Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Web Words: engage readers AND search engines with Lisa Manfield

How can a magazine's website, or any website, keep your attention?

Magazine and web consultant Lisa Manfield gave workshops in Calgary and Edmonton on how a magazine's website can satisfy both the human reader and the bots that crawl your website.

Whether you're a magazine, or trying to sell a service, here are a few quick tips on what you can do to maximize your online presence.

Know how people read online
In print, people are generally content to pore over copy and devote time to reading. Online, people are specifically looking for information. People scan a page in under 10 seconds and if they don't see what they want, then buh bye, they're onto the next website.

Websites are not the best place to put content that couldn't fit into a magazine. In fact, Lisa says that the opposite is true. The web is so vast and attention spans so short, that the content has to be relevant, easy to navigate and engaging at first glance--there are no second chances.

How to write for online
Magazine writers and editors are so fond of crafting clever headlines in print, but this does not work online! Text has to be broken up into sections with clear headings and subheadings so people can scan for information quickly. While narrative arc is the hallmark of good stories in print, computers cause eye fatigue, so chances are, you'll lose your reader at hello if they don't see what they want right away.
  • use bulleted or numbered lists where possible
  • stick to one idea per paragraph
  • cut your word count in half from what it would be in print
  • make it easy for readers to find what they want
  • use the inverted pyramid style (most pertinent information up top)
Search Engine Optimization: what it is and what to do
Your site is being constantly crawled by bots sent out by search engines. These bots evaluate your content to gauge how relevant it is to a search (search engine indexing).

Some things that affect your site's ranking include:
  • the age of your URL (seniority is good)
  • the frequency of site updates
  • the size of your site
Make your site easy to find by:
  • using keywords
  • place keywords in: titles/subtitles, body text, links, photo and video captions, anchor links (embedding a link into a keyword)
Think like a reader and test your site
Conduct a Google search on your site like a reader would. Does it show up on the first page of search results? Or the 10th page? You can analyze search results using Google Adwords to see if your keywords work.

These are just some of the things you can start to do. If you want more (and trust me, it gets a LOT more detailed and specific), contact consultant Lisa Manfield.

Happy surfing!

Communications Specialist, AMPA

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tell Your Story in 5 minutes. Edmonton Story Slam is in its 4th season

Edmonton Story Slam: SEASON 4!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
& the 3rd Wednesday of every month
at the Blue Chair Cafe, 9624 - 76 Avenue
Sign up at 7 p.m. Stage opens at 8 p.m.
5 audience judges. 5 minutes. 10 writers.
Cash prize.

Edmonton Story Slam kicks off Season 4 of live story telling events every month at The Blue Chair Cafe. First chance to Slam is NOVEMBER 18. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate -- it's the best potluck entertainment around. Now is the time to take a risk, feel your pulse, live larger, have an experience you will always remember. Visit your dreams, explore your past, stir your creativity, question your existence, write a story and get on stage to share it with an eagre audience in a welcoming, yet competitive, environment. We gather on the 3rd Wednesday of every month to celebrate stories, be they inspired from our own lives or derived entirely from the labyrinth of our minds.

Arrive early. Share a meal, tip a cup and join a community that welcomes new members and embraces old friends. We have heard stories about childhood, old age, middle age, yearnings, parenthood, mistakes, reckonings, dreams, nightmares, sexuality, food, voyages, adventures, relationships, journeys, war, truth, lies, ancestors, spirituality, ghosts, what ifs, and what might be. Add your musings to the collective.

Congratulations to Tyler Enfield, who is the Edmonton Story Slam Champion for 2008-2009. Season 3 celebrated its peak with The Slam Off finals, which were held October 21 in front of an enthusiastic crowd. To all those who tried to attend and were turned away because of popular demand, please join us for our regular season. Better yet, write a story and get on stage. Past Slam Off champions are: Mark Ramsden (2007) and Jadon Rempel (2008).

Thank you to The Blue Chair Cafe and staff (, Tracy Kolenchuk (Photography:; also see; Duncan & Craig LLP; NeWest Press (, Vue Weekly. Thank you also for all the hard work from the writers, donations from the audience and enthusiasm from a board of dedicated slam lovers!

Join the Edmonton Story Slam on Facebook for updates and events. Contact: or call 780-915-8869.

Mark your calendar with the Season 4 Slam schedule: 3rd Wednesday of every month
November 18
December 16
January 20
February 17
March 17
April 21
May 19
June 16
July 21
August (no slam: break)
September 15
October 20
November 17

The Rules:
- Sign up at 7 p.m. First 10 writers. Writers must sign up in person.
- Names are drawn randomly from a hat for order of appearance. Writers must be present when names are drawn in order to participate.
- Stopwatch starts ticking as soon as writer begins speaking.
- Each writer tells/reads a story in 5 minutes.
- 1/2 point deducted from score for every 10 seconds over (5 second grace period).
- Gong at 7 minutes.
- 5 audience judges score each story out of 10. High and low scores are eliminated (best out of 30).
- Top score wins the competition and earns a coveted spot in Slam Off (date TBA), where monthly winners face off for the annual title.
- $5 donation (suggested) from the participating writers goes to the Edmonton Story Slam Society to help maintain operations.
- Stories may be fact, fiction or somewhere in-between.
- All pass-the-hat donations from the AUDIENCE go directly to the monthly winner.

Donations from individuals and corporations to the Edmonton Story Slam Society are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for your support!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nov/Dec workshops: Websites, Ad Sales, Money Saving Strategies

I know some of you are waiting for blogs from RAMM. We're not sitting idle--AMPA's been busy working on some exciting seminars (websites, ad sales, money-saving strategies) for November and December. Keep an eye on the early-bird deadlines (first one's November 9th).

Hope to see you there!

November 16, November 18, 2009

Web Words: How to Engage Both Readers and Search Engines

In this workshop, we’ll explore how and why web readers consume online content differently than they do print, and look at best practices for keeping online audiences engaged, including the essential skills of web writing, editing and formatting, and the importance of optimizing your content for search engines. We’ll also take a look at your magazine sites and collectively discuss what works, what could be better and ways to effectively incorporate multimedia into your online mix. So come ready to perform a hands-on review of actual sites, including your own!

About the Speaker
Lisa Manfield has worked in print and online publishing for 13 years as Managing Editor at, Marketing Manager at The Tyee, Contributing Editor for Backbone Magazine, Business & Finance editor at, Associate Editor at CGA Magazine and Editor of REALM Magazine. As a publishing consultant, she has developed print and online content, marketing collateral and courseware for CBC TV, the Knowledge Network, WorkSafeBC, the BC and Alberta Magazine Publishers Associations and Magazines Canada. She teaches “Writing and Editing for the Web” and “Marketing Magazines Online” for SFU Writing and Publishing Program and Summer Workshops respectively. She was a member of the editorial collective of Room for eight years and on the Board of Directors (three as VP) for the BC Association of Magazine Publishers.

Lisa came out to the Alberta Magazines Conference this past March, and will add to what she shared with you then, helping you to maximize your websites.

In Calgary:
Monday, November 16

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, 2425 9 Ave SE

In Edmonton:
Wednesday, November 18

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
CORRECTION: Strathcona Library, 8331 104 St NW, Strathcona Program Room (2nd Floor)

Register now via or 403-262-0081.

AMPA Members/Students (with valid FT status): $20 if registered by Nov. 9; $35 afterwards.
Non-members: $30 if registered by Nov. 9; $45 afterwards.

Payment via cheque must be received PRIOR to event to the AMPA office. If payment is $60 or more, we will accept a credit card.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Inject New Life into Your Ad Sales

If you sell advertising for magazines, you need to attend this half-day intensive seminar. Get the goods on developing a sales strategy in this tough economy. We’ll explore how to reach clients, stay on the rate card, handle objections, and build ad sales opportunities inside and outside your magazine. Designed specifically for ad sales people, this seminar ensures you’ll gain a better understanding of how magazine advertising works. Learn the tools of the trade that will help you develop sales strategies—and get the business.

About the Speaker

Gwen Dunant has been in the publishing industry for over 25 years, primarily as an advertising sales consultant. She has sold national and retail advertising space, worked with client publications to develop effective sales tools (such a media kits, rate cards, readership surveys, etc.) and done numerous sales trainings for small to mid-sized publications. She has given seminars at Mags U, MagNet, Ryerson University and many regional associations across Canada. She has played a key role in the development of many professional development programs for Magazines Canada and the Atlantic Magazines Association. She is also the author of “A Short Guide to the Development and Use of Sales Tools for Selling Advertising Space in Canadian Magazines” as well as a contributor to “Small Magazines Advertising – Essentials for Publishers and Sales Representatives”.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, 2425 9 Ave SE, Calgary

Travel bursaries are available to qualified out-of-Calgary magazine members.

Register now via or 403-262-0081.

AMPA Members: $25 if registered by Nov. 13; $35 afterwards.

Non-members: $35 if registered by Nov. 13; $45 afterwards.

Cash or cheque is preferred. If payment is $50 or more, we will accept a credit card.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Taking a hard look: Money-saving strategies for publishers
There is money to be saved in most, if not all, magazine budgets. Of course publishers should pursue efficiency whenever they can; but in hard times, it's even more important to trim wisely and well. In this seminar, magazine consultant D. B. Scott will examine the typical magazine budgets and explore the kinds of hard questions that need to be asked by the people who manage them. Where is the greatest potential for saving money? And areas where it is penny-wise, but pound foolish to cut? The seminar will provide an opportunity to talk about attending magazines' particular challenges and to identify at least one area everyone can dig into when they get back to the office.

About the Speaker
D. B. Scott (David), the President of Impresa Communications Limited, has built a solid reputation as a consultant, writer, blogger, teacher, market researcher, publisher and editor. His concentration and specialty is the magazine industry. He has been called on for advice in such critical areas as strategic planning, content development, marketing, launches and relaunches, redesigns, audience surveys and focus groups, meeting facilitation and review and development of production and publishing systems. He is a member of Magazines Canada' professional development committee and its Travelling Consultants program. He teaches The Business of Magazine Publishing at Ryerson University in the Chang School for Continuing Education.

Friday, December 11, 2009

1:00 pm to 4pm

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, 2425 9 Ave SE, Calgary

Travel bursaries are available to qualified out-of-Calgary magazine members.

Register now via or 403-262-0081.

AMPA Members: $25 if registered by Nov. 30; $35 afterwards.

Non-members: $35 if registered by Nov. 30; $45 afterwards.

Cash or cheque is preferred. If payment is $50 or more, we will accept a credit card.