In a communications sphere heavily saturated with content, niche publishing concentrates on a specific target focus compared to having a broad content focus. For example, you may publish a cookbook, but a niche focus would be publishing a cookbook specifically featuring Italian cuisine.
In today’s market, associations have a unique position because they naturally provide members value through niche content about their specific focus.
Publishing departments can look to association publications for inspiration into how to cull your audience to the most engaged and loyal readers. Members of associations are dedicated and interested in the association’s particular niche, instinctually making them engaged readers — which also makes the association and its publications very attractive to advertisers.
Noteworthy Niche Publications
- 6 ways to tell if your publication needs a facelift
- In-house vs. outside contractor design processes
- 3 key areas to focus on for a successful publication redesign
Tapping into knowing what content your audience craves is half of the battle of establishing noteworthy niche publications. The following two association examples represent the other half: engage readers with valuable content, compelling design and advertising opportunities.
Leader’s Edge magazine
Published 10 times per year by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, Leader’s Edge magazine complements its quantitative content of commercial insurance brokerage with a thought provoking and a visually “edgy” design.
CIAB’s target membership appeals to an audience of roughly 15,000 high-level executives who crave cutting edge information that highlights prosperous opportunities in the insurance industry. This attention to detail resonates through the literal name of the magazine as well as the design that amplifies its content.
Leader’s Edge sets itself apart from competing associations and consumer magazines by capitalizing on its niche focus with deliberate decisions that capture the visual and tactile interests of its membership from the standout shape of the magazine to its purposeful printing techniques.
As a member-only benefit for The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, NACS Magazine is the chief advocacy publication for the $547.8 billion convenience and fuel retailing industry. From a prosperous advertising opportunity standpoint, NACS represents more than 1,820 retail companies operating in more than in 100,000 stores internationally.
While this niche association magazine has a large reach, it’s the only association of its kind to reach this specific target market on a monthly publishing schedule. NACS Magazine doesn’t just report on industry news, but also creates news from its thought-provoking articles to its annual trade show, the NACS Show.
“NACS Magazine is an excellent and efficient way for Hershey to communicate with customers,” said Tom Joyce, vice president of customer and industry affairs, The Hershey Company. “Our trade ads are developed to introduce new products and capabilities designed to grow sales and distribution, and NACS Magazine helps us accomplish that objective.”
Leveraging its niche publishing strategy, NACS Magazine is able to compete for and acquire ad placements from large corporations including Hershey, Miller Coors and Coca Cola. Perhaps an anomaly for associations, but an example that reflects the value of a niche publication focus and engaged readership.
Find Your Niche
While we may be swamped by 10,000 messages a day, niche publications allow your audience to disconnect and discover.
Niche publishing provides opportunities for readers to seek out your publication as a go-to industry expert. Three ways to build credibility with your audience as an expert in your niche include:
- Demonstrating passion for the topic
- Developing a consistent publishing schedule
- Welcoming open conversations about the niche with your audience
Understanding your audience is important to your publication’s success. Know what questions they are asking and how you can deliver answers in a way that communicates informed knowledge and authenticity.
Settling for the status quo is one way to lose your publication in the content shuffle. Your publishing strategy should never have an end destination—if you re-structure, re-strategize and reinvigorate your publication to complement your audiences evolving interests, your readers will view you as a trustworthy industry expert.