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HOLIDAY EDITION 2013 • Vol. 13, No. 4

Enduring Brand: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer originated in a 1939 booklet published by Montgomery Ward Co, according to TIME.


Publishing ideas, strategies, and solutions on the business of publishing

275 miles All We Want for Length of the average trip taken over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.

22.6 million

Number of at-home viewers of last year’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”—a record.


Percentage of total 2012 retail industry sales represented by holiday sales.



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W  hat “hot” holiday product debuted in 2005 and had experienced 149% year-over-year growth by 2011? W  hat holiday movie features the voice of Tom Hanks as a train conductor headed to the North Pole? W  hat percentage of social media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest?

Answers on page 2.

INSIDE 2 3 4

Stratton Report Quick Clicks Idea Swap PMS 2627

the Holidays I n the spirit of the season, Stratton’s Smart Publishing asked several association media and publishing professionals to take a turn on Santa’s lap and tell us what’s on their wish list this year. Here’s what they said:

“My wish? A super analytics app that combines the scrolling tracking of Chartbeat, the comprehensive heat maps of CrazyEgg, the user feedback of iPerceptions, and the social tracking of Hootsuite, and ties all of the data into Google Analytics. That would let us see who’s consuming which content, how they got there, how far they make it through, and what they think about it.” —Mark Alves, Senior Web Marketing Manager, NFIB


‘Tis the Season to Be Inspired Holiday favorites spark creative


he bustle of year-end work can be exciting and exhausting. So if you are looking for a little inspiration this winter, here are six takeaways from our favorite holiday movies that association communications professionals can apply on the job now—and in the New Year.

media solutions

1. Tell a story. In “Elf,” six-foot-tall Buddy travels from the North Pole to New York City in search of his long-lost father. Colorful and imaginative, Buddy is a master storyteller who uses language to invoke joy and emotion. “I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel,” he tells his family on his first night in the city. As technology continues to break down barriers to information, the power of compelling content is vital to membership and marketing initiatives, editorial, and other projects. Discover See ‘TIS THE SEASON, page 3


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Streamline Celebrations to Avoid Holiday Bloat At work, and during the holidays, less is more



oliday traditions abound and often holiday excesses as well. With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are staring down a long to-do list in preparation of celebrating with friends and family. Between the shopping and gift wrapping, baking and entertaining, the quest for the perfect holiday experience is always exhausting—and rarely achievable. At the end of the season, we are often left with the feeling of excesses—from too much food and drink to over-the-top gift

Start your own subscription. Visit to sign up to receive Stratton’s Smart Publishing. Or contact Josephine Rossi at jrossi@stratton


Publishing Stratton’s Smart Publishing is designed to provide publishers, editors, marketers, and other business professionals with strategies to meet today’s print and electronic media challenges. The publication is free. Publisher: Debra J. Stratton Contributing Editors: Angela Brady, Lia Dangelico, Josephine Rossi, Christine Umbrell Design: Janelle Welch Stratton Headquarters 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510 Alexandria, VA 22312-2334 Phone: 703.914.9200 Fax: 703.914.6777 Angerosa Research Foundation © Copyright 2013, Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc.

Toning down excess in media is much the same. In this busy digital world, we find that the most successful media plans are often the simplest. giving and partying. Raised in a family of five kids, for me, holidays were always full of an abundance of activities and fondly remembered traditions. But, at times, the flurry of events and gift-giving focus can overwhelm. Sometimes, too late, we try to control spending and rein in the desire to overdo. We realize it’s the quality of the experiences that make for lasting memories. And rather than trying to make every holiday wish come true, we learn to simplify our efforts on the aspects that matter most to us and our loved ones, such as preparing special recipes passed down from generations before or setting aside time to read favorite holiday stories to our children each night. Less is more, we learn, and the quality of the experience is what really matters. Toning down excess in media is much the same. In this busy digital world, we find that the most successful media

plans are often the simplest. And as with lessons from long ago, we are reminded again that content—on whatever platform—is still king. What matters most is the quality of the message, not the quantity, and how we communicate or tell the story of our organization’s experience.

Now more than ever, the essence of content is what’s critical. Streamlining the channels and clarifying our message is the essence of a happy holiday and an effective communication effort. From all of us at Stratton, we thank you for your con-

Much like the cherished recipe or bedtime story, our communications are most effective when we strategically plan to use our talents and resources, when we listen to stakeholders, and we deliver valuable and substantive information that makes a difference in members’ professional lives. Much like the cherished recipe or bedtime story, our communications are most effective when we strategically plan to use our talents and resources, when we listen to stakeholders, and we deliver valuable and substantive information that makes a difference in members’ professional lives.

Young Professionals— Get Recognized in 2014! Your innovative ideas and hard work have helped paved the way for publishing and media success at your organization—now it’s time to get recognized for your efforts! Nominate yourself or a worthy colleague to be a 2014 Rising Star Scholar, and you could be the recipient of a $1,000 educational scholarship. Sponsored by the Angerosa Research Foundation, the program will offer up to three scholarships to deserving emerging ssociation media and communications professionals. Deadline is December 31. Find out more and download an application using the QR code, or visit Trivia Answers from the front page: 1. Elf on the Shelf. 2. “The Polar Express.” 3. 40%

tinued support and wish you a very merry holiday season and a new year filled with new opportunities for success.

Debra Stratton

calendar Upcoming industry events Association TRENDS Salute to Association Excellence


February 20, 2014 Washington, DC n

ASAE’s 2014 Great Ideas Conference

March 9-11, 2014 Orlando, Florida Association Media & Publishing 2014 Annual Meeting


May 19-21, 2014 Tysons Corner, Virginia http://associationmediaand

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Holiday Wish List

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“My college roommate was from Columbus, Indiana, home to diesel engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. Cummins paid the fee for world-class architects to design schools and other community buildings, transforming these otherwise ordinary structures into works of art. I wish jolly ol’ St. Nick (or someone) would pick up the tab for a world-class designer—maybe Darhil Crooks, who recently redesigned Atlantic Monthly—to transform our print and electronic publications into works of art for our members and other audiences.” —Mark S. Mathewson, Director of Publications, Illinois State Bar Association “For my publishing Christmas List, I would like to hire ASAP, a technical online content manager, to take the lead on our numerous digital publication initiatives.” —Eleanore Tapscott, Senior Director, Publications, The Endocrine Society “Putting out multiple publications in today’s technological age to meet an association audience requires a BIG wish! I wish for a single publication content management system that will take all of my payroll, accounts payable, finance, and HR articles and automatically spread them across various media platforms. The reason this wish is so big is because as publishers of information our members need to do their jobs, we want to be able to provide this valuable content at a click of our fingertips—content that will not only meet the viewing needs of each and every one of our members (print magazine, epub, digital magazine, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more), but also utilize all of the existing electronic platforms (and continually update as new cross-channel ones come out). I know this is a hefty wish, but I believe Santa’s elves are now trained in creating media brands, right? And if this is too big of a wish, then we’ll just take a nice cup of hot cocoa and an iPad to get us started.” —Christine L. Avery, Managing Editor, Membership Publications, American Payroll Association

Watch the Ball Drop

Find out who’s performing—or plan a trip to celebrate in person. Host an Olympic Viewing Party

Visit the official site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, set to begin February 7. Brave Holiday Traffic

Use navigation app Waze to leverage its database and an active community of drivers in real-time to guide and even reroute your trip.

Share what’s on your holiday wish list with us on Twitter @strattonpub with #holidaywish.

‘Tis the Season

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your organization’s story, then “sing it loud for all to hear.”

2. Look for a silver lining. Charlie Brown can’t stand the “overly commercialized” holiday season in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” When he presents a pathetic, wilting Christmas tree, his friends mock him. But Charlie’s friend Linus helps him see the positive: “I never thought it was such a bad little tree,” Linus says. “It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” Don’t let a negative attitude derail an important initiative or project. Seek out the positives, and chances are you’ll find a new opportunity, a lessonlearned, and more.

3. Take a risk. King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington tries to bring cheerful holiday traditions to his own town in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” As he tries and

(somewhat) fails at this transformation, Jack learns the beauty of the unexpected and the value of trying something new. Perhaps your creative team has a wish list—a responsively designed website, a mobile app, or another initiative on the backburner. Whatever it is, take that first step outside of your comfort zone and explore what’s possible for your organization.

4. Leave the past behind. A 1980s riff on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “Scrooged” features Frank Cross, a callous TV network president who terrorizes his employees and says “bah humbug” to the holidays. When three ghosts appear to show Frank the error of his ways, he rebuffs them, but through their visions he sees that his painful past is ruining his and others’ chance for happiness. Past experiences and failures can haunt even the most confi-

dent, but the best way to move beyond them is to focus on the present and draw insight from lessons learned.

5. Expand skill sets. All of the story lines in “Love Actually” are charming in their own way, but few are as heartfelt as that of lonely writer Jamie and his Portuguese house keeper Aurélia; and of selfconscious pre-teen Sam and his crush Joanna. Jamie and Sam decide they must act to demonstrate their love: Jamie learns Portuguese to propose to Aurélia, while Sam masters the drums so he can perform in the school play with Joanna. Both come away happier after daring greatly. Consider how you and your team can expand skill sets this year to better collaborate across the organization and better serve membership. Options abound for every budget—from free webinar series, to team

building seminars, to continuing education courses.

6. Don’t stop believing. In “Miracle on 34th Street,” New York City residents—including skeptical Mrs. Walker and her daughter Susan—must decide what they believe after a department store Santa Claus claims he is the real thing. Susan dares to challenge her mother’s beliefs and put her faith in something greater. “I believe, I believe,” Susan says. “Even though it’s silly, I believe!” As you begin a new year full of opportunities, challenges, and successes, don’t stop believing in yourself, in the abilities of your team, and in your organization as a whole. What’s your favorite holiday movie? Tweet us @strattonpub with #holidaymovie.


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What books are you reading this holiday break? Stratton staff members share their picks for the season…

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The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith Janelle Welch, senior art director, is reading this new mystery novel by Robert Galbraith—who is actually J.K. Rowling using a pseudonym. “I was intrigued when I heard about the controversy over the book and who actually wrote it,” says Welch. This “traditional gumshoe” mystery features London P.I. Cormoran Strike, a former military man who lost his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, currently investigating the death of a supermodel.

The Path Forward for the News Business, by Lewis D‘Vorkin, and Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman Josephine Rossi, VP, custom media services, will be reading The Path Forward for the News Business on her laptop’s Kindle app. “It’s only 65 pages and about how Forbes changed its business model to evolve with the digital/social age. Good New Year’s inspiration.” Rossi also has started reading Thinking, Fast and Slow and hopes to finish the 512-page tome by end of the year. “It’s about how humans think and how the mind makes judgments and decisions,” says Rossi. “Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics, so it’s not easy reading, but I find it very fascinating.” The Twenty-Seventh City, by Jonathan Franzen, and The Underwater Welder, by Jeff Lemire Lia Dangelico, managing editor, is reading The Twenty-Seventh City on her iPad—and when she finishes, she will have read everything written by Franzen. Set in St. Louis, the novel explores the dark underbelly of family life, political conspiracy, and the so-called American dream. In print, Dangelico is reading The Underwater Welder, a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire. The story follows Jack, an underwater welder working off the coast of Nova Scotia, who is expecting his first child with his wife. In the weeks leading up to the baby’s birth, Jack starts to feel pulled deeper into the ocean’s dark depths and farther away from fatherhood. Memories of his painful past haunt him and put his future family life in jeopardy.

—Your Creative Media Partners at Stratton Publishing & Marketing, Inc.

Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan Angela Hickman Brady, senior consultant and publishing strategist, is reading Susannah Cahalan’s memoir about her “month of madness” and amazing recovery. In 2009 Cahalan, a New York Post investigative reporter, suffered from a rare autoimmune disease that caused paranoia, psychosis, and catatonia. “Not exactly light reading, but a fascinating, and at times heartbreaking, story,” says Brady.

“It’s a little slow starting out, but now that I am into it, I can’t put it down,” Welch says. “Everyone says that it has a surprise ending, so I am really looking forward to that!”

and a Prosperous 2014!

Blowback, by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett and The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin Debra Stratton, president, looks forward to mixing the intrigue and Homeland-like spy action of Blowback with the lively, presidential history as only Doris Kearns Goodwin can write it. Blowback features a “younger, smarter version of Plame as the CIA covert agent heroine,” according to the author, “which sounds strongly reminiscent of Carrie Matheson from my favorite TV show, Homeland,” says Stratton. Plame is the glamorous spy exposed by the Bush administration in 2003 during its feud with her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism brings to life a period when the U.S. struggled with major issues and illustrates the value of a strong media in informing citizens and shaping public opinion.

Wishing You Happy Holidays

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Stratton's Smart Publishing Holiday Edition 2013  

Ideas, Strategies and Solutions on the Business of Publishing

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