B2B Digital Publishing Ideas From TABPI's Twitterfest

By Photo: Katy TomasuloKaty Tomasulo
President, ASBPE Washington, D.C. Chapter

On Oct. 21 and 22, TABPI (Trade, Association, and Business Publications International) hosted its first Twitterfest, in which B2B journalists posted Tweets with ideas, questions, and answers about print and digital publishing. Each poster utilized the #tabpi hashtag so that participants and followers could see each tweet.

It was the first time I’d participated in one of these, and I found it quite rewarding — not only was I able to gain new ideas, it felt great to share some of my own thoughts with the larger B2B world. The event was a huge success, and event organizer (and TABPI president) Paul Heney is planning to host future ’fests (the next one is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 8-9; check back to www.tabpi.org for confirmation and details).

Below are some of the ideas posted by participants. To view the whole feed, including B2B questions-and-answers, search #tabpi on Twitter.
  • Post a Twitpic of the cover of your upcoming issue to get readers excited about it. (@MattySoccio)
  • If you’re short on space in print, run an expanded version online. (@ADVANCEforNPs)
  • Use clear headlines when Tweeting. If readers are following hundreds of others, only the most compelling headlines will catch their attention. (@ktom17)
  • If you want to "get" social media, start your own blog. You'll get sent to company president's office — not to get fired, but for your ideas. (@b2beditor)
  • Repurpose archive material with a modern twist to produce niche industry features, e.g., cruising then and now. (@natalia_thomson)
  • Pay attention to page-view stats; they can reveal which e-newsletter subject lines work, the best time of day to send a newsletter, etc. (@ktom17)

    Some e-news analysis systems actually will do an A/B-group split on subject lines for a message, sending bulk to "winner." In other words, 10% of mailings go out with 1 subject line, 10% with another. Remaining 80% to subject line with highest open rate. (@ScotsmanGuideEd)

  • Get to know the gurus in your subject area well enough and one of them may decide to blog for you. (@lmclaughlin)
  • We conduct a subscriber salary survey, and it's always a big hit; it’s very useful to our readers in salary negotiation. (@ADVANCEforNPs)
  • Searchable databases are a great, interactive way to make hard-to-find info accessible to readers. (@jtlongandco)
  • Don't just ask readers to follow you on Twitter, ask them to engage in a topic with other readers. (@ADVANCEforNPs)
  • Judge award programs. It's a great way to get ideas from magazines outside your industry you wouldn't see otherwise. (@ktom17)

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome magazine and Building Products magazine at Hanley Wood Business Media in Washington, D.C.

Labels: , ,


Facebook Mania

By Elena Gontar

When I first heard of Facebook I thought it was a social network website to communicate with friends and connect with long lost acquaintances. I thought it would be primarily for people who want to reach out to those they know. And apparently that was the idea a few years ago, when Facebook was first invented. It was initially restricted to college and high school kids to chat and swap photos with friends. But all that changed a couple of years later, when more and more people joined Facebook.

But lately I was surprised to find out that mid- and large-size businesses use Facebook to promote their organizations and/or their company’s missions and goals. It’s amazing. I find it incredible that Facebook not only helps people find each other, but also assists companies in advancing their businesses. I’ve been on a few job interviews in the last few months and Facebook has been mentioned almost every time.

I personally joined Facebook a few months ago to network with my former co-workers and to find out what happened to people I haven’t heard from in years. Facebook keeps you up to date with your friends/colleagues and you don’t have to go far to connect with someone. Some people are more open than others. While some might basically keep a journal on Facebook for everyone to read, others don’t display much information about themselves. For instance, I personally don’t write much about myself on Facebook – I’ve always been sort of a private person – but I just love to read what others write.

So, if you are not on Facebook yet, what are you waiting for? Join now. I think it’s addictive. And if you are looking for a job, like me, you’ll find it that almost every business is on Facebook . So, you’d better be prepared and explore it now…

Elena Gontar is a real estate writer in Brooklyn. She can be reached at elenagontar@gmail.com.

Labels: , , ,


6 Ideas to Boost Revenue, Readership, or Recognition

Photo: Katy TomasuloBy Katy Tomasulo
President, ASBPE Washington, D.C. Chapter

During the ASBPE National Editorial Conference in July, I hosted a workshop that offered attendees 19 ideas for combating the down economy. These ideas — all of which have been implemented at B2B publications across the country — resulted in some sort of payback, whether through revenue, readership, or recognition, or a combination of the three. Here are six of my favorites:

1. Revenue: Remodeling Capitalizes on Current Events
When the stimulus package was introduced in February, Remodeling magazine editors immediately realized that the implications — and opportunities — for their readers were huge. The staff scrapped their plans, already in progress, for the June 2009 issue and produced a comprehensive guide to the stimulus package that explained to readers what it was and how they could take advantage of it. And not only were readers in need, manufacturers were eager to advertise so that it was their energy-efficient building products that were chosen for stimulus-dollar spending.
Result: The issue generated a 25%-30% bump in revenue for that month. It also spawned additional and future unbudgeted revenue generators in the form of a sister Web site, a Webinar, a virtual conference, and a pavilion at the magazine’s trade show.

2. Revenue and Readership: Hotel World Network Capitalizes on Down Economy
In response to the recession, Hotel World Network, which includes Hotel & Motel Management and Hotel Design magazines, launched an online campaign “100 Days to Fight the Recession,” a daily e-newsletter that gave readers actionable tips and advice on how to survive the tough market. In addition to the email, the content is housed on the Web in free downloadable PDFs that can be easily saved, printed, and shared. The content also is supported by forums that discuss each day’s topics.
Result: The company brought in a large chunk of unbudgeted revenue and received a fantastic response from readers.

3. Recognition: Engineering News Record Puts Itself in Its Readers’ Shoes
To investigate the state of crane safety at a time when accidents have been occurring too often, Engineering News-Record’s Tudor Van Hampton put himself in his readers’ place: He trained for and took a national certification course in crane safety. Only by experiencing the process could Van Hampton truly know what it was like, share the experience with readers, and bring attention to the importance of safety and training.
Result: ENR earned multiple accolades, including a Neal Award and an ASBPE award.

4. Revenue: Michigan Municipal League’s Business Alliance Program
The editor of Michigan Municipal Review created the “Municipal League Business Alliance Program.” Members (suppliers to local government) joined in exchange for benefits that boost their marketing visibility in the state, including discounted advertising rates and exhibit space. Once created, the program requires little effort or expense to administer.
Result: $150,000 in immediate annual revenue; encouraged further advertising and exhibit space purchasing

5. Readership, Revenue: Digital Editions
If you have a limited print circ, digital editions can expand your reach exponentially by being emailed to a larger subscription base not part of the print run. They also can provide a value-add to market to your print advertisers. Digital editions can require little effort on the part of the edit staff (the print product is simply converted by an outside vendor) or they can be updated with audio, video, and other rich media to enhance the experience even further. Utilizing digital editions also is an alternative, as well as less expensive and less risky, option for special supplements outside the regular print schedule.

6. Revenue: Journal of Light Construction Books
The Journal of Light Construction, a trade journal offering hands-on, in-depth coverage of building processes and techniques, capitalized on its trusted content by repackaging 20 years of how-to construction articles into a comprehensive book, “The JLC Field Guide,” and interactive CD-ROM. The book is filled with how-to illustrations, instructions, diagrams, and charts. It was so popular, a second volume was published.
Result: The book cost $300,000 to produce, but generated $750,000 in its first year alone.

Katy Tomasulo is deputy editor for EcoHome magazine, Building Products magazine, and ebuild.com at Hanley Wood Business Media in Washington, D.C.

Labels: , , ,


Print and Digital: What's the Best Mix?

By Maureen Alley

Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that are the most innovative. The magazine industry has been trying to figure out for some time how to manage digital opportunities with its print products. And with that, some magazines try too hard where others excel.

Last year, during my New Media and Technology graduate class, we discussed Esquire’s October 2008 cover. This cover was different than any cover before it. The cover had electronic ink – an image that flashed and scrolled. FOLIO: magazine also reported on the cover in July 2008. According to FOLIO:’s article, the battery for the electronic ink lasts for 90 days and the issue sold for $2 more than the normal cover price.

Esquire’s October 2008 cover literally combined print with digital. But, I’m not sure that’s what is meant when we say we want to complement print products with digital opportunities.

On the other hand, magazines like BtoB are successfully using print and digital opportunities in ways that take advantage of the opportunities available from each medium.

BtoB magazine has daily articles on its website that are original content written by the magazine’s staff. They aren’t wire articles that are simply pushed to its site automatically. This provides the magazine with original content and its readers with industry information from a source they trust.

Articles on its site are set up for reader comments creating a community for readers. By providing this function to your readers, you’re making them feel valuable and part of the conversation.

In addition, each article provides the opportunity for the reader to bookmark, share, and e-mail articles. A big part of online success is syndicating content. By not including these functions on each article, you’re ignoring a viral readership.

The magazine also has a very strong social media presence. By following BtoB on Twitter, followers get up-to-the minute breaking news. This also adds to the magazine’s syndication.

BtoB magazine is used simply as an example of the many magazines that are doing it right online. There are many more out there. And there are many magazines out there that have yet to provide online communities for their readers, viral sharing options, and original content instead of wire content.

Where do you stand in this mix?

Maureen Alley is managing editor for Website Magazine, a trade publication dedicated to Web professionals. She was formerly managing editor for Residential Design & Build magazine, a property of Cygnus Business Media. Alley graduated with a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and is currently attending Roosevelt University in Chicago for her Masters of Science in Journalism. She has been a member of ASBPE since 2006 and was a judge for the 2009 Azbee Awards program. She writes a blog at www.maureenalley.com about young journalists and new media. Contact her at malley13[at]gmail[dot]com.

Labels: , ,


Two-Day TABPI Twitterfest Oct. 20-21

Want to get advice from B2B editors around the world on how to help your publication through the economic downturn? Or how best to combine print and the web to serve your readers? Then participate in the first Trade, Association and Business Publications International Twitterfest Oct. 20 and 21, 2009.

The TABPI Twitterfest will be like an open chat room where B2B editors worldwide can talk about issues and ask questions.

You can participate in the way that suits you best:
  • Join Twitter and post Tweets on Oct. 20-21. These 140-character messages must contain the tag #tabpi so that other editors around the world can see your Tweets.

  • Point your browser to twitter.com/search?q=%23tabpi and watch what other editors worldwide are talking about.

  • After watching online what others are saying, you can join in on the conversation at any time. While TABPI is encouraging editors to talk about two main topics — the economy and the web — you’re free to discuss anything of interest to our profession.
TABPI president Paul Heney says the main goal of TABPI Twitterfest is to help editors around the globe to exchange ideas, but a very important secondary goal is “to give B2B editors an opportunity to try out Twitter in a friendly, nonthreatening environment — to see how it works and to determine if there is anything that might translate to their publication's industry. As journalists, we should be willing to step outside our comfort zones and see what the readers of tomorrow are doing.”

ASBPE will be participating in the Twitterfest. Please join us on Oct. 20-21!

Labels: , ,


Happy Columbus Day

Photo: Tonie AuerBy Tonie Auer
DFW Chapter President

In honor of Columbus Day, the ASBPE National Blog is taking a much-deserved day off. But, in honor of this historic day that most of us know very little about, I thought I'd do a bit of research.

According to the History Channel, the first recorded celebration honoring the discovery of America by Europeans took place on Oct. 12, 1792, in New York City. The event, which celebrated the 300th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World, was organized by The Society of St. Tammany (also known as the Columbian Order). San Francisco's Italian community held its first Columbus Day celebration in 1869. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison urged citizens to participate in the the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus' first voyage. It was during this event that the Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy, was recited publically for the first time.

Colorado was the first state to observe the holiday in 1905. In 1937, President Roosevelt proclaimed Oct. 12 as "Columbus Day" and in 1971, President Nixon declared the second Monday of October a national holiday.

So, there you go. Am I the only one who didn't know about the holiday's significance in regard to the Pledge of Allegiance? That is pretty fascinating. Enjoy the holiday and we'll resume our blog posts on Thursday Oct. 15.



With Gourmet Gone, You Know There’s a Recession

By Thomas Temin

If General Motors and Lehman Brothers can bite the dust, why not Gourmet magazine, for so many decades the Bible of chefs and foodies alike? A Wall Street Journal story on Oct. 6 noted that being reviewed in Gourmet could make a chef’s reputation.

Also out the door is Modern Bride, for a while some years ago part of the Cahners stable. The late Cele Lalli was the editor then, and at the editors’ meetings – back when they still had chief editors gatherings in nice resorts or conference centers – she was always a joy to hang out with. Maybe it was the fact she had earlier been editor of Amazing Stories that made Cele so cool and unpretentious.

In those days, Modern Bride might have been chasing Brides – which Conde Nast will continue publishing – but there was advertising enough that they could both have 600-page issues. Those of us in the electronics and engineering magazines would be gaga at the amount of advertising carried in such a seemingly frivolous topic as wedding planning. Cele used to say that readers would continue their subscriptions for six months or a year after getting married.

But even the bosses at Conde Nast must have been dreaming to think that they could publish both Brides and Modern Bride (and Elegant Bride to boot) and sell some differentiating story to advertisers. The acquisition of competitors under a single roof – has there ever been a successful stunt like that where both survive long term? Certainly not in a market where, as in so many markets, ad pages are dropping 25 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent.

Conde, like other publishers, is focusing ever more resources on digital products. In a market like bridal fashion, planning and accessories, the digital possibilities are rich, for sure. Brides.com has all sorts of online toys, such as the fun, if somewhat useless, Create a Cake to full-scale financial and party planning tools for the Big Day. Where else but in a bridal blog might you find out about a new necktie for “hubby” from Thomas Pink that incorporates an i-Pod pocket?

But I suspect this is a market where there will always be at least one dominant print product. Print is still the best way to display the gorgeous wedding gowns and resort destinations, and where a reader can fantasize about her wedding day while lying across the bed instead of sitting at a desk.

Thomas R. Temin is a consultant with 30 years of publishing experience in media and information technology products and services. He is co-host of “The Federal Drive” with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, a weekday morning news and talk program on Federal News Radio AM 1050 in Washington D.C. You can see his weekly column on the op-ed page at www.federalnewsradio.com and contact him at tom.temin@gmail.com.

Labels: , ,


Got a Social Media Policy?

Photo: Steven RollBy Steven Roll
ASBPE Past President

The Wall Street Journal has one, the New York Times has one, Bloomberg has one. What about your publication? Does your publication have a social media policy?

Like many B2B publications, chances are your publication has been dipping its toes in the social-media ocean, but hasn’t jumped in yet. Maybe you’ve set up a Twitter account or a fanpage on Facebook, but nothing more.

Even if your publication is still in the exploratory stage, it’s probably a good idea to adopt a social media policy.

After making a few informal inquiries last week to some tech-savvy editors, I was somewhat surprised at how many publications still haven’t adopted a policy for how writers and editors should conduct themselves when communicating in a professional capacity on social media. Many of the people I spoke with said they were in the process of developing one. (Of course, the reason I was asking is because I'm drafting a policy for my company.)

Maybe editors are reluctant to adopt a formal policy because they feel social media initiatives are something that should be built from the “ground up.” After all, it’s mostly the younger people who have fully embraced it. Perhaps adopting a formal policy might somehow inhibit the free flow of conversation on Twitter etc. Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg were criticized for adopting overly rigid policies.

It seems like the danger of off-message or inappropriate communications outweigh the awkwardness of adopting a policy concerning a medium many of us don’t fully understand yet. But it seems like it would be a lot easier to change an misguided policy, than to try to somehow compensate for an offensive Tweet or misguided blog post.

The social media policy I’m working on has two levels. The first level is a set of broad principles that outline some basic rules of conduct. Here are a few:
  • be honest and transparent;
  • coordinate your messages with your publication;
  • add value;
  • blog about what you know;
  • if you make a mistake, admit it, and correct it; and
  • be diplomatic and professional — especially with the people who are behaving rudely or with whom you disagree.
The second level reads more like a style guide. It will include more specific information such as:
  • a sample blog post;
  • what a typical Tweet should look like; and
  • best practices for sharing a blog post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
To be sure, the policy my company ends up adopting is likely to look entirely different than my conception of it. But even if that turns out to be the case, I think it's a worthwhile exercise to start establishing some guidelines. Otherwise, how else will you be able to identify inappropriate conduct. Like old age, having a policy to point to sure beats the alternative.

Through a colleague, I found the following gem at the Online Database of Social Media Policies: Chris Boudreaux, author of the upcoming book Social Media Governance, has assembled 82 such policies on the book’s website. From companies to charities to military organizations, it’s a treasure trove for those struggling with social media guidelines.
Source: Social Media Governance (via Mashable)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Digital Symposium:Practical Online Strategies and Tactics for the B2B Editor

Digital Symposium: Practical online strategies and tactics for the B2B editor
Friday, Nov. 6, 2009
Hyatt Regency
San Francisco Airport

You can’t afford to stop learning, especially now. High value. Affordable. Always from ASBPE.

Included in your registration fee:
  • One full day of interactive sessions designed with B2B editors in mind.
  • Real-world solutions from experienced experts.
  • 5 sessions, 11 speakers.
  • Network, share advice with other B2B editors.
  • Digital Azbees winners slideshow and luncheon. See the best of the best.
  • Affordable registration compared to other industry events.
  • Convenient location by the San Francisco airport.
Among the sessions are:
The symposium also includes the Digital Azbee Awards luncheon.

Symposium fees

Member: $295; nonmember: $395. Includes Azbee Awards luncheon; luncheon NOT sold separately.

Discount: If three or more attend from the same publication, a 10-percent discount applies. Additionally, if you want to join ASBPE ($75 for regular membership; $100 for affiliate membership — for vendors; $50 for freelancers, you get the member price.
Register online at www.asbpe.org/conf/reg200911/

Labels: ,