Monday, June 26, 2006

ASBPE's new book: Journalism that matters

Note: This post originally apeared on the ASBPE Boston Blog ("ASBPE book highlights hard-hitting reporting from B2B mags").

ASBPE will launch its second book,* Journalism that Matters: How B2B Editors Change the Industries They Cover, July 21st at the its two-day National Editorial Conference in Chicago.

The book looks in depth at how editors of business-to-business publications drive change in the industries they cover, with plenty of examples showing how of some great reporting was done. For instance:

There are 17 stories in the book, all by ASBPE members or from publications that have won Azbee or Tabbie awards.

For the launch, ASBPE immediate past president Rob Freedman, co-editor of the book with ASBPE D.C.'s Steven Roll, will discuss the book's origins and goals. Tom Freeman, editor of Legal Business, will recount the story behind the magzine's reporting on the U.K. court system.

Investigative reporting will also be the topic of another conference session. Chicago Tribune business reporter Mark Skertic will be the speaker at the session "Covering Public Companies: Digging Up the Numbers and Information That Matter." Skertic, a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, will tell where to dig for information, including hidden information in SEC filings.

*ASBPE's first book was Best Practices of the Business Press, published in 2004.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Editor's Digest (#7)

Press releases are more popular than reported news, says study from InformationWeek
Another article that makes one proud to be in trade publishing. Paul Conley gives his take in
Bad news about B2B news. And you get his thoughts on the industry's dependence on editing press releases instead of providing original news.

And for those of you who are tired of hearing about blogging and why your publication should be doing it, don't read the rest of this post. For the rest of you, the blogging world awaits.

Blogging for beginners series from ProBlogger
There are lots of posts here on conceiving and building a blog.

The giant blogging terms glossary from Quick Online Tips
Learn what exactly why something called "ping" is so important to keep your RSS readers in the know.

Blogger software comparison chart from Online Journalism Review
I believe the ASBPE chapters will be encouraged to use Blogger. The Boston chapter also has it's blog up and running. Martha Spizziri is the Boston blog administrator. She also handles the national ASBPE website. For those of you going to the national ASBPE conference, you can hear her talk about the blogging challenge on Friday.

How to get traffic for your blog from Seth Godin's Blog
A blogging to-do list to get more visitors to your blog.

Comparison of services to create online polls from Smiley Cat
Of course the one poll service I have used, PollMonkey, isn't included in this list, probably because it offers broader uses for standard websites. (But it receives my recommendation none the less.) This post reviews Vizu, FreeBlogPoll, BlogPoll, SnapPoll, Quimble, iMediaPOLL, dPolls and a few others. (Sorry, gang, I just got tired of linking to all those poll sites.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Meeting recap: Customize for success

Increase revenues with custom publications
By Jody Shee

The best way to build your company’s business-to-business bottom line is to probe your advertisers for the messages they want to communicate to their audience and suggest and develop creative ways for them to do that.

Forward-thinking publishing companies have formed a custom communications or special projects department and added staff to manage the newsletters, inserts, guides, seminars, teleconferences, electronic products and whatnot.

“Do anything; go anywhere,” is the motto for the custom communications department at Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications in Lenexa, Kan., says editor Sally Goldenbaum. She was one of two panelists at the recent Kansas City ASBPE chapter meeting “Increasing Profits with Custom Publications.”

Several years ago, Advanstar formed a special projects division, accomplishing eight custom projects the first year compared to the 90 projects it expects to complete by the end of this year. “The advertisers are looking for ways to spread their message beyond advertising. So that is our thrust,” Goldenbaum says.

Then and now
In the beginning custom projects amounted to guides, small newsletters, magazine inserts, multisponsored pieces and roundtable and symposium proceedings.

Advanstar has helped its advertisers expand into larger newsletters and educational pieces. The company is even handling advertising agency type projects like diecuts and product information sheets. Goldenbaum believes the future of custom publishing holds more teleconferences, meetings, interactive CDs, web-related projects and electronic magazines and newsletters.

She notes that one of the biggest unsolved challenges with custom projects is keeping educational pieces clean from sponsor hype. “Readers don’t want to read an ad, but something to educate,” she says, adding, “But advertisers want more of a say in what we do. … It’s getting harder and harder.”

Custom process
As you develop custom projects, you must crystallize the best ways to extract the potential, manage the workload, interact with the client and how much to charge.

Rather than hire extra sales staff, the Lenexa office of Vance Publishing encourages the regular sales staff through commissions to further look into the needs of their accounts, says DJ Bell, custom marketing manager.

In one example, an animal health advertiser was facing increased pressure from activists about the use of animal antibiotics. “They needed a message countering the misinformation being discussed,” Bell says.

In his contact with the customer, the sales rep uncovered the need, offered the company’s help and said she would get back with them. “In the past, we would have just said, ‘Run an ad,’ or worse, ‘Good luck with that.’ Instead we had the internal resources to develop a project and find a solution to the need,” Bell says.

The ultimate outcome: For the past five years, Vance has produced a quarterly “For the Record” newsletter, which is inserted in several of the magazines. “It’s all coordinated by our special projects/custom marketing group, but delivered to the client by the sales rep. We do not take the place of the rep,” Bell says.

To maintain editorial integrity, the company uses freelancers rather than staff to write the copy and often uses freelance graphic artists since the design staff is not large enough to handle it.
The custom project manager is responsible for scheduling and meeting deadlines, he says.

But there’s another way. Advanstar has two sales reps and several editors who serve as project managers dedicated to special projects, Goldenbaum says. The sales reps learn the projects and they know what the company can do. The editors do some of the writing and assign the rest to qualified experts. All of the project managers meet together to discuss cover art and review final pages.

To determine how much to charge for the projects, both Vance and Advanstar begin with the calculated hard costs. Then Advanstar uses a formula and multiplies by a figure determined by the sales staff and publisher to cover the time it takes to produce the project. “We don’t track our hours. Shorter pieces don’t cost that much, but if a meeting is attached, it costs more,” Goldenbaum says.

No uncertain terms
The Custom Publishing Council has a nice rambling definition of custom publishing. DJ Bell, custom marketing manager for the Vance Publishing in the Lenexa, Kan., office, offered a condensed definition at the Kansas City ASBPE workshop session “Increasing Profits with Custom Publications.”

“Custom publishing refers to the delivery of editorial content from a sponsoring company to a target audience. Whether delivered in print, electronically or as a live event, a custom media program provides valuable information that moves the perceptions and behavior of the audience in a desired direction.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

June meeting: Increasing profits with custom publications

Sally Goldenbaum, editor of the custom communications division of Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications

Jackie Nigro, growth and development manager for Vance Publishing

Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Location: Private room at Cinzetti’s Restaurant, 7201 W. 91st St. (west of 91st and Metcalf)

Cost: $20 for members, $25 for non-members

RSVP: To reserve your spot for the luncheon, e-mail or call Amy Fischbach, KC ASBPE chapter president, at 913-967-1807 by Monday, June 12.

We hope to see you there!

2006 KC ASBPE-MAP Magazine Boot Camp

Mark your calendars for the second annual Magazine Boot Camp.

The half-day workshop will take place during the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Brookridge Country Club.

The speaker lineup so far includes Don Ranly, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Ron Johnson, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at Kansas State University. Other speakers and topics will be announced soon.

Don’t miss your opportunity to brush up on your skills and network with other area B2B publishing professionals.

ASBPE KC board member wins ASBPE Young Leaders Scholarship

Spring Suptic, associate editor for Broadcast Engineering and KC ASBPE board member, is one of five winners nationwide of a 2006 Young Leaders Scholarship from ASBPE.

Congratulations Spring!

The latest ASBPE newsletter

I just got my copy of the ASBPE May/June newsletter. While I'll have to wait until my deadline is over to sit down a read it all, I wanted to make sure you all took the time to look through it as well.

On page two you'll find "Bylaws to live by" by Portia Stewart, national vice president (and former KC chapter president and founder) and editor of Firstline.