Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May Media Month--Business Weeklies

PR Week recently had an article in praise of city business journals as a media relations outlet. Indeed, I tell students in my media relations classes to be sure to familiarize themselves with these publications in whatever community they end up landing a job.

Here in West Michigan we are fortunate to have three publications dedicated to covering our neck of the woods. The Grand Rapids Business Journal, MiBiz, and Business Review are based on Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Kalamazoo, respectively. But they have offices and reporters throughout the region and have a multi-county coverage area that is broader than the dailies within the region. (Business Review is a Booth Newspaper property, part of the same family as the Grand Rapids Press, Muskegon Chronicle, and Kalamazoo Gazette in the region).

Yes, I know, there is also Business Update. But theirs is mostly a press release distribution service, so I'll focus on the other three.

While PR Week, which has an international audience, seemed to see the local focus of business journals as a downside, it actually is a plus if you are seeking a local audience.

For one, these publications and their reporters know the region. They have as much of a vested interest in this geographic region as do the organizations we represent. And their reporters tend to really know the region, which translates into more thoughtful and comprehensive stories with a level of detail you wouldn't usually get in a national outlet.

Not only do the business weeklies cover separate stories well, their overall coverage runs deep. They make up for the long lead time with special sections and overviews of entire industries. They also consider business in the broadest terms, covering government and nonprofit sectors as well.

While the weeklies have circulations and reach that is less than the dailies or TV audiences, they offer a select and sought after readership of key leaders and influentials. So we can reach a smaller but more significant audience via these business weeklies. This narrower audience is the reason why the business weeklies can cover such a wide array of topics with specificity whereas local dailies--with a broader more general audience--only cover business stories of more general interest.

Finally, the business weeklies are not limited to specific cities, as PR Week implies. Most organizations do not limit their activities to city limits or typical daily newspaper readership areas. The business weeklies cover news from that regional perspective. It's important for folks in Grand Rapids to know what's happening in the business community on the lakeshore, and vice versa.

When I was in college and worked on the student paper, which came out three times a week, we used to joke that we started out as a tri-weekly, then slowed down to a try-weekly, and by our senior years we were reduced to a try-weakly. But I'd have to say the West Michigan business weeklies are a source of strength in the regional media landscape.

No comments: