They may appear old school, but magazines still provide valuable industry information; typically you will see current industry news, upcoming events and conferences, and advertisements from industry suppliers.
My google efforts usually take me on a journey of tangents, following leads that all too frequently take me to places that I had no intention of researching; hobbies and other interests usually take over my good intentioned search criteria. I cannot recall a search session that didn’t end up displaying the latest FAIL videos on You Tube.
Although entertaining, it probably is not a good use of time, especially when this time has been dedicated to business related searches and research.
If you cannot stay tuned on the task at hand, then using google to start your research may prove to be unproductive. Trade magazines, on the other hand, stay on topic. There are few opportunities to wander away from the work dedicated task. Sure, some additional online research might be warranted as a result of the magazine content, but it is not the primary research tool at this time. In fact, magazine content should be used to identify new industry/business opportunities which can then be the primary search criteria of your online searches. Trade magazines can also offer valuable validation information to ensure that you are currently on track or travelling ahead of the bell curve.
Trade magazines, by their very nature, offer a curated industry related service which is used to focus the research. The relatively low counter price of a trade magazine is only possible because of the industry related advertisers. Unlike online ads; you know the pop ups that you have instructed your anti-virus software to block, or the online popups that you automatically cancel even before they have displayed their content, trade magazine ads are designed to offer a product or service that is relevant to the magazine content. Magazine advertisers generally perform quite a bit of research before spending the large sums to advertise because they want to ensure that the reader fits directly into their target market. Correspondingly of course, advertisers in trade magazines offer goods and services that will be of benefit to your own operations. At the very least they will be prompt points for additional research.
My top 5 tips for trade magazine initiated research is:
1. Note industry trends 2. Announcements of new products or services 3. Reader surveys (see what others in your industry say and do) 4. Business validation 5. Visit magazine advertisers if they offer a product or service that can be useful
Trade magazines should be used as a source of information and to prompt you to take some further business related actions. My advice is dedicate some time periodically for this research. Use a highlighter or post-it notes to flag items that you need to investigate further.