It may be hard to believe people cannot get published in today’s digital world. After all, it’s just a matter of writing, uploading to the internet, and voilà—post it. But there’s published, and there’s published as in having your work appear in a respected magazine, journal, media outlet, or a book. There are many different reasons people and businesses want the latter, including that appearing in vetted media outlets is universally recognized as an editorial endorsement or seal of approval.
Helping businesses, leaders, experts, professionals, and scientists get published in the traditional sense in the right places is what launched Trade Press Services 26 years ago. And despite the transformation of the publishing industry, the company has survived the explosion of the internet and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in 1995, Gerri Knilans’s marketing consulting partner pitched her the general concept of providing a service that would get their B2B clients published. He was a visionary who recognized the value of a program like that could offer but didn’t know how to make it happen. After several attempts on his own, the dream didn’t take hold until Gerri put her serial entrepreneurship to work and landed two clients in less than a month. With the belief that company leaders and industry moguls could become recognized, published thought leaders even if they didn’t have the time or journalistic writing skills to make it happen, is how Trade Press Services began.
“When we started Trade Press Services, public relations firms handled the bulk of ghostwriting activity,” Gerri says, “but they simply wrote the pieces without a guarantee of having their clients’ articles published. Our program changed that reality. We saw an unmet need and seized the opportunity to fill it.”
The demise of print
Initially, getting published meant industry experts’ work would appear in glossy, colorful print magazines, and journals. With the upsurge of the internet and the downturn many years later from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, many print trade journals gradually stopped production. If they stayed in business, they switched to providing content exclusively via digital and online platforms. In fact, for more than a decade, print magazine revenue has declined while revenue for digital outlets has continued to rise. The pandemic made matters even worse. A struggling economy meant fewer advertisers were spending money, causing additional pressroom cutbacks. As a result of these changes, companies and their thought leaders, while still recognizing the importance of getting published, weren’t sure if the new online media platforms were as “good” as their print predecessors. Getting on board with new formats required a shift in thinking.
Thanks to today’s increasingly competitive business environment and the sheer volume of information available online, today’s buyers—especially those in B2B companies—are seeking even more data before making a purchasing decision. As a result, the demand for industry and trade information remains strong, and if anything, has increased. According to a recent study, B2B buyers are leaning more heavily on various sources to educate themselves and engage with brands in their industries. “Now, perhaps more than ever, we can assure clients that publishing their work is essential to their success,” Gerri says.
Minding the gap
Bottom line, many in the workforce are hungry for access to their peers’ knowledge to make better, quicker decisions, find solutions, or put their finger on the pulse of current and future trends. B2B and even B2C marketers want to increase visibility and credibility in their marketplaces. Equally important, industry trade magazines want to provide their readers with valuable content that will help them improve efficiency and effectiveness on the job. It’s a win-win for all three parties: publications, readers, and contributors.
Here’s the disconnect. Industry titans, C-levels and their reports, and consultants worldwide have a lot to share and little time. Add to that, the wealth of experience and expertise may cause some potential contributors to be so immersed in their topic that their words don’t come together in a user-friendly, non-jargon-heavy way. They may not have the skills to create a well-written, newsworthy article that delivers real-world value instead of information that is self-serving or overly promotional. “Add to that, even experts with good writing skills do not always understand the ins and outs of pitching their ideas and content to editors,” Gerri notes, “and limited resources in pandemic-weakened marketing departments can contribute to editorial outreach falling to the bottom of the pile.”
Once an article is written and published, marketers need to expand their outreach by posting on social media, sharing on LinkedIn, featuring content on the company website, or highlighting it in email campaigns. “Publishing content is simply not a one-and-done activity,” Gerri says, as she encourages her clients to post across multiple platforms—both traditional and digital—in a variety of formats, repurposed and repeated judiciously. She advises clients to engage with stakeholders frequently wherever they hang out. All this takes time and effort.
How their system works
Trade Press Services developed a “recipe” for getting clients published in the outlets their target audiences are reading. It starts with an idea for an article, blog, white paper, or other forms of content. Gerri helps subject matter experts (SMEs) bring their knowledge to life through in-depth interviews and conversations about industry trends, customer pain points, innovative solutions, and more.
Trade Press Services uses a proprietary process to generate confirmed editorial placements. Then they match one of their writers with the SME. Writers and clients work together to produce thought provoking, innovative, and sometimes controversial articles that fit the editorial requirements and the client’s purpose. Written drafts go through a collaborative editing process to make sure the piece represents the quality and accuracy the client and publisher expect. Then Trade Press Services submits the article to the editor and makes sure it gets published.
Thousands of articles later and hundreds of companies since, the original concept has proven successful because experts get bylined articles published, producing increased visibility, credibility, and name recognition. At the same time, the publication gets the quality content their advertisers and readers expect.
Writing on complex subjects
While it might be difficult to believe a non-specialist can understand complex business, science, technology products, or service offerings as well as the SME does, Gerri and her team of professional writers have proven it is possible to craft good content without firsthand knowledge of the topic. From architecture to bitcoin, cybersecurity to engineering, medicine and pharmaceuticals, to manufacturing and supply chains, Trade Press Services has transformed hundreds of experts’ knowledge into easily digested content.
In recent years, the company developed a niche for individuals who seek EB-1A immigration visas in order to work and stay in the United States. Per the United States Citizen Immigration Services (USCIS), these immigrants must write articles to demonstrate their extraordinary ability in an field in which our country needs their unique skill sets.
Whatever the topic, getting it in writing sounds pretty simple, but the added benefit stems from the company’s publishing guarantee. If Trade Press Services isn’t successful in publishing the client’s piece, they return the client’s investment. “In 26 years,” Gerri says, “we’ve never had to refund anyone’s money because we have a 100-percent success rate and always get our clients’ articles published.”
Adopting a strategic perspective
Over the years, Gerri and her team have observed that, like individuals, companies have blind spots, and they struggle with competing priorities. “Especially when it comes to marketing, their energies can get depleted or they can go on overload,” Gerri says.
Sometimes the company’s highest value comes from bringing in an outsider’s perspective and extra manpower to help clients achieve their marketing goals. Toward this end, Gerri encourages clients to rethink their marketing messages, question the marketing channels they use, and increase the frequency of contact they have with prospects and customers.
Trade Press Services started as a written word provider, but the company has transformed into a multifaceted purveyor of marketing communication strategies. “Our clients see the best results when we help them develop and implement extensive, robust marketing programs that get results,” Gerri says. “No matter how much the marketplace has changed, getting published is a good place to start.”