5 reasons why small businesses should consider B2B media

George Oliver

Dec 17


min read

This is a version of an article which first appeared in the 1284 monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here.

It’s not particularly controversial to suggest that the news industry continues to face significant challenges.

For one thing, there’s the ‘existential threat’ posed by Big Tech.

And recently there’s been hundreds of journalism jobs put at risk at Reach.

So it was heartening to see some good news recently in the shape of Business Leader.

A millionaire has bought the magazine, aiming to use it to serve “the forgotten middle” of firms between startups and blue-chips.

Richard Harpin, who made his money through HomeServe, that there’s a shortage of help and support for businesses in the 25-250 employee range.

He plans to address that through Business Leader, which has 38,000 subscribers and runs events and conferences for entrepreneurs.

Harpin aims to add podcasts (and maintain the print book), saying: “I went to WH Smith and was horrified to see there weren’t many business magazines and most of them were American.

“We really need a great British business magazine that encourages entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.”

So far, so good.

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The challenge, of course, lies in the economics of being a publisher in 2023.

B2B media, like news, has been impacted by macro pressures including the convergence of globalised digital technology, changing customer behaviour, and evolving business models.

It’s why Harpin’s interview touches on a plan to build ‘a peer-to-peer community of founders’ through the Business Leader brand.

Such is the modern way, with B2B publications using podcast, events, awards, and more to carve out a market based on niche (think industry magazines), shared interest (think membership magazines), or location (think general, region-based titles).

Innovative publications have moved away from being purely information providers to becoming platforms that actively facilitate industry conversations and connections through investing in developing their brand platforms and forums.

This presents an opportunity for businesses to communicate what they do - but the shrewd marketers among you will be already thinking about the most appropriate titles to focus on to influence your own particular audience.

The benefit of B2B brands

We believe that featuring in B2B magazines and websites offers good value for businesses.

As described above, content (executed effectively) is read through the eyes of a concentrated and segmented audience.

What’s more, that audience is often broken down by regional patches (it will be interesting to see how the nationally-focussed Business Leader model addresses this).

There are several other reasons why B2B offers value:

  • Credibility and trust: Trade publications are regarded as reliable sources of information. However, distinction does need to be drawn between editorial and commercial pages;
  • Brand awareness and reputation: Regular appearances in industry publications help build brand awareness. It keeps your company front-of-mind for potential customers, while giving you the opportunity to position as industry thought leader;
  • Digital reach: Digital versions of B2B magazines often have wide and strong SEO value. This can support your keyword strategy for organic ranking. There is the added benefit of social media mentions from the magazine’s brand channels. However, you will need to understand the title’s editorial policy relating to backlinks;
  • Maximising content: PR articles in B2B magazines and websites can be repurposed in various ways. There’s the obvious value of sharing on social media, but also consider the internal comms value of staff newsletters and more. It all makes content work harder - and makes your campaigns more efficient;
  • Measurable impact: Through digital platforms, businesses can gain quantifiable metrics such as views, shares, and engagement levels. 1284 uses industry-leading tools such as SEMrush and Signal AI to gather data which helps you understand the impact of your PR as you shape future strategies.

In conclusion, the PR value of appearing in B2B magazines and websites feels very worthy of consideration within your comms strategy.

As platforms, these magazines, websites, and networks offer awareness in target audience segments, enhance credibility, build brand reputation, leverage the wide reach of digital platforms, and (with the right tools) offer measurable outputs.

And as entrepreneurs, chartered PR professionals, and journalists, we at 1284 also salute Harpin for spotting an opportunity - and investing in the future of business news publishing.

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