Pump magazine cover collage 10 years

By Lauren Cella, Managing Editor, Pump Industry Magazine

The idea of launching a pump magazine first came about sometime before 2012 when Publisher, Chris Bland, noticed that pumps were the common theme that he kept coming across in the various titles he had worked on in industries like water, oil and gas, energy, and infrastructure. Whatever the industry, people needed pumps and used pumps. However, he also noticed there was a communication gap in the industry as there was no single channel that people could use to get information about the pump industry or to connect with pump end users. Thus the idea for a dedicated magazine about Australia’s pump industry was born.

With an idea now in mind, Chris started researching the industry and soon came across the PIA, and reaching out to them was one of the first steps he made to bring the magazine to fruition.

the PIA were wary and uncertain at first about whether the partnership could work, when Chris explained the concept and that there was no charge to them, they became pretty enthusiastic about it. Since then, Pump Industry Magazine has been the official media partner of the PIA, the only association established to support and promote pump businesses operating in Australia.

Once the PIA was on board, Chris got in touch with its members, and over the course of a month in July 2012, he tried to call pretty much all of them to pick their brains. A lot were uncertain at the start about whether the concept would work, but the key message that kept coming up that would be required for the magazine’s success, was to ensure that the magazine was sent to and was read by the end users and specifiers of pumps across all industries.

The PIA membership itself consists mainly of pump manufacturers and suppliers, so Chris had to look more broadly to build the audience. Armed with the advice of the members – who told him that he needed reliability engineers, rotating equipment engineers, hydraulic systems engineers, hydraulic consultants, building managers and maintenance supervisors reading the magazine – he started researching every mine, oil and gas plant, power plant, council, wastewater treatment plant, major building and even every irrigation store in the country.

At these places, he found the relevant people that should be reading the magazine, and built the audience from there. Chris worked on not just getting the magazine to the right people, but also on ensuring they actually read it by investing in creating content that was relevant to them. He spoke to a representative sample of these people to find the key issues they were interested in and made sure that the content of the magazine was based around their interests – not just the interests of the pump suppliers.

One of the common themes that came up in these conversations was the fact these people had often studied pumps a long time ago, and now dealt with pumps along with a wide variety of other pieces of equipment in their daily lives. As a result, they were keen to see content centred around technical basics and other primers, to help refresh their knowledge. From day one, this has always been a key theme of the magazine, and the daily tracking and research we conduct into reader behaviour shows that this content has always been, and continues to be, among the most popular featured content in our magazine and website.

The first issue went out to an audience of over 2,600 and has continued to climb since then to a print readership of over 8,500. The digital magazine also launched in 2012, building a strong audience with the newsletter and website from day one. Now, in 2022, we reach at least 48,100 people each quarter across our print, digital and social channels.

In 2014 the PIA celebrated 50 years and Chris thought it a joy to be able to publish a supplement in the magazine covering its history.

After its publication, he was surprised and pleased to hear from Bob Pullen, who let Chris know that he had actually published his own Pump Journal in 1968. He was kind enough to share some original editions and Chris was amazed by the quality of the production, particularly given the lack of technological resources that we take for granted today in the world of magazine production.

As the business grew, Laura Harvey was brought on board in 2014 and took over the reins as Managing Editor of Pump Industry Magazine. Laura continued to foster and expand upon the strong relationships Chris had built, solidifying the magazine as the go-to source of news for the Australian pump industry. Over the time Laura was editing the magazine, the range of features for the magazine grew, including the launch of the annual State of the Industry survey and the Industry Capability Guide.

The annual State of the Industry survey and article provides the industry insights into what has affected the industry over the previous 12 months and what the industry expects to have an impact over the coming 12 months based on the experiences of pump businesses. It also looks at the opportunities and challenges ahead, and gives those working in the industry a view of how the industry is changing.

In 2015 the first Pump Industry Capability Guide was published; an annual publication and integrated website to help better inform pump end users about the offerings of Australia’s many innovative pump suppliers. It has continued to grow, with the digital version of the guide becoming increasingly integrated with the Pump Industry website, solidifying it as the key reference tool for end users.

We’ve also expanded our offerings and now act as a full marketing agency for a number of companies in the industry, helping manage their marketing and create unique content, custom newsletters, social campaigns, websites and more. I joined the Pump Industry team in 2016 and took over from Laura as Editor in 2017, continuing to build the brand.

In recognition of the PIA and the industry’s long history, we created a feature called ‘Pump Pioneer’ that appeared in a number of editions. Over the years we’ve spoken to life members and other industry stalwarts about their life and their career in pumps. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and writing about industry legends like Bob Moore and Antony Grage in our early editions – both of whom have sadly since passed away – as well as many others.

We’ve also done interviews with younger pump professionals under a feature titled ‘Industry Voices’, showing their career path and discussing challenges facing the industry. The last few years have been particularly challenging for the industry with the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, amongst other challenges, but as an essential service and with a focus by state and federal governments to spend on infrastructure, the industry has worked to overcome these.

The PIA in particular did a lot of work during the early days of the pandemic to have the industry recognised as an essential service to allow it to work even during the most strict lockdowns. Over the past ten years, Monkey Media has launched a number of new magazines in areas like utilities, infrastructure, energy, council and mining, but as our first publication, Pump Industry always holds a special place in our hearts. I want to thank all of the PIA members and executives for their support over the past ten years, in particular Keith Sanders, Ron Astall, John Inkster and Kevin Wilson. Here’s to another ten and many more beyond!

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