New Blog Chairman

By Maureen Alley

I am excited to join ASBPE as the new blog chairman - taking over for Tonie Auer. Tonie has driven this blog to where it is today. She has recruited industry heavy-hitters to write on this space, and posted her own insights into the B2B world that are so valuable.

Staying up-to-date and current in the ever-changing world we live and work in is imperative for success. I hope to continue that here on ASBPE's blog, and provide the content that helps you learn and stay ahead of the curves needed to do your jobs better.

A little background on me: I have been in the B2B magazine publishing space since 2005, starting out as assistant editor for Residential Design & Build magazine (property of Cygnus Business Media). I moved up the ladder by learning new technologies, being a sponge, and keeping my nose to the grindstone. I left RD&B in 2009 as managing editor to accept a position as managing editor for Website Magazine. Sad to leave the RD&B group, but I knew WM would provide me with the opportunity to learn more about the Web industry than I could on my own.

In November, I resigned from Website Magazine to move back to Wisconsin. Since the move, I have been freelance editing and writing for various B2B magazines, the local paper, and am now editor for Woodland Management magazine.

I have a strong passion in good, quality content, the B2B magazine industry, and relying on each other to learn new ways of our jobs.

Please let me know if you'd like to contribute to this blog, or if you have any insight on topics we should be covering.

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Changing of the Guard

By Tonie Auer

Since our first blog post on Dec. 13, 2007, by former ASBPE President Steven Roll, to Maureen Alley's post about being productive, this blog has seen a lot. We've seen ups and downs in the economy, the election of a new president, the downfall of print journalism and the rise of the new media.

This has been a wonderful experience for me. Launching the ASBPE blog has been both exhilarating and challenging. Coming up with news you can use or insights into the business as well as giving you information that may make you smile or make you cry — all of it has been incredibly rewarding.

In October, I moved from freelance B2B writing and editing into a new role as the DFW reporter for, an all-digital outlet covering commercial real estate and all that goes with it. I credit much of my move into new media to ASBPE. I've learned much here, including that we have to evolve to stay relevant. With that in mind, I think the time is ripe to hand off the responsibilities to a fresh set of eyes with new ideas.

On Monday, our new Blog Chairwoman Maureen Alley will introduce herself and start her trek of providing you with content to improve your publication and your journalism skills.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog, read it and forwarded it to their colleagues. We do it for you.



Good News

By Tonie Auer

Finally, there is some good news to report. MinOnline shared it with us earlier this month when they told us that:

  • Trade publishers are starting to see the bottom of a marked decline in their print and events businesses, according to the latest figures from American Business Media.
  • In the first quarter of this year, ABM found that print revenues had declined only 6.4% to $1.8 billion.
  • On a month-by-month basis, revenue figures improved in the first quarter as well, indicating a positive trajectory. Print revenue in March 2010 was down only 3.1% compared to March 2009.
  • The digital side of the b2b business grew by 7.5% in Q1 2010.
You know what? I totally believe it. The company I work for,, is all digital with no print product whatsoever. And, we're growing. The company launched e-newsletters covering commercial real estate in Dallas/Fort Worth in October; Houston in December; Atlanta this spring; and L.A. about a month ago. There is no doubting that digital products are in demand by the evolving fast-paced society in which we live. The trick revolves around keeping up with the changes.

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Workday of the Near Future?

Photo: Steven RollBy Steven Roll

It seemed like only yesterday that we were adjusting the coverage of news pieces depending on whether it was for a daily, weekly, or monthly publication.

But as Meister Media Worldwide's Jim Sulecki pointed out in an ASBPE webinar a few weeks ago — 10 Trends That Can Make (or Break) Our Editorial Careers — the time frame for adding perspective or context is now marked in hours.

As daunting as this sounds, the proliferation of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn make reaching out to sources easier than ever. In fact, asking them to contribute in this manner has the added benefit of encouraging them to read the content and disseminate it.

This approach also helps to identify the issues and key sources for longer-term projects such as full-length magazine pieces.

Here is what Jim said the typical workday of a B2B journalist might look like in the near future:

8:00 a.m.: Check website metrics
8:15: Check e-mail
9:00: Come up with article lead
9:15: Tweet re: article lead formulated as question/trial balloon
9:30: First call on lead
10:15: Tweet summary
11:45: Short item for day's e-news website
11:50: Short news item with link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blog
1:00 p.m.: Second look at website metrics
1:15: Second call on lead
2:15: Begin scripting 2-3 minute audio feed
4:00: Begin formulating full-length magazine feature.

Steven Roll is senior state tax law editor of the Weekly State Tax Report, Multistate Tax Report and the Multistate Tax Portfolio series published by Arlington, Va.-based BNA Tax & Accounting. He was president of ASBPE from August 2007 through July 2009. Previously, he served as chapter president for ASBPE’s Washington, D.C., chapter from 2003-2007. He coedited Journalism That Matters, a book of case studies about B2B journalists whose stories triggered important changes within government or industry. The Multistate Tax Report has won ASBPE awards for newsletter general excellence and original research. Roll has been named as a finalist in BNA’s Editorial Excellence Award competition several times. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.

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Taking Advantage of Productivity

By Maureen Alley

I’ve been working as a freelancer from home for the last few months. Prior, I worked in the traditional cubical office space that many of you work in. I was used to the scheduled 8-to-5 work hours – with a few long days in there. But switching to working from home – on my schedule – has made for an interesting learning experience.

The number one thing I’ve learned: Take advantage of feeling productive when you have it. When I feel the urge to organize, I go with it. I organize like crazy. I don’t think, “I feel like organizing. But I’ll make coffee instead.” Nope. If I feel that urge to organize, you’ll find me organizing in the office or at my desk.

By taking advantage of these urges of productivity, I am much more productive than if I forced myself to be productive. Because I’m in the mode to do it.

I’ve also learned that I am much more productive in the mornings than I am in the afternoons. So I write articles, schedule interviews and do follow-ups in the mornings. Because I know it will be much harder to focus on these in the afternoons. Plus, because I am doing these in the morning rather than afternoons, I will get more accomplished than if I forced myself to do it when I didn’t have the productivity bug.

I’ve also noticed that I am much more productive on Mondays, and less so on Fridays. But my husband is the opposite. He’s much more productive on Fridays. He plans his schedule for big projects to happen on Fridays because he knows he’ll get more done. I, however, plan my projects for Mondays because I know that’s when I’ll get more accomplished.

All of this can translate to the office atmosphere. Pay attention to your moods. Pay attention to when you are most productive and take advantage of it. Like with writing, you can’t force it.

So, take a look at when you feel most productive – times of days, days of the week – and utilize them. You should feel you get more done by taking advantage of those times.

Maureen Alley is editor for Woodland Management magazine, and freelance writer/editor for other business-to-business publications. She was previously managing editor for Website Magazine and Residential Design & Build magazine. Alley has been an ASBPE member since 2006, and Azbee for the last two years. She can be reached at or visit

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A Writer, an Editor and a Publisher Walk into a Bar ...

No, I promise it isn't that kind of a joke. However, this is some journalism-related humor to make you smile today. Crash Blossoms features headlines gone wrong. Some recent favorites the site has posted:

Irish priest makes history by marrying own son
Texas border agent kills Mexican with marijuana
Robot helps stroke patients in Portland

Got any good ones to add?



Operating Your Online News Feed

By Maureen Alley

How do you operate your online news feed? Do you repurpose what you find in your Lexis-Nexis file? Please say no.

If you don’t write your own news for your site, tell me, why would someone click on that news piece? It falls under the same thought of newspapers only publishing wire pieces. Unique content makes your brand stronger – makes readers turn to you when they want the news. If the news found on your site can be found in a million other places, readers won’t have a reason to come to you for it.

By writing your own news, you become the expert – not the wire. Use the wire, online sources (Google Reader, Twitter, etc.) to find the news. Write about the news stories using online resources, talk to a few people if you need to enhance the story. And get them published – today! Remember this is news. Writing about a news story that is even a day old online will make it irrelevant.

I know some of you are going to read this and say, “Rewrite the news? I don’t have time for that. I have to do this, that, this and that.” And I say, so what? The publishing process is now daily – if not hourly. And the publishers that can adjust to this and manage these faster deadlines will provide the content readers want when they want it.

I went from being a managing editor for nine issue/year publication to managing editor for a monthly publication with daily online deadlines. I had to adjust from deadlines every four to six weeks, to deadlines every day. It’s not easy, but once you adjust, you’ll look back at your previous deadlines and think about all the stuff you could have accomplished in all that time you had before.

I’m sure there will be many B2B editors who disagree with me in this post, but this is the Web today. This is the future of online publishing success. People expect to read something new every day. Provide your readers with quality news from you – and do it every day.

Maureen Alley is editor for Woodland Management magazine, and freelance writer/editor for other business-to-business publications. She was previously managing editor for Website Magazine and Residential Design & Build magazine. Alley has been an ASBPE member since 2006, and Azbee judge for the last two years. She can be reached at, or visit

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Social Media Best Practices

We've heard a number of ideas on using social media as a tool. Here is some of what the SPJ has to say about some of the best social media practices:
1. Start with a plan: Before you sign up for a social site, come up with a game plan. You should be able to answer these questions: What do you want to accomplish? How much time do you have to spend on maintaining a social profile? …

2. Fill out your profile: Adding a photo or filling out your bio may seem basic, but it shows the community that you care. …

3. Be transparent: Interacting with folks on social sites can be a very personal experience. Users want to trust you – so make sure your profiles honestly portray who you are, what company you work for and why you’re on that site.

4. Be genuine: Stay true to who you are. People will want to connect with you if they feel you offer an authentic relationship. …

5. Stay active and commit time to building your profile: Creating a successful profile online can take weeks, if not months. During that time you’ll learn it’s important to maintain and update your profile every day. …

6. Listen and interact: For the most part, being active on social sites requires two things: participating and listening. Remember that your profile isn’t a one-sided conversation. …

7. Follow people back: It’s a general courtesy to follow those who friend you. …

8. Edit your posts: Become familiar with the editing options each site offers. On Twitter you can determine how your Tweet reads; but did you also know that you can edit the headline, description and photo on a link posted in Facebook or a link submitted to Digg? …

9. Track metrics: If you’re not sure how much of an impact you’re making, check your metrics. This could be as easy as setting up an account with, a link shortening service. …

10. Mistakes happen: We all make mistakes online, but it’s important to learn from them and move on. If a message does go out that’s incorrect or inappropriate, take a moment to correct that mistake or apologize. …
Note: post edited 6/14/10