This year our staff writers had the pleasure of interviewing 36 industry heavy weights on their areas of expertise. It's of no surprise that these interviews are filled with industry insight and topical advice that is helpful to all publishers, no matter the size of the specificity of their audience. At the end of a tumultuous and unpredictable year we draw on the shared knowledge and coming together of our industry, to present you with 10 pieces of great advice from our previous interviewees.
Laura Kelly, Digital Producer at The Big Issue on how magazines can modernise whilst still creating a deep relationship with their readers: "_I’m watching with great interest the ways in which magazines are cultivating deeper relationships with their readers. That can be through podcasts, memberships, social media, (for now, online) events, or multiple other means. I’ve loved voting in the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards and am eyeing up the Empire VIP club. _
It all goes back to what intoxicated me about magazines way back in the early 90s – their first, best role is to build community."
Jackie Scully, Executive Director at Think Publishing on innovating in times of crisis: "When nobody minds that you are getting it wrong, you end up innovating and doing a shed load right."
Emily Hallie, Communications Director at Condé Nast Britain on the best comms strategy: "Aim to be proactive not reactive."
Grace Balfour-Harle, Content Producer at Beano, DC Thomson on the future survival and success of magazines: "Almost every young person I know just buys everything online, so are spending less time on the high street. But it’s not a bad thing – being able to properly curate and specialise your content to your readers will make for a better reader experience. The pivoting and innovation that happened during lockdown needs to continue for more magazines to continue to survive"
Sophie Griffiths, Editor at TTG, TTG Media on how diversity and inclusion should run through your whole business: "We want to make sure that our website is not full of pale, male, stale faces and in that women’s voices are heard. So it’s about considering the opinion pieces that we put online but also thinking about the events that we put on. We have a commitment to never ever have all male panels. We just won’t do it. I think we need to see that across the media space as we still don't see enough non-white females. I think everyone in media has a responsibility on this."
Michael Sturges, Senior Sustainability and Environmental Consultant at Rise on what should be underlying publishers' sustainability commitments: "It's important when we’re talking about sustainability to make sure it’s a genuine underlying principle of the business not just an afterthought or something we’re saying because we think the market wants it. It’s got to be something that drives the business and underlies the culture and philosophy of the business. And that might mean making something that businesses have to make sacrifices – it’s a short term pay for a long-term gain."
Laurence Mozafari, Editor-in-Chief at Digital Spy, Hearst UK on the secret to being successful: "I don’t think enough is said about being a safe pair of hands and being an affable, likeable and reliable person. Some of the people I’ve seen go the furthest are just really good people. If you like someone, you’re much more likely to hire them again."
Julie Humphrey, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Reach on how publishers can start being more inclusive: "I think for starters publishers need to be honest and start from a place of learning, rather than knee-jerk reactions. I believe it's important to be clear about what your workforce make-up really looks like in order to put together an informed plan."
Andrew Meredith, Editor at Farmer's Weekly on keeping those special interest communities engaged: "I think the strength rests on our heritage. One of my most important roles is to protect our reputation for honesty and integrity and continue to make sure we bring content to our readership how and when they want it – in print, online, through our podcasts or at an event. That is how we will maintain our relationship with our audience – and how they will continue to value what we do."
Sophia Alexandra Hall, PPA 30 Under 30 Student of the Year on what young journalists expect from their publications diversity and inclusion pledges: "By acknowledging who you have in the workforce and who you are writing about in the newsroom is a great first-step, and shows young people wanting to go into journalism to create change, that you are willing to act."