Recently, a colleague and I were discussing the state of publishing over a glass of Pinot Grigio. It wasn’t just a conversation about what sells. Instead, it touched on what matters. In the age of information overload, readers have lots of choices about what they read, how they read, when they read, and where they read. There are equally as many choices for sources, authors, and advertisers.
Yes, cosmetic surgeons and skin care experts are widely quoted in high-volume, glossy consumer publications and tabloids. There’s no doubt that these pubs reach their target audience (often while they are at the checkout line at the food store). They also have the cool factor, as quoted doctors’ names are usually tied to celebrities who they may or may not have treated. While I’ve never seen the research, having your name thisclose to Kim Kardashian’s definitely must increase the impression that you are “in the know.” This exposure puts your name on the lips of prospective patients, but your practice may not be geographically desirable, so it likely won’t boost your conversion ratio.
Another type of publication, the peer-reviewed journal, adds value in the form of respect. It offers up the hard-won opportunity to present a fully vetted technique, case, or practice-changing observation to your colleagues. Getting something published in a leading journal is prestigious and worthwhile, but it isn’t easy.
In my (not necessarily) humble opinion, trade straddles both of these lines—which is why it remains relevant. Trades still matter for many trades. A feature or clinical article in a medical trade will be seen by your colleagues, and often your patients, as these magazines are often found in waiting rooms. Publishing or contributing to a reputable B2B brand—one with an impressive editorial advisory board and meaty, cutting-edge content—is a great way to reach your peers. Here, a surgeon can share clinical pearls, challenging cases, or views on the changing healthcare landscape with colleagues in a timely manner in trades. It isn’t a competition. I cover the journals and would be at a loss of content without them, and I read the glossies (tabloids, too).
Trades, however, target an unfragmented audience—and therein lies their intrinsic value. Your colleagues—past, present, or future—read these magazines for ideas, intel, and industry insights. For industry, trades present the opportunity to reach the same targeted audience. Yes, many products and procedures are out of the gate even before the official launch date—and by out of the gate, that I mean on ?The Dr Oz Show and in the consumer magazines—but others are not, nor are some of the tools needed to be able to offer the latest and greatest to patients.
For sure, different types of publications bring different things to different tables. Trades are myopic in both their vision and reach—and this is why they still and will always matter.