many of its print weeklies and moving almost entirely online.  At the Specialist Media Conference in May, delegates heard some radical ideas and practical tips from two digital-only b2b publishers, two who have migrated from print to digital, and two who maintain both print and digital forms of their content.  Here’s the highlights of their presentations, showing their metamorphosis from news sources to providers of data and analysis that support daily decision-making for their readers, requiring new skills and processes.

1. Ben Heald, CEO Sift: how communities can develop marketing solutions

Accounting Web has developed an active community for accountants, with 600 questions and 3000 answers a month, driving significant traffic.  Editors have learnt to write to engage rather than inform, to start a conversation.  Commercial partners are now interested in sponsoring surveys, forum reports or buyers guides partly created by the professional online community.

2. Andy Cook, Group Publisher, VRL financial: from words to charts

VRL has transitioned from a news-based print publisher to an online date provider.  Editors have had to think in terms of fewer words and more charts, and behave more like analysts than journalists.   Marketing solutions for clients built around live round tables or bespoke online content have replaced traditional print advertising.

3. Jeska Harrington Gould, MD, Research: new skills for selling site licences

A site licence business requires different skills to traditional publishing.  Research ltds media products are now led by product managers, with more technical expertise than the publishers they replace.  The business now has to provide extensive training and support to their users to build usage and ensure retention.

4. Jeremy Phillips, COO, Strategy Eye: publications become applications

Strategy Eye’s cleantech online subscription service is built on an understanding of how content and functionality can support decision-making.  Carefully curating third party sources can be as valuable as creating original content.  His service looks more like an application than a publication and the dashboard can be customised for subscribers’ preferences.

5. Peter Houston, Director of Content, Advanstar: making content work harder

Editors are hard-pressed these days creating content for print, web, digital, live events and social media.  Peter shared some tips, encouraging re-using, repackaging and recycling content, and creating content from the process of researching and building a story.  It’s not a repeat if you didn’t see it first time round!

Read more aticles based on the conference content here:

Consumer Media Pioneers

Radical ideas

Find out more about the full programme and  other speakers at the Specialist Media Conference.

Agree with the views above?  Or have different thoughts on the future of b2b media? Please comment below or  join the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in to swap ideas and tips with over 600 other specialist media people.

About the author:  Carolyn Morgan is MD of the Specialist Media Show and programmes the conference. If you are interested in speaking at a future conference, please contact Carolyn.

Carolyn also works with individual media businesses to help develop their digital publishing strategy, drawing on the ideas and experiences of specialist media owners through the conference.  Find out more about Penmaen Media or contact us direct for an initial discussion.