Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alberta Best on Page Celebrated the Power of Magazines

We laughed, we cried, we oohed, we awed. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but this past month we truly were inspired by the creativity on display at the Alberta Best on Page traveling exhibition.

The show (held in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton) featured Magazines Canada's annual Best on Page display of national and international award-winning print ads; we also couldn't help but boast our local talent with a showcase of our province's editorial and design successes from this past year's Alberta Magazine Awards.

Former AMPA Executive Director Andrew Mah described the power of the Best on Page imagery: "These ads pop. They sing. They persuade, compel, evoke. They demonstrate the continued power of print: of the striking marriage among words, pictures and design." And this is just the advertising side of magazines. The flip side of our industry is editorial "covers that hook, photos and illustrations that impress and feature stories that draw you in." This is the local talent, represented by our member magazine publishers, that we celebrate each year at the Alberta Magazine Awards.

So enough describing from me, time to see for yourselves with this photo-glimpse of the fun that we had at our Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton exhibition receptions (you can see more photos in our Flickr album).

October 1, Lethbridge:

October 5, Calgary (photographs courtesy Don Molyneaux)

October 12, Edmonton (photographs courtesy Kyla Feschuk): 

 -- Rebecca Lesser
AMPA Communications & Programs Coordinator

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Updated Ad Sales Video Tool for Magazines

Magazines Canada has updated its Magazines Connect video, which takes key industry research and knowledge, and translates it into quick hits of information.

In two minutes, it lays the groundwork for a magazine ad sales pitch by delivering points about magazine engagement, content, demographics, purchase intent, and the growing relationship with online and digital. And the music and graphics are pretty snazzy too.  

Check out the video on YouTube and share your thoughts. Would it be helpful for your client presentations? For approaching new clients? Re-introducing magazines to old clients? We'd love to know if this sort of resource is useful so let us know!

-- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

5 Ways to Increase Site Traffic: Lessons from the Niche Digital Conference, Part 1

[Travel bursaries for voting magazine members are just one of the many benefit programs that we provide at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. We've asked bursary recipients to share their professional development travel experiences]

Lessons from the Niche Digital Conference (Part 1)
This past September, I was lucky enough to attend the Niche Digital Conference in Chicago, thanks to support from my employer, Venture Publishing, and AMPA. The Niche Digital Conference is devoted to teaching online revenue strategies to niche publications and their online extensions.  

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you some of the best tips and tricks that I learned at the conference. Some of it will be old news to the web gurus among us, but hopefully I’ll pass on something useful for everyone. 

I’ll start off with the following five strategies to increase site traffic:
1. Spread out your content! Don’t publish all of your magazine’s content online at the beginning of the month. Use the date stamping tools of your content management system to load your content all at once, but publish it piece by piece over a period of time.  Encourage people to come back to your site multiple times and you’ll build a stronger audience and increase ad impressions.  

2. SEO, SEO, SEO - Stop investing money in Google ad words and start investing time in search engine optimization. The best argument I can make for this is from my own experience.  Thanks to some SEO changes we’ve made to our website, site traffic has increased more than 240% since January 2011. Not all of this increase is due to our SEO work, but search engine popularity has become a major traffic component. Read an SEO book, website, magazine, or hire a consultant to teach your staff how to do it correctly.      

3. Connect with Local Influencers - With an internet filled with free content, actually having a printed product not only makes magazine websites elite, it also gives us massive social cache that many skilled writers and niche experts value. Reach out to popular bloggers, experts, or influencers that have established audiences and see if they’d be interested in blogging on your site. Provided they align with your editorial mandate and quality control, this can be a very quick way of increasing your site’s online audience. By giving them a legitimate platform to write from, you’ll gain their audience and their support.  

4. Create a social media interaction plan - Come up with a clear goal for your social media usage and assign a member of your team to monitor and reply to social media comments each day. Use programs like Hootsuite and TweetDeck to schedule multiple posts a day (aim for 5-10 throughout the day, depending on your market and ability) and make sure to tag your story subject’s social media accounts to ensure lots of reposts and retweets.    

5. Don’t Just Post Your Own Stuff – The best thing about the internet is how interconnected it is, so why are you treating your magazine website like a walled garden? Don’t be afraid to post links to other websites. Become a web content curator in addition to a producer and you’ll see your page rank and traffic rise. The more links out you give, the more links back you’ll get, and Google rewards sites that boast numerous connections to others. 

My next post will be devoted to banner ads, media kits, and the sales side of digital revenue generation. Be sure to check back then! 
--- Andrew Williams
Assistant Publisher, Venture Publishing

Andrew Williams is the Assistant Publisher at Venture Publishing. When he’s not working on Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil, or, he mostly spends his time coming up with bad magazine headline puns. Follow him on twitter @Andrew_NVS for the aforementioned magazine puns.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple Releases iCloud and Newsstand Feature

With the unexpected and sad passing of Steve Jobs, Apple's original genius, there's been a lot of speculation about what will happen next and how Apple will continue. It's clear that Jobs was no dummy so my guess is he had many plans in place for the company to carry on without him. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an email to Apple employees: "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple." The Apple machine will, no doubt, chug on.

Which brings us to the launch of the iCloud. Operating on the same principles as other cloud computing services, iCloud will be a free download for Apple users, which automatically stores user content to the cloud; enabling users to access content across any iOS platform.

The iCloud coincides with the release of the iOS 5 mobile operating system, which includes Newsstand, a virtual bookshelf that displays users’ subscriptions with the latest issues of magazine titles. Each of your chosen titles are updated automatically so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art of your favourite mags.

Newsstand will work in tandem with Apple's subscription model, announced back in March, which allows publishers to sell subscriptions through the App Store for a 30 percent cut of each sub purchased. (Apple keeps the user data automatically unless users choose to share with publishers.) Conde Nast and Hearst are among the publishers that have signed on to sell subscriptions through the App Store.  

According to a press release from Apple, "with iOS 5 and iCloud, you just enter your Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with your apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all of your mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and more, up-to-date across all your devices without ever having to connect to a computer."

For those still dubious about Apple's future, consider that only five days after Jobs' passing, pre-orders of the iPhone® 4S topped one million in 24 hours, surpassing the previous single day pre-order record of 600,000 held by iPhone 4. If that's not an ode to Jobs, I don't know what is. 

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Water-Cooler AMPA Update

Fall is officially upon us now so I thought it was time for another update on what's happening with some Alberta mags folks. As I'm not always privy to everybody's news, I invite you to please share with me what's happening in your world. And it doesn't have to be magazine news; let's face it, we're into the personal stuff too!
  • As we all know, big changes at AMPA. A fond farewell is in order for Andrew Mah (or Mahster, as I like to call him) as he embarks on new adventures to teach in China. Thank you Andrew for the amazing work you pulled off in this last year. I know all too well that the first year comes with a wicked steep learning curve and you handled it like a pro.
  • A big welcome to Suzanne Trudel as the new AMPA ED. As a fellow board member for the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation, I know Suz to be dedicated and hardworking, not to mention a lovely person. I'm sure she will do a great job carrying on AMPA's good works. If you haven't already, please take a moment to say hello and make her feel at home.
  • Former AMPA Communications Specialist Anh Chu has just moved across the pond, making London, England, her new home, just to shake things up! Watch for news about Anh's next career actress? A gourmet chef? A Spice Girl?

  • Congrats to Melanie Jones, Alberta mags contributor and former Where Calgary editor, on her success with her show ENDURE, which she created, produced and performs. She recently came home to Calgary and completed a sold-out run and now she's back in New York performing this immersive, theatre-meets-athletics show twice a day every weekend this month. You go, girl!
  • Margaret Chandler, former AMPA conference coordinator, is now at Bow Valley College as Special Advisor to the President. She's actually been at the job for a year now, but I forgot to blog about it when she started. (I blame baby brain.) She continues her green initiatives chairing the ECOBVC, the college's sustainability committee. 

  • In June, Alberta Venture welcomed two new columnists, Preston Manning and Brett Wilson. Talk about bringing on the big guns!

  • got a facelift this summer with a new design as well as a version for mobile apps.

  • And finally, some cheesy personal gushing. It's my baby's first birthday today! Happy birthday Annabel!                                                      
                                                                                                   ---Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence