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Connect.

Sharing Knowledge. Forging Partnerships. The quarterly newsletter of Network Media Partners, Inc.

Best practice for digital pubs Digital magazines do have a place in association communications strategy...it’s just a matter of finding the right fit By Jen Smith and Carrie Hartin As association leaders, you’re always looking for the best way to reach your members. There seem to be as many types of media for delivering your content as there are types of content to share. We know that some content is best delivered online, and some best delivered by your magazine…it’s all in the way it reaches the reader. But when it comes to digital publications, what’s the best approach? How can this new medium be incorporated appropriately into your communications and membership strategies? And how can it be used to further grow revenue— especially now—as opposed to replacing traditional revenue-generating pieces? We’ve watched digital magazines come in to the marketplace and, most recently, grab the attention of the association world. This strange hybrid not-quite-onlinebut-not-quite-print piece has had many of us scratching our heads, wondering how it would benefit the association and its members without being a gimmicky, overused and overrated “bell and whistle”. Additionally, some association leaders see the relatively low cost of a digital publication and think they’ve found a way to cut the larger line item of their member publication. At first glance, what’s not to like about a digital publication? Lower costs and easier production and circulation (after you’ve made the print pages of course) make this option seem like a no-brainer. But it’s important to understand the ramifications of replacing a print publication with digital when it comes to advertising revenue. Moving from all print to all digital is not an effective

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solution—and puts you at risk of losing advertisers and members. Here we’ll share some ideas on how to best use a digital publication while retaining the best vehicles for advertising dollars. Free content for prospective members That’s right. We said free content. Many associations are struggling with the need to attract new members and are faced with a new generation of workers who want more from an association. Plainly said, this new generation of workers (those professionals you need to attract as

Using a digital version of your magazine is a great step in sharing knowledge. members) do not want to pay for content. And why should they, in our world of Google and open source. You’ll need to gain the trust of this generation by proving you can provide leadership, education, value and guidance before they will pay you for it…not the other way around. Using a digital version of your magazine or journal and giving it to prospective members is a great step in sharing your knowledge and leadership with a group who will then realize the benefits of membership. Real ways to generate revenue To develop revenue through your digital publication, create sponsorships for the digital distribution of your issue. Design a special cover for this edition that includes continued on page 4

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welcome From the President

Is there any good news out there? I think there is. Certainly the current economic mess, while painful, forces all of us to reassess (or reaffirm) what we do best and to move in that direction—quickly. We are seeing organizations reallocating resources and “rightsizing.” They are looking at new technologies and reinforcing best practices. Crisis forces change. Great ideas, once stalled in politics, now move forward. We know change can improve our organizations so we will be better and stronger moving forward. In this issue, we talk about basics like working with your printer to save time and money. We all need to make time for professional development with other association professionals at Association FORUM, ASAE, or SNAP events. We offer advice on starting an internship program, while giving you a glimpse of how our program helps find excellent employees. Likewise, we discuss how digital publications can be an effective tool, but they can also be one of those “money savers” that was too good to be true. I hope you enjoy this issue. If the content helps develop an idea, give us a call. We’d be pleased to work with you. No one can say for sure when the economy will turn, but by continuing these strong partnerships, we will continue through 2009 with hard work and perseverance, making the future brighter for everyone.

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For best results, start at the end When planning a design project, sometimes it’s best to start at the end: with your printer. By Austin Stahl Collaborating with your printer from the beginning of a project can help you make the right decisions about paper, timing, mailing, and even the design itself— decisions that can save you time and money if they’re made right the first time. When we changed our name to Network Media Partners, Inc, we had the opportunity to design a completely new stationery system for the company. Once a printer had

Once a printer had been chosen, we got them involved right away. been chosen, we got them involved right away. For our letterhead and envelopes, they helped us find a suitable paper stock that they had on hand, which saved some time and money. The line of paper we chose offered envelopes – another moneysaver, because they didn’t have to be “converted” (folded from a flat sheet and glued into an envelope) after printing. Printing on pre-converted envelopes presents some minor limitations on the design, but since we made the decision ahead of time, we could design with that in mind.

The printer also helped us find a stock for our business cards that would match the letterhead and envelopes in look and feel—and then even printed a sample of our new company colors on these stocks so we could see how they looked. Confident that the colors we’d chosen would appear how we wanted on all pieces of the stationery, we went ahead with the design, and the project went smoothly. Another example is a set of marketing pieces we created for the publication FORUM, to tip on to the cover of some copies of the magazine. These tip-ons were printed digitally, with specific variable data (allowing the design to be personalized for each recipient). We consulted with the printer at the beginning of the project and discussed how to handle the fonts, files, and variable data that would be used. Everyone was on the same page from the outset, and there were no surprises later in the process. As with any project, it’s ideal to step back and decide the best approach. With a printing project of any kind, taking that time to sit down with your printer will save time, money and potential headaches. ; Austin is the Art Manager. E-mail him at astahl@networkmediapartners.com.

Holiday Cheer Each year, Network “adopts” a local family for the holidays. This past holiday season, we adopted two from Baltimore County Social Services, totaling seven children who could look forward to a present-filled Christmas morning. We raised $900 to go toward children’s toys and household essentials. Here, Traffic Coordinator Terri Wood wraps all of the gifts that were sent from Network.

meet

Mike Perrone Accountant/Report Developer/ Helpdesk Technician Since August 2006 What do you do? I spend the bulk of my time on settlement accounting and account reconciliations, maintaining our tech documentation and maintaining our reporting applications. Why do you like Network? I love working for a small company where you can easily see the impact of your efforts. I also like the fact that I’ve never seen egos get in the way of progress here; many companies pay lip service to the concept of working as a “team”, but Network really walks the walk. How do you spend your down time? I run a volunteer Saturday soup kitchen/ food pantry. Professional goals? To enhance my programming skills to the point where I can manage the flow of information at all three of its stages—user interface, storage, and reporting. Most challenging project? Spending two years attending to our IT helpdesk while sticking to monthly accounting deadlines was quite a balancing act at times—I planned many a work day on the fly! Your motto? God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. How would you describe yourself? Focused and driven with a pretty healthy perspective on life.

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Network Media Partners, Inc.


Intern program offers low risk recruiting By Shannon Reid In 2000, Network launched a sales internship program with the goals of supporting our sales staff with additional resources, while also providing local college students with a hands-on learning experience within the sales and marketing field. Eight years later, the intern program has yielded long-term employees who have contributed in countless ways to the success and overall culture of Network. One of the first interns to come on board with Network was Jeff Rhodes, who interned in the winter of 2001. Jeff was initially just looking for a way to fulfill his internship requirement at Towson University. From the start, Jeff realized that there were long-term career opportunities with Network as a sales professional, and he began to take notice of the success that account executives had with their portfolios. “I enjoyed the challenge of assisting senior account executives with their prospecting and marketing efforts”, said Jeff about his first few months as an intern. “I was able to get a feel for what the dayto-day responsibilities would be.” Jeff was hired in the summer of 2001 and has become one of our top producing Sales Managers, and an integral part of leading the internship program. When Jeff took on the role of Intern Coordinator in 2003, he was able to take a critical eye to the internship prospects that were coming to us from Towson University. In addition to looking for hardworking, capable students who could contribute to the overall effectiveness of the sales department, he was also keeping an eye out for those hidden gems that could develop into key contributors on our staff. One of those interns was Chris Martin, who began his internship in 2004 and was hired on at the end of his semester as an Account Executive. “My primary role as an intern was to support Sean Soth [who was then a senior account executive] in his continual efforts to market his association vehicles to new and existing prospects. The best thing about working as an intern was Vol. 2 Issue 3

Chris Martin and Jeff Rhodes both graduated from the Network internship program and have gone on to see great success as account executives. that Sean always framed the tasks I was completing for him in the bigger picture, so that even if I was organizing files I was able to get a feel for how that work played into the advertising sales process.” Both Jeff and Chris have been examples of the benefits of hiring directly from our intern program. From the intern’s perspective, they are given an entire semester (or in some cases, more) to observe as well as participate in all aspects of the advertising sales cycle. Sales interns benefit from the extensive ongoing training that is given to our sales team. The internship eliminates the guesswork that many recent college graduates feel about choosing a specific career path. By the same token, senior level management at Network gets ample time to assess individual skill levels as well as important traits like punctuality and dedication to ensure that the hiring decision is as lowrisk as possible. The program has been so successful in feeding the quality and growth of our sales department that our Traffic department has adapted the model and implemented its own internship program. “The potential for finding permanent employees from the internship program removes much of the guesswork from the hiring process” said Bob Rupp, Traffic and Collections Manager. “We hired our first traffic intern about two year ago and have realized numerous benefits. Efficiency improves as our Traffic

Starting an internship program? Some things to consider:

Work to establish a long-term relationship with a nearby college. If advisors at the college level have a strong feel for your organization’s needs, they will be able to find the best candidates looking for experience and possible further employment upon graduation.

Charge one staff member to be the main contact for the program. Having an intern report to multiple staff can be confusing and frustrating for all involved.

Try to make the experience as valuable as possible for the intern. This can be done by taking a few extra minutes to explain the relevancy of each seemingly mundane task to the intern. The more they know about how their work feeds into the overall goals and objectives of your organization, the more invested they will be in contributing both as an intern and as a prospective employee.

Define expectations up front as you would an employee. Make sure interns are held accountable for the work that they do, and that they are given all levels of feedback to improve performance during their internship.

coordinators delegate less-skilled tasks to interns and focus on higher level work.” ; Shannon Reid is a Vice President in Sales. E-mail her at sreid@networkmediapartners.com Spring 2009 3


events 2009 Marketing & Membership Conference American Society of Association Executives April 30, 2009 - May 1, 2009 Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel Registration fees: $695 (members); $895 (non-members) CAE Hours: 12 This two day annual conference will stretch your thinking by examining new strategies and practical applications. Learn how to create engaging and unique experiences for your members by utilizing your own organization’s products and services. Improve member recruitment and retention, discover new branding techniques and network with your peers. Examine and evaluate your current practices and hear unique solutions to launch new initiatives. Visit www.asaethecenter.org

SAVE THE DATE: The Society of National Association Publishers’ Association Publishing 2009 is June 3-4, 2009. Visit www.snaponline.org Diversity Summit Association Forum of Chicagoland May 7, 2009 The Diversity Summit is a full-day program presented by diverse Chicagoland professionals. Understand the economic climate’s impact and business case of diversity, hear from experts, and leave with best practices to acquire, retain and develop talent of staff and volunteer leaders. Visit www.associationFORUM.org

we recommend Austin Stahl is reading No Logo, by Naomi Klein No Logo is a wide-ranging look at the most powerful multinational corporations and the broad impact they have on our society and the world—socially, politically, and environmentally. As a designer, I’ve been fascinated to read about the power of branding and marketing as used by these companies—but also reminded of why I’m so glad we get to use those tools toward more positive goals, like enriching the lives/careers of our association clients’ members. Jen Smith is reading Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink is yet another Gladwell book that opens your eyes to the differences in society and how people experience and react to things in their lives, specifically people’s initial reactions. Learning about how other people view the world always makes me a stronger designer and problem solver.

Tell us what you’re reading. E-mail Jen Smith at jsmith@networkmediapartners.com

Connect. is published by Network Media Partners, Inc. for its clients. For more information about any of Network’s services, please call Chip Boyce, President, at 410-584-1904 or Carrie Hartin, Chief Operating Officer, at 410-584-1919.

continued from front page the sponsor’s logo, and include a piece of rich media created by that sponsor. The sponsor piece can be directed to members or prospective members, encouraging them to find out more about that sponsor and how they work with association members. Depending on your market, there may only be a small handful of prospects that are a good fit for rich media. However, this type of an ad buy is unique and has the ability to be very valuable if your digital publication has a strong readership. In evaluating the best opportunities for generating sponsorship revenue of your digital publication, remember that advertisers purchasing space in this type of medium need measurable results—open rates, click throughs, pass alongs. More to say? Content is often plentiful—members, suppliers, staff often have items to contribute. The president of your board may have a pet project that is important to tenure that will need a medium and channel of distribution. Digital publications can allow you to go in depth on issues important to your members by creating special reports or additional issues of the publication and publishing them digitally only. You’ll be able to get more useful content to your members and realize the cost savings that a digital publication can offer. For a one-time piece, the digital-only version can offer an extended shelf life. Adding a sponsorship to that special issue will only sweeten the deal. It’s important to consider the digital medium as an add-on, rather than a substitute, to the vast and rapidly changing world of media. Rely on your arsenal of suppliers to help figure out the best path and implementation for digital publications—designers, printers, ad sales professionals, and digital publication providers can collaborate to develop this new medium so it is not only valuable to your members and prospective members, but also a revenue-generating vehicle. Jen Smith is Creative Director. E-mail her at jsmith@networkmediapartners.com Carrie Hartin is Chief Operating Officer. E-mail her at chartin@networkmediapartners.com

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Connect Spring 2009