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Magazines & newspapers can now audit trade show circulation

In order to pad dwindling circulation numbers, Verified Audit Circulation has modified its guidelines and is now allowing publishers to include distribution numbers from events and trade shows in their overall circulation figures. Previously, publications distributed at such events were considered nonqualified circulation, depending on a publication’s frequency.

Now it doesn’t matter what the publication’s frequency is as long as publishers track their distribution, noted Tara Taylor, an auditor with Verified Audit Circulation. “Many publications use trade shows or special events as a way to increase brand recognition, with the change in Verified Audit guidelines they are now able to use this method to show advertisers when and how they are attracting new readership,” she said. According to a press release, the audit report will show the average qualified trade show distribution along with a list of events, locations and copies distributed. From daily newspapers to B-to-B monthlies, the change is something Verified’s clients have been asking for, explained Taylor.

This is especially helpful to their B-to-B clients because many of them host annual trade shows, noted Taylor. “We are very excited about Verified’s qualification of trade show distribution,” said Professional Mariner publisher Alex Agnew in a press release. “With professional mariners often being out at sea, trade shows are another way for us to reach our audience. Our advertisers want, and value this type of exposure.” But it doesn’t only impact trade publications. For New Orleans’ alternative weekly OffBeat, which often has booths at jazz festivals, it allows them to also bulk up their circulation numbers with the extra copies being distributed at these events.

The overall increase in distribution numbers can vary depending on how many events the publication attends and how many copies are distributed, noted Taylor. In Professional Mariner’s case, there was an increase of 5 percent. The potential is much larger for a publication that attends events every month or large expos, she said.

“Being able to provide audited tradeshow circulation numbers, in addition to auditing digital subscriptions, will be very important to publishers and is a healthy breakthrough,” said Rebecca Bredholt, managing editor of magazine content at Vocus Media Research Group. “As more print publications compete with Web content, having this in their arsenal should help bring in more advertising. Advertising and PR previously done in trade show publications was valuable, but it was ‘off the books’ so to speak. Anything like this that legitimizes these especially larger than normal circulation numbers should benefit all parties involved.”

–Katrina M. Mendolera


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