Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Meeting recap: Put the web to work

Effective ways to build your Internet presence
By Jody Shee

Your budget may be tight, and your editors may groan at the thought of adding online responsibilities, but once they adjust, it’s not very challenging, and it’s necessary for a publication to thrive.

The younger generation automatically turns to the Internet for information. When they become the next business leaders, publications can’t afford not to have a strong presence on the web. Online product accounts for only 10 percent of The Kansas City Star’s revenues, but it makes up 90 percent of the daily newspaper’s growth, says Rick Babson, online business editor. He was one of two panelists at the recent Kansas City chapter meeting of the ASBPE on “Putting the web to work.”

Though he feels like The Star is in its infancy with the web, Babson has plans for the paper to compete with television news programs as reporters are equipped with video cameras to capture stories and interviews for the web. The Star has built a small room in which to record video programs and eventually will produce a daily morning business report for its website. It has entered into an agreement with a local television station and former television news anchor to go out and shoot stories for the television station, which also will appear on The Star’s site, he says.

Content Ideas
The following are other ways the panelists suggest building Web content, many of which can be used to draw attention to your print product:
  1. Podcasts work better for some topics than for others. Babson says he’s found that technology and entertainment Podcasts are more popular than general business topics.
  2. Blogs are a good way to connect with readers and drive traffic to print editions, Babson says.
  3. A breaking news section is important for publications that serve as industry news leaders. Babson notes that you can include an initial few paragraphs about the story and refer readers to the next print edition for more details. Then, in the print edition, tell readers they can find updates on your website.
  4. Lengthy documents and reports that you can’t include in print are perfect for your website, Babson says. You can refer to these documents in your print edition. These could include complete meeting reports or legal papers.
  5. Electronic newsletters are popular and allow you to track results, but make sure you do more with your newsletters than provide links to stories. “You need to have a plan. You need to deliver editorial product. ‘Talk’ to people on a daily basis, don’t just say, ‘Here it is. Go get it,’” says Susan Robinson, director of content management for Sosland Publishing, Kansas City, Mo.
  6. Offer digital replicas of your print publications. “Weekly magazines are victims of the post office,” Robinson says, adding that international readers will appreciate receiving the digital version in a timely manner. Plus, you can track how it is read. Find a vendor that helps with digital replicas.
  7. Sell access to research reports, including charts and graphs. “People love that to drop into PowerPoint presentations. We make PowerPoint graphics available,” Robinson says.
  8. Make photo galleries with captions. Robinson notes that readers love it, and it’s a way for you to use the many photos you can’t include in print. The gallery adds a human element to technical publications.
  9. Offer article archives and sell access to nonsubscribers who are doing research, Robinson suggests.

Make it work
Before you go crazy with online ideas, Robinson offers these suggestions, many learned through trial and error.
  • Serve your readers, not the technology. “Using every bell and whistle on the website is not sustainable,” she says. Remember that you are an information provider first. Think of the best way to serve your readers through the various media. Content, not “being cool,” is king.
  • Have a plan. “ ‘If you build it, they will come’ does not work in our business,” Robinson says. To build revenues with your website, you have to know where you want to go with it.
  • Develop an editorial calendar for your website. And have it go along with your print edition using much of the same content.
  • Repackage some of your content for the Web. For example, compile statistics or profiles.
  • Cross-promote your print and Web content to draw traffic to both. It’s not enough to mention your website on a banner or in a house ad in your print product. Include cross references in as many stories as possible.

Dallas/Fort Worth chapter blog started

The Dallas/Fort Worth chapter now has it's own blog. Check it out at http://asbpedfw.blogspot.com.

In my post announcing the Washington, D.C., blog a few weeks ago, I talked about the migration of the chapter pages on the national ASBPE website to blogs, which will be maintained and updated by chapter board members. So far, Kansas City; Boston; Washington, D.C.; and now Dallas/Fort Worth have taken on the blogging challenge. The next chapter slated to launch a blog: The Twin Cities.

Monday, August 28, 2006

KC to host national AWC conference

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California; Karen Elliott House, former Dow Jones senior vice president and Pulitzer Prize winner; John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center and retired publisher of the Nashville Tennesseean; Anita Parran, associate state director for Missouri AARP; and many others are coming to Kansas City in September for the national professional conference of the Association for Women in Communications.

The annual professional conference will be Sept. 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo.

This national event features workshops offering skills to help communicators and communications entrepreneurs, sessions to keep you up to date on technology, networking opportunities and discussions on the First Amendment.

For more information and to register, visit www.womcom.org and click on the conference logo. Or phone conference co-chair Pris Chansky at (816) 392-3642, e-mail evybdyneeds@hotmail.com.

(And to learn more about the Kansas City chapter of the AWC, visit http://www.kcwomcom.org/about/about.htm.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Affordable magazine critique service launched

Note: This post originally appeared on the ASBPE Boston Blog ("TABPI Launches Magazine Critique Service; Submissions Due Sept. 22")

ASBPE's international counterpart, Trade, Association, and Business Publications International (TABPI) has launched an interesting service--the first of its kind that I've heard of. It's called the Magazine Critique Service (MCS), and was conceived of as a medium-priced option for smaller (or just limited-budget) magazines that may not be able afford outside consultants to help them carry out a full redesign.

At a cost of $575, the Standard Critique gets your publication examined by three reviewers, who'll provide specific feedback on the magazine's editorial and design. TABPI gives a report to the editor, who can thoroughly review the results with the editorial and design staff. Sample reports are here (80KB PDF) and here (44KB PDF).

TABPI is also offering a Premium Critique service at $975. With this option, one of the three reviewers is a TABPI-approved editorial consultant, who'll conduct a one-hour conference call with you and your staff. You'll also get a written report.

The TABPI web site has a list of some of the reviewers, reproduced here:
Be aware: There's a deadline. To make the program feasible, it will be offered for only a few months of each year. This year's submissions must be received on or about Sept. 22, 2006. TABPI says publications should get their reports about 8 to 10 weeks after receipt of the submission.

Complete information about the MCS, including answers to frequently asked questions, a submission form, and links to the sample critiques, are available on the TABPI website.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Be a judge for the 2007 Azbees

The ASBPE is recruiting B2B professionals to be judges of the 2007 ASBPE Awards of Excellence (Azbees). Interested? Fill out this form and e-mail this form to info@asbpe.org, or fax it to (630) 510-4501 by August 31, 2006.

Judging requirements
  • Must be currently working (includes freelancers) or retired from a B2B publication--minimum of five years' experience in B2B.
  • Must be willing to judge 10 to 300 entries, depending on the number of entries in your assigned category.
  • Must be willing to commit the time necessary to judge the categories appropriately.
  • Must be willing to judge your category during a one-month period between March and April 2007.
  • Must be willing to judge entries objectively.
  • Most categories are judged by at least two people. Discussion with second judge is recommended, but must be available to review with second judge if asked.
  • Must be willing to write a short description (five sentences max) of the positive elements of your top five entries in each circulation category (over 80,000, under 80,000).
  • Every entry must be evaluated and given a score.
  • To avoid conflicts of interest, no person may judge a category in which his or her magazine has entered.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August meeting: Putting the Web to work

With advertising revenues down, is your publication looking for ways to increase profits through online projects? The Kansas City chapter of the American Society of Business Publication Editors invites you to attend our Aug. 24 meeting, where you'll learn some great ideas on how to create, manage and promote successful Web sites, podcasts, Webcasts and other online projects.

Rick Babson, assistant business editor for The Kansas City Star
Sue Robinson, director of content management for Sosland Publishing

Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Date: Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006

Location: Private room at JJs Restaurant, 910 West 48th St. The restaurant is located just off of the Country Club Plaza. For further directions, click here. Attendees are encouraged to park in the lot behind JJs.

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

RSVP: To reserve your spot for the luncheon, e-mail ASBPEkc+RSVP@gmail.com or call Amy Fischbach, KC ASBPE chapter president, at 913-967-1807 by Monday, Aug. 21.

We hope to see you there!

Sign up for ASBPEkc updates

If you want to stay updated on what's going on with the Kansas City ASBPE chapter, you can sign up at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=38036. When you subscribe to FeedBlitz, you will receive e-mail updates anytime there is a new post on our Kansas City chapter blog.

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 Thursday, Oct. 19.

The speaker lineup
The early bird rate will be $70 for MAP and ASBPE members and $85 for non-members.

The venue and 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.

The newest blog on the ASBPE block

Congratulations to the Washington, D.C., chapter on its recently launched blog.

For almost a year, the ASBPE has been experimenting with blogging at the chapter level. Martha Spizzri, the national web editor and the vice president of the Boston chapter, has been working hard to get the ball rolling. Martha started a blog for her chapter and asked me to start a blog for the Kansas City chapter.

We've spent our time experimenting with posting styles and playing with the templates. And now Steve Roll, D.C. chapter president, is joining us in the blogosphere.

Visually, the D.C. blog features a blend of elements from the Boston and K.C. blogs. Please take a look and let us know what you think. These blogs are here to keep you informed about what's going on with your chapter as well as to provide you with a great resource with tips on how to do your job better.

ASBPE Boston blog
ASBPE Washingtion, D.C., blog
I highly recommend checking out the D.C. meeting recaps.
Let me know what you think of the ASBPEkc blog by sending an email to asbpekc@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Conference coverage: Digital publising

Digital magazines: Do they do more than just save circulation money?

Rebecca Fannin, editor of Digital Magazine News
Russell Haderer, vice president of international operations for BPA Worldwide
and an editor from Advertising Age

Summary: As postal costs continue to rise, digital editions save costs and allow immediate delivery to international subscribers. The BPA formed a task force of publishers and vendors to look at digital magazines and in December 2001, the BPA began reporting digital with print and auditing digital publications. In 2005, 20 consumer magazines reported digital magazines, and 200 B2B magazines had digital publications. Rebecca Fannin said digital magazines are easy to archive and retrieve and are available anywhere and anyplace. She said by sending out an enhanced PDF, it’s possible to instantly update text, and the cost is much lower than publishing a print publication.

Survey results on digital publications
  • Reader had a 10 to 1 preference in sharing articles in digital rather than print.
  • There was a 5 to 1 subscription renewal preference for digital publications.
  • 46 percent of readers decreased their use of or didn’t use the print edition.
  • The most popular age group of readers is 45-49 years old.
  • When asked how many of the last four issues that they read, 61.2 percent read the digital edition and 63 percent read the print publication. About 20 percent of the readers spent an hour reading the digital edition and 27 percent spent an hour reading the print issue.
Case study on Advertising Age
  • Makes full contents available online each Sunday
  • Attracts new readers who don’t want to read the print issue and exposes an 18-year-old franchise to a new audience.
  • 5,000 subscribers with 8.5 percent international readers
  • When they did a survey, 57 percent said they liked that they could access it anytime, 42 percent enjoyed the earlier delivery, 51 percent wanted to search the contents online and 47 percent were looking to access back issues. About 79 percent were satisfied with the product.
  • In 2005, the magazine had 8,389 unique visitors, 43 percent single views and more than 52,000 page views. When it started to include video in its digital publication, it got 20 percent more return visitors and 63 percent more page views.

Position wanted: Experienced intern looking for assistant editor position

Allison Sebolt graduated in May from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism with an emphasis in magazine editing. During her last semester, she was an editor at Vox magazine, a weekly city magazine that comes out with the Columbia Missourian. This summer she has been an editorial intern at Prism Business Media working on Electrical Wholesaling magazine. Her clips from these experiences demonstrate an ability to edit stories for both substantive and copyediting issues and an ability to report and write for a niche business audience.

Allison is currently looking for a full-time job at a publication in the Kansas City area. She enjoys writing and editing and would be interested in any type of position that involves either or both. If you are interested, please contact Allison via e-mail at allison.sebolt@gmail.com or by phone at 816-405-7786.

Links to the Job Bank (which can always be found on the navigation bar along the right side of this blog):

Monday, August 07, 2006

Conference coverage: Magazines of the Year

Magazine of the Year case studies

CSO: winner in the under 80,000 category
CSO, which goes out to chief security officers and has 27,000 print subscribers, launched in September 2002.

CSO’s secrets to success:
  • A strong staff—The magazine has excellent writers, reporters, editors and designers, says the chief editor. CSO has three designers, who spend time presenting the information graphically. He said it’s important to compensate employees well if a B2B publication wants to attract good people. The magazine has a twice-a-year review process and asks the employees what is energizing for them as writers and editors. CSO has eight editors, and four of them have been working together for the past five years.
  • Constant improvement—The magazine staff looks at covers for the past six months to make sure it’s not stuck in a rut and has idea meetings every two weeks.
  • The idea puddleCSO maintains a communal Word file, and the editors add ideas to it.
  • Readers are the sources—When interviewing CSOs for the magazine, reporters ask them what else is going on in their world and what their thoughts are on the magazine. They also try to talk to sources outside the security industry like psychology or finance professionals.
  • Include longer articlesCSO published an 8,000-word feature because the author was able to find a great story and then weave valuable lessons into it. The magazine also includes in-depth charts and graphs.
  • The surprise element—If you don’t surprise each other, you won’t surprise your readers.

Computerworld: winner in the over 80,000 category.
It has a weekly circulation with 180,050 print subscribers and 1.3 million online.

Computerworld’s tips:
  • Writers and editors are professional journalists, not professional technologists.
  • The publishing company has a strong corporate culture and recognizes people as its number one asset.
  • The magazine allows for flexibility in assignments based on specific talents.
  • Computerworld holds vendors accountable.
  • The publication conducts many editorial surveys and polls the attendees at trade shows.
  • The magazine tries not to break news in print but rather analyze the news after the fact.
  • Honors 100 CIOs each year with the Premier 100.
  • Never cuts back on the travel budget or loses sight of making funds available.
  • Interacts with readers by having them send in their funny stories. The ones that are chosen get T-shirts.
  • Its award-winning design team is big on practical takeaways.
  • As a result of its editorial excellence, one of its readers said the magazine knows what he is thinking. When he has something on his mind, he said he opens up the magazine, and Computerworld has a story about it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Conference coverage: Covers

Making covers noticed, read and useful

Speakers: Robert Ayers and John Johanek, Publication Design

Summary: Since 1986, Robert and John have designed 100 publications. Here is their four-point approach to award-winning design.
  1. Simplicity—Use clean images, pull out the color scheme of the image and use restraint when it comes to color.
  2. Strength—Use tight cropping and bold colors and don’t overlap your logo with a cover image unless your magazine is well established.
  3. Sizzle—Designers can suggest mood through typography. Cover lines need to be benefit oriented.
  4. Sophistication—You need to make sure all your cover lines are the same font and type size and use simplicity in fonts.
Other tips
  • What works well on a newsstand works well with B2B magazines .
  • Use buzz words in the cover lines.
  • The concept shouldn’t undermine the message.
  • Logos should explain what the magazine is all about and have a strong presence.
  • Logos should be on the left rather than the right.
  • If possible, try not to use skyboxes or any other elements that push the logo further down on the page.
  • Consider placing the mailing label on the back cover to allow for more creative design on the front cover.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Conference coverage: Convergence

Marketing myopia, journalism-style

Speaker: Rance Crain, president of Crain Communications and editor-in-chief of Advertising Age

Summary: Rance compared a magazine’s website to a worldwide TV station and encouraged publications to start up a TV program on their website and film reporters interviewing sources. Reporters need to become better marketers because they understand what their readers want. B2B magazines also need to understand that it’s possible to make as much money on the web as they do in print by organizing the sales force.