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Publishers: Creating a global expert community that powers events

This is an excerpt from our free-to-download report, Specialist Media Innovators in Europe

Specialist media businesses are thriving by serving consumer and professional communities around topics of interest. It is a bustling, agile sector with creator-led, consumer and B2B media. 

We interviewed six leaders from our featured companies to dig into their strategy, uncover best practices and learn about their future plans.

Video recordings of all interviews are available, and here are the highlights from the first in the series.

#1: B2B Marketing

The pandemic’s impact on live events forced publisher B2B Marketing to rethink its business model. Focus is now on senior B2B marketers in global organisations, and their proposition is rooted in peer best practice. Propolis is their all-year-round expert community, for enterprise members only, where all content is published. Live events are open to individual delegates, and their programmes are deeply integrated with the Propolis community.

For example, content themes are scheduled on the community and members and industry experts hold discussions to identify topics which then feed into the event programme. Propolis has a cadre of experts on retainer who are on hand all year round to answer member questions, and also moderate event sessions. Propolis can also be used to test out new session formats that are then transferred to live events.

To encourage member contributions and engagement, the experts are expected to start discussions, as well as answer questions, and a dedicated community manager draws members attention to relevant discussions. The home page has been redesigned to feature popular discussions more prominently, to alert members. The editorial team can base articles on live discussions and use the community to get feedback on new stories. Focus is largely on peer best practice, and sponsor and agency involvement has been tightly controlled, to avoid sales pitches.

With a corporate membership drawn from global organisations, B2B marketing has had to expand its coverage of North America and Asia as well as UK and Europe. Specific live events in the US, plus recruiting US experts, has helped add more relevant content. Member organisations have also been supportive in making introductions to their international colleagues.

“Propolis provides experts, and a community, and content discussions, so we can be more experimental at our in person events, running workshops. People will turn up to sessions because they are based on genuine peer learning.”

Richard O’Connor, MD

Specialist media, be that creator-, consumer, or B2B-led, is a proven resilient segment of media. What’s more, they continue to innovate as they look for new and better ways to serve their special interest communities.

All on the shortlist answered an email questionnaire and six were interviewed on zoom. We have included a short profile of each business in this report. Here we have the full interview recordings with top innovators included in our Mx3 Leadership report on innovation and trends in specialist media in Europe.

To watch in-depth interviews with six specialist media leaders, click below to view the recordings.

Click here to watch the interviews

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In the report, the best of Europe’s specialist media innovators share their experiences and strategies for growing revenues, including best practices, revenue sources, and investment priorities.

The “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” report is free and available to download here.