CHICAGO -- On March 1, CONTRACTOR Magazine’s Twitter page (twitter.com/contractormag) hit 17,000 followers. We, the editorial staff, thought that milestone made for a good opportunity not just to thank our followers, but to talk to all our readers about our expanded digital offerings, and how the world of business-to-business publishing is changing.
The phrase that’s been making headlines is: “Print is dead.” We disagree. For those readers who prefer our ink-and-paper product, the print edition of CONTRACTOR isn’t going anywhere. Indeed, the majority of our revenue still comes from our print edition.
But the fact is — and this holds true for all business-to-business publishers, not just us — the real growth over the past eight years has been in digital. And this has nothing to do with our editorial product, the news and analysis, features and columnists you’ve (hopefully) come to rely on to help run your business and better understand a rapidly evolving industry. After all, we don’t have two separate editorial staffs, one for print and one for digital.
The real reason is the new era of wireless connectivity we all live in. For more and more of CONTRACTOR’s readers, laptops, tablet computers and smartphones are a part of their day-to-day lives. They are essential tools for running their businesses as well as managing their downtime.
The Internet is with them at home, at the office, on the go and at the job site. And if that is their preferred channel to what CONTRACTOR has to offer, then we owe it to them (and to ourselves) to deliver via that channel.
Our online home is our website, contractormag.com. Through it we can publish daily, even hourly, instead of just monthly. Online, we aren’t limited by column length or number of pages, meaning we can cover a topic with as much depth, in as much detail as we think it deserves.
To continue the discussion about how the Internet is changing the way business is done, go to our new Plumbing Talk forum.
All our back issues, all our related articles — going back more than a decade — are at a reader’s fingertips, only a click or a search away. Dynamic photo galleries and videos make for a more visually engaging experience.
But for us the most valuable part of the digital medium is the conversations we get to have with our readers. For us, all media is social media. Every article we put on contractormag.com has a comments section. Every “tweet” on our Twitter page, every post to our Facebook page can spark a discussion. And with our new Plumbing Talk forum (www.contractormag.com/forum) our readers can initiate and engage in conversations with experts and industry professionals from around the country.
That engagement is what will build a better, more useful publication. These are exciting times, both for us and for the industry that’s been our beat since 1954. We urge you to share your voice, your perspectives, opinions and insights, as we move forward together.