There is so much information online that sometimes you don't know where to start when it comes to doing research. Whether that is research on your business or perhaps a particular area of your business, I've often found that I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information on the internet.
One source of great research which comes in handy, which often gets ignored, is magazine research. You might be wondering how on earth research in a magazine is useful with all this technology at hand, however magazines themselves do a lot of research for you, so why not take advantage of that?
Piggy back research
A magazine has a limited amount of space for each of their issues for both advertising and editorial content. Since there is this limited space, that means that every page of a magazine is valuable content space that must either be valuable content or paid for advertising to generate revenue for the magazine.
This one fact gives us some valuable information already. From the editors point of view, they must decide what content goes into each issue to create the best information and news to their prospective audiences. You can be sure that most magazines have a plethora of articles to choose from to publish, but only a certain pile will make it to the newsstands.
Their own research teams will work tirelessly to determine which topics are current and require covering, making full sure that the content they eventually choose will draw audiences to purchase the magazine. So this is first part of how to piggy back research. If you are looking at a particular topic in your industry and you are unsure as to what discussions and news is the latest in your industry, just go look at the magazines and what they are covering. You can be sure to find the most topical discussions in there.
The other tell tale research which you can do from magazines is to look at who is advertising in them. From this you can tell a number of things like:
- Who is advertising - this is an indication as to which companies in your market are doing well from their business since print advertising is extremely expensive when you compare it to online marketing and other means of advertising. Any company willing to spend money on print advertising will tell you who to watch.
- What advertisers are advertising - anyone who spends money on expensive print advertising is likely to have done some extensive research into what kind of a campaign to run. Analysing what other companies are advertising will give you more information about what could be working in your market space.
- How is the advert constructed - again more valuable information into what your market is doing in terms of marketing strategy and campaigns. Let's say a company is offering a free sample in their advertising campaign, it might tell you that they are testing a new product or reaction to a product that they are either developing or looking to launch. There are many clues to what is happening at a company just by analysing their advertising patterns. This is especially useful for gauging your competition.
- Repeated adverts - if you start seeing repeated adverts from one month to the next in a particular magazine, you can be sure that this advert is doing well and hence the advertiser has continued their spend on this expensive print advert.
Tried and tested
You have to get that magazines have been around for a long time, and a proven medium for transmitted certain messages to your customers via branding, advertising and good PR.
In a world where an online site can have hundreds and thousands of pages and articles adorned with banner advertising on the sides, a magazine must be more discerning, selective and costly in order to attract the best content and best advertisers.
After all, a magazine doesn't want an advertiser to run only once in a magazine, they want repeat business, so it is in their best interests to ensure that the advertising campaigns they help run for a company are geared correctly for their audience.
A lot more care and attention, and research is done, and this is the valuable information you can gleam from analysing a magazine in your industry sector.