What’s special about specialist media?

Why do I think that specialist media are so special?

My publishing and media career has been focussed on specialist markets.  My first publisher role was at EMAP plc, one of the largest specialist magazine publishers of its day, with dozens of niche hobby and interest consumer titles, an extensive portfolio of business and professional publications and numerous live events and exhibitions, each serving a specific community.  Although I started in print magazines at EMAP, I built up a portfolio of live events related to the markets we published in, and then launched a series of connected websites.  Print advertisers became event exhibitors and sponsors or online advertisers, and with our digital and live formats we reached out to a wider audience.

Specialist media provide highly relevant and useful information to tightly targeted communities.  In an increasingly digital environment, their content is unique and so they are in a stronger position to charge their readers for the information they deliver.

When I launched the Specialist Media Show in 2010 I realised just how much that publishers in different niche markets could learn from each other, about the techniques and tricks of creating content across print, digital and live events.  And they were happy to share that knowledge, as they were rarely competing directly.

Since selling the Specialist Media Show in 2013 I have focussed on consultancy projects, working with a wide range of independent media businesses grappling with the challenges of an increasingly digital environment.  I do believe that operating in a niche market is a real advantage:  editors are likely to be much closer to their readers and subscribers, and they produce information that is hard to find elsewhere.  And commercial teams develop strong partnerships with advertisers and sponsors, allowing them to build more bespoke, multi-media marketing solutions.

So that’s why I believe that all specialist media are special, and that they will thrive if they connect with their audiences across all media formats.

Hence, I felt that it made sense to rename my consultancy business as Speciall Media, and to review and update my business website as www.speciall.media.  You may have known my consultancy in its former guise as Penmaen Media.

Do take some time to explore the new site.  All of my past articles are still there, and they should be a little easier to search and review.  A huge thanks to Jigowatt who have created the new design, and to Sarah Webb who came up with the new logo.


If you want to get together to discuss the challenges in your specialist media business, you are very welcome to get in touch and arrange an informal chat over coffee.  I’m always happy to share what I have heard from your peers in the niche media world.


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