< Questions & Answers >

How does your product and service compare with others companies in quality and price?

Respectfully, you are asking us the wrong question.

We are competitive in quality and price, or we would not be able to persuade anyone to do business with us, but comparisons of this kind only make sense in a marketplace where the variations in quality and price are substantial. The truth is that you will end up with a quality product if you work with any professional media/communications/publishing partner whose core competency is publishing. The market has only one or two graphic design programs, and the number of paper types and inks are also finite. The presses that are available today can print amazing and beautiful products for a relatively reasonable cost. These facts mean there is no excuse anymore for shoddy work or a sad looking association magazine, but they also mean any professional company you choose can give you high quality work for a fair price.

That having been said, what should your goal be? We believe that you should choose a company whose strengths are a good match for your organization’s needs.

Most clients want a quality product, with the least amount of resources spent, whether those resources are money, staff time or just plain sanity. To get that, you need to decide whether your organization has good synergy with your chosen partner. What can you do together? How well do you communicate? And most importantly, is what you want something the company actually provides and is good at?

  • If your organization needs hands-on collaboration and enjoys brainstorming graphic ideas and wants to talk “look and feel,” you should probably look toward a company that is smaller in size, encourages creativity, and makes its graphic design staff available to clients.
  • If you view your communication efforts as a necessary evil and just want it done and off your plate, a larger company with a very tight “one-size fits all” approach would make the most sense.

When it comes to choosing a partner for your communications efforts, we would like to think we’re always the best choice. More realistically, though, we have found that our most successful clients share some common characteristics:

  1. Communicating with members is a priority for you. This is pretty basic to the publishing equation. Even though our staff does the majority of the work, your organization’s commitment to communication is the key when preparing and submitting timely editorial content. Relevant communication takes time and focus. If this is not on the top of your internal priority list, editorial gets moved and overlooked. The results is a publication that is late and, usually less interesting to your membership.
  2. You want to produce a top-notch publication but have limited resources. If your office has a large number of employees and financial resources to match, there is little reason to outsource your publishing activities. However, this isn’t the case for most trade associations. Our service exists because our clients can’t and don’t want to do it all themselves.
  3. The board, the staff, and the staff person in charge of the publication are all committed to outsourcing. Outsourcing is certainly not a panacea for the trade association world. If your organization has mixed feelings about outsourcing, the frustration on both sides can make it very difficult to turn out a quality publication on an ongoing basis. We will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure we do our part. If the association is committed to doing its part, then the publication will most likely succeed.
  4. You have realistic expectations. Outsourcing is not a cure-all for problem publications. We face the same publishing issues your organization does. The main difference is that we have more people focused on the publishing process. However, we cannot manufacture time, we do not print money, and the problems your publication faces will still exist even after we begin working with you. If late editorial was a constant problem for your organization before we became involved, for example, or you have been completely unsuccessful at generating ad revenue on your own, these issues will continue to be problems for your publication. While outsourcing is a strategy that works well – especially in publishing – it is a strategy that is most successful when our company and your organization collaborate well together and known problems are discussed and a solution strategy is in place.

What would the deadlines, press, and issue schedule look like for an issue?

A production schedule is really the key to a magazine’s timeliness. We need a date to shoot for and so do you. The key to producing a timely publication is developing a schedule that works for your organization as well as ours. We will always help our clients meet their dates by providing editorial support when needed. If given enough advance notice, we can usually rearrange our workflow to meet your needs. We realize that in the association world, there are frequent events and projects that sometimes make it difficult to turn in content on the exact day as planned. That being the case, we encourage you and our other clients to communicate with us frequently so we can coordinate with you for the best possible result.

Over the years we’ve fine-tuned how we do what we do. We to want give you a competitive turnaround time but we also want to make sure we have enough time to do a good job.

We work on a 16-working day production schedule, where a "working day" is considered to be a non-holiday or weekend when most businesses are open and mail is delivered. The production schedule starts the first day after we have received all the content from our client. Allowing for holidays and weekends, creating a magazine usually takes about one month, give or take a day, from our doorstep to your members' hands.

Who would our publishing team consist of?

As a small company, we have the luxury of working in a very collaborative environment that consists of project managers, graphic designers, web designers, writers and editors, and sales and marketing staff. You would be in contact primarily with the project manager. You would also have contact with the sales and marketing staff, who handle ad sales in-house. You might also be in contact with a web designer, if your project has electronic elements.

Clients are assigned to a project manager who works with them throughout each issue’s production run. We currently have two project managers.

In addition to evaluating personality and the client’s industry, we also consider workload when assigning a project manager to a client. We believe that things run more smoothly when personalities and backgrounds mesh, so we wait to make assignments until a potential client becomes a client and we’ve had one or two initial conversations to help us determine which staff members would be the best fit for a particular or assignment. The goal is to develop long-term relationships that work for everyone.

The project manager works with each of our clients by collecting editorial content, arranging for any needed editorial content to be written, overseeing the graphic layout process, and generally making sure that the project gets to press, or, if an electronic delivery is used, that the project gets posted or distributed. The project manager then starts the process all over again with the next issue.

Our graphic designers also work closely together. For continuity, the same graphic designer will often work on a publication over all of the issues in a publishing year; however, all our designers cover for each other.

Our staffers are well versed in all aspects of what we do – which is something that we work on to achieve. Because we’re a tight knit bunch, turnover is minimal.

In what format do you prefer content be submitted?

We prefer that you submit content in Microsoft Word format, with corresponding photos in a separate file. If you have a form – like a registration form – we prefer that you submit it as a high-resolution PDF.

We discourage clients from submitting PDFs for events and notices with the expectation that we will place them in the publication as-is. Too often, the submissions do not match the look and feel of the publication. We’re happy to create whatever flyers, event notices and association “ads” you need for a particular publication, and you are welcome to use the results in other places as well.

We provide an online client “file” for you to upload content, and we have an editorial form that many of our clients have found helpful. We also have clients who prefer to send us email, which is fine too.

Ideally, ad sales will be the responsibility of the publishing company. What is your plan to engage or re-engage companies who previously advertised with us but no longer see the value in advertising in print magazine?

We do handle ad sales for our clients. We enjoy it and are good at it. Our sales team is in-house which makes it easier to monitor quality and consistency and to solve the inevitable problems that are bound to happen whenever you have to deal with all the moving parts that make up a successful, ad-driven magazine.

Because the majority of the magazines that we publish for our clients are paid for through advertising, the sales process is a big focal point. The saying that “nothing happens until a sale is made” is particularly true for us, and every staffer is well aware of the importance of the ad revenue. As a result, we often sell up to the very last second of the publishing cycle, which means that the proximity of the sales person to the production staff is important to the whole process.

We are a “chop wood, carry water” type of company when it comes to pretty much everything, but that attitude is particularly true in ad sales. Sales are binary – you either made the sale or you didn’t. In our view, you have to pick up the phone and talk to people. You also have to follow up when you say you will. It’s a cycle of “dial, speak, follow up, repeat.” But that is the difficulty. The cycle can be exhausting. It’s easy to use email too much, hide behind voice mail, and fail to follow up.

We engage and re-engage people by talking to them. By people, we mean all the people. We call and speak with the entire list of associate members, and we keep copious notes about the conversations we have. We start forming relationships immediately. Selling ads is a game that depends on numbers, but for us, the goal is not necessarily just the sale. Instead, the goal to speak with every associate member on our client’s list and starting the conversation with:

“Your company is an associate member of XYZ (our client) and we’re assuming that you became an associate member to increase your business with this group. Our client makes several marketing opportunities available to their associate members throughout the year, and their magazine is one of those opportunities. Do you have a few minutes to talk about increasing your business with XYZ (our client)?”

In the trade association world, decisions to buy ads are based on budget and market focus. An associate member either has the budget, and your geographical area is a market focus, or it’s not.

We want to make sure that our client’s publications are “in the budget,” which means that for 2018, we need to be contacting potential new advertisers now. Budget meetings typically happen before Thanksgiving each year, so we send “consider XYZ magazine for your budget” emails during September and October of each year, and then we make sure we speak to everyone we sent an email to.

Most people we speak with are not opposed to print, even though younger media buyers and marketing managers admittedly lean toward something electronic. Research has made it clear that printed and electronic media complement each other; since that is the case, we make our client’s magazines available in both formats. Print provides tactile engagement. Electronic delivery, for those who will read something on a screen, makes it easy for people to use email and social media when they want to share information.

In discussing the merits of print vs electronic media, though, print is really still the standard. There isn’t a marketing manager or media buyer we have spoken with who doesn’t have an inbox full of emails. And by the end of a long day at the office that is often spent working in front of a computer screen, not many people want to go home and read a magazine on a computer screen – including the marketing manager or media buyer. But the fact that our client’s magazine is made available in two formats satisfies the need to offer something electronic as well as something printed.

Because we also send our client’s magazine electronically, we do have supportive analytics available for open rates and we share that information with clients.

Our marketing efforts continue year-round on our publications. If there is extra money in the budget, a new product launch, or a new area representative, we want to know about it. Although we use a mixture of email and phone calls to gather information, we also make a point of speaking with our client’s associate members two or three times a year.

Additionally, one of the things that we encourage our clients to consider is allowing associate members to submit editorial content if the members support the publication through advertising. As you consider whether this is something you would like to do, understand the following:

  • We recognize the fine line between “pay to play” and giving preferential treatment for editorial space to those companies that have quality editorial and help make the publication possible through advertising. We do not encourage “advertorials.” It kills member interest in publications and makes it almost impossible to get anyone to look at the resulting magazines. Instead, we encourage quality editorial content on topics that are of interest to the general membership.
  • Columns from accounting firms and attorney firms are very popular with a premium ad buy. Accountants and attorneys typically make partner status in their respective firms by promoting their professional image, and nothing promotes professional image better than being published in an industry trade journal.

It is also important that the rates be low enough that a good number of a client’s associate members can participate. When rates are too high, only a few associate members can afford ad placement, and that makes the publication less attractive in a competitive market.

We have learned that we can make ad sales when the ad rates are reasonable, and that when one firm advertises, other firms with similar services will advertise as well. As a result, we work with our clients to make sure their ad rates are in line with other association publications for reach, frequency and circulation.

Describe your e-version platform. Electronic versions would ideally be responsive on all electronic devices, mobile included.

Magazine websites

Our view of electronic content delivery is customized based on our client’s needs, wants and of course website capacity. While we provide our clients with a magazine website, which we code and host, and make available via link, we can also simply provide an electronic version of the magazine in a PDF or “flippingbook” version, or both. We can custom create a website banner to be placed on your home page, that could be linked to the magazine website.

The magazine website that we provide our clients with are code using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to ensure mobile responsiveness.

Email Blast

We provide our clients with electronic delivery of their magazine using a custom template. We use SharpSpring because we like their security protocols, their analytics and reporting, and we especially like their database management protocols in regards to list maintenance. But, the best is the customization.

The template we custom create is mobile friendly and is supported across any platform. We create links in the email to the magazine site.

We provide our clients with the email for approval. Once approval is given we then send out the email blast, using a list provided by the client. After the email blast has gone out we provide a report regarding the email blast. This report includes: open rates, click through rates, unique clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, and such.

How often does your company redesign? How do you keep the magazines of partners new and exciting?

We will redesign your magazine as often as you would like – within reason and branding considerations, of course! However we really like the words “new” and “exciting.” We don’t like being bored any more than anyone else. Doing something fresh is one of our favorite things.

We’re a small enough company that we don’t have a specific process in place for redesign. We have regular staff meetings about all clients, and we have what is called a “group read,” where we do what the name implies: we read through a magazine (or project), as a group and talk about each page. When our staff makes comments like, “I really like how this spread looks,” or “the graphics are so nice and tight, plus the white space is amazing,” and our clients agree, then the publication is usually good as-is. However, there are times when the staff makes comments like, “Wow, this looks as tired as I feel!” or “Who made this, hope it wasn’t us,” and “We have got to get these client-made forms to look a little more even!” That is when we know it is time for a redesign.

Redesigns are a collaborative process – within our office and with our client. It’s important to us that our client is excited about the look and feel of their publication, and most importantly, that the look and feel is consistent with the association brand. Unfortunately, too many times we find that a client’s magazine has nothing to do with the rest of the association brand.

Additionally, we’re all about using a print magazine to drive traffic to a website or support event registration, and the use of virtual reality (QR codes for video streaming or downloading forms and PDFs) is a great way to engage the membership.

We’re also enthusiastic about the feel of paper, so we’re always up for something more interesting than the standard 70# glossy paper. As humans, we’re a tactile bunch and a print magazine is a great opportunity to engage the sense of touch to add interest and positively increase the reader experience. For magazines that are 32 pages and over, we can offer a square backed binding, which is something between a saddle-stich and a perfect bound finish, and adds a really clean finish to a publication.

What are the terms of disengagement?

We work with clients in two-year publishing terms. This gives us a good period of time to get a magazine running smoothly – with enough time to solve any problems – before we all talk about moving on to the proverbial greener grass.

Quite frankly, we believe that the grass is greener where it is watered. A relationship takes time to develop, and it takes a willingness on both our company and your organization to make it work. Good, effective communication isn’t for sissies, which is maybe why effective communication can also be hard to find, but we value your business and will treat you accordingly. We will do our best to have any difficult conversations with you that might be necessary so we can work through any problems.

At the end of the two-year publishing term, we will both have the opportunity to notify each other that things aren’t working and it is time to move on. The party that cancels, whether it is you or us, has to put it in writing and give it to the other party at least 90 days before the content due date of the last issue in the current publishing term.

We hate to lose clients. That’s because we are small enough to care and because we are big believers in making relationships work. Other than artistic differences, most client/publisher relationships have the same issues across the board, which means that those issues are a constant. Even though we understand there are times when it just makes sense to terminate a relationship, we would rather fix any problems instead. We don’t want any client to leave.

We’re proud of the fact that our publisher’s very first client is still a client. She began working with them 25 years ago, in 1992. The client left the company our publisher worked for, and our publisher left, too, but their relationship remained strong, and when outsourcing made sense again, the client came back to the relationship they like, knew and trusted – the one they have with our publisher, and they are now our client, and have been since 2009.

That is relationship gold.

Does your company have relevant experience?

When it comes to dues-paying members, relevant anything is the gold standard. In many cases, it’s the difference between engaging your membership and not. We believe that when it comes to communication with members, it’s even more important. Whether you communicate in print or electronic – and we think it should be both – quality in look, feel, content and adherence to brand can’t be understated.

Print is still the standard of communication within trade associations because it’s tactile and shows members what they are paying dues for. It’s a tangible ambassador of the association’s brand, efforts and activities. As a result, all professional media partners who create newsletters or magazines have the basics of relevant experience in publishing.

You will end up with a reasonably quality product if you work with any professional media/communications/publishing partner whose core competency is publishing. The market has only one or two graphic design programs, and the number of paper types and inks are also finite. The presses that are available today can print amazing and beautiful products for a relatively reasonable cost. These facts mean there is no excuse anymore for shoddy work or a sad looking association magazine; they also mean any professional company you choose can give you visibly quality work, if the criterion is measured strictly by ink on paper. That having been said, print quality still needs to engage readers. Is the design appealing enough for your members to spend the typical 47 minutes that most industry trade journals get from their readers? And is the content interesting enough for your members to exchange their time for your words?

Experience with the publication process by itself is probably not the deciding factor for you. People’s expectations are higher these days. Members also want communications electronically so they can easily share with colleagues and on social media. They have an expectation of being able to browse through something on a smart phone for quick reference.

How do we compare to other companies in our field for our work in print? We probably look like them superficially. We write, edit, and proof; make the results look nice; print and mail. It’s a reasonably simple process when the relationship with the client is good. Going past the superficial, though, you should know that we win awards all the time for our work – not just for design, but also for content and more importantly, for putting all together in a package that sends the intended message. Our awards include the following:

  • Marom
  • Hermes
  • APEX

Although we are proud of the awards we have won, we also understand that relevance is subjective. Whether our work is relevant for your association is something only you can determine. The answer will really be defined by what you want from a media/communications partner.

We believe that you should choose a company whose strengths are a good match for your organization’s needs, making sure that the company you choose to partner with has experience that is relevant to your specific needs, so the result of your communication efforts are not only representative of your association, but are also something that your members see as being valuable.

Most clients want a quality product, with the least amount of resources spent, whether those resources are money, staff time or just plain sanity. To get that, you need to decide whether your organization has good synergy with your chosen partner. What can you do together? How well do you communicate? And most importantly, is what you want something the company actually provides and is good at?

  • If your organization needs hands-on collaboration and enjoys brainstorming graphic ideas and wants to talk “look and feel,” you should probably look toward a company that is smaller in size, encourages creativity, and makes its graphic design staff available to clients.
  • If you view your communication efforts as a necessary evil and just want it done and off your plate, a larger company with a very tight “one-size fits all” approach would make the most sense.

When it comes to choosing a partner for your communication efforts, we would like to think we’re always the best choice. More realistically though, we have found that our most successful clients share some common characteristics:

  1. Communicating with members is a priority for you. This is pretty basic to the publishing equation. Even though our staff does the majority of the work, your organization’s commitment to communication is the key when preparing and submitting timely editorial content. Relevant communication takes time and focus. If this is not on the top of your internal priority list, editorial gets moved and overlooked. The result is a publication that is late and, usually, less interesting to your membership.
  2. You want to produce a top-notch publication but have limited resources. If your office has a large number of employees and financial resources to match, there is little reason to outsource your publishing activities. However, this isn’t the case for most trade associations. Our service exists because our clients can’t and don’t want to do it all themselves.
  3. The board, the staff, and the staff person in charge of the publication are all committed to outsourcing. Outsourcing is certainly not a panacea for the trade association world. If your organization has mixed feelings about outsourcing, the frustration on both sides can make it very difficult to turn out a quality publication on an ongoing basis. We will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure we do our part. If the association is committed to doing its part, too, then the publication will most likely succeed.
  4. You have realistic expectations. Outsourcing is not a cure-all for problem publications. We face the same publishing issues your organization does. The main difference is that we have more people focused on the publishing process. However, we cannot manufacture time, we do not print money, and the problems your publication faces will still exist even after we begin working with you. For example, if late editorial was a constant problem for your organization before we became involved, or you have been completely unsuccessful at generating ad revenue on your own, these issues will continue to be problems for your publication. While outsourcing is a strategy that works well – especially in publishing – it is a strategy that is most successful when our company and your organization collaborate well together, known problems are discussed, and a solution strategy is in place.

We believe that working with clients should have natural synergy beyond the mechanics of production and the numbers produced by the ad revenue. Publishing is a creative process. People who enjoy working together have an easier time of finding the sweet spot that occurs when people are creating an entirely new and worthwhile product. Publishing is certainly a craft, but any craft, at its best, is also art.

< Read More about our Awards >

Does your company have writing capabilities?

One thing that makes our company different from other publishers is that we do frequently write original content. Although a few of our clients provide all their own content, the majority require some help. Our staff writers regularly provide clients with editorial content on a wide range of topics such as banking, mining, and medicine.

Our staff writers have extensive writing backgrounds. They have degrees in English and Journalism and have worked previously as technical writers and editors. If you need a detailed white paper, you probably need a writer who has specific industry knowledge, but we find that most professional journals and industry magazines only need us to do the following:

  • Present the subject matter in a well-written, interesting and accurate way.
  • Make the point succinctly and in a way as to support the association’s mission and values.

We can do that for you after conducting thorough research, identifying good stories, and working with you to make sure we tell the story you need us to tell.

We want to make a positive contribution to the reader’s association experience. Research and surveys have told us that the average time a reader spends with an industry-related publication is 47 minutes. Our goal is to help our clients use that time well.

We provide whatever support our clients need. You might need the following:

  • Meetings with your editorial board: We can either attend the planning conference or phone in via a conference call.
  • Editorial support: We can conduct interviews and write member profiles, member-focused editorial content on new board members, and other people-related editorial content as needed.
  • Interviews: We can approach industry experts, as you direct, for specific editorial content on topics of interest within an industry.
  • Creation of in-depth feature articles: We will write these under your direction.
  • Creation of other editorial content: We work with publication advertisers to provide editorial content about topics of interest, as directed and/or approved by you. We make sure that we are not publishing advertorials and calling them editorials.
  • Curation: We can curate industry editorial that is available as reprints.
  • Photography: We have photographers on staff. If you need photos, and it fits within the scope of our budgeted services, we’re happy to send our photographer to take photos.

Well-written content creates value that resonates within the membership and adds to the membership experience in ways that nothing else can. As one example of this, we recently worked with a community banking client to publish a 50th Anniversary Book. Our client had many photos, but no written history to go with it. We suggested writing about the association’s fifty presidents, from 1967 to 2017, with the biographies developed around the answers to four questions.

  • What got them into the banking field?
  • What was their best day?
  • What was their worst day?
  • What did they learn?

We would find as many presidents as possible, have them tell their stories, and let the association’s story evolve from the resulting narrative.

Our idea worked.

We found the presidents who were still alive and spoke with them, but some presidents had passed away. For them, we located obituaries, found living relatives, and pieced together their stories from colleagues who knew them.

The result was inspiring for the association and for our staff. One gentleman we interviewed was admitted into the hospital within a week of our interview with him. He was excited about our interview, and we felt that seeing it would cheer him up, so we wrote the biography, typeset it and sent a copy overnight to the hospital for him to see while still conscious. After he passed away, the biography we wrote was read at his funeral.

Good stories can change lives. As we’ve seen that, we have become passionate about helping our clients tell their stories.

< Read More about Content >

Do you provide the layout/graphic design for the magazine before printing?

We have three fulltime graphic designers on staff. All of our designers have degrees in graphic design, and they are all exceptional. We have won many awards for excellence in publishing over the years for our work on behalf of our clients. We would not have won those awards without their help.

We prefer that content be submitted in word format, with corresponding photos in a separate file. If you have a form, like a registration form, we prefer it to be submitted as a high res PDF.

We discourage clients from submitting PDFs for events and notices with the expectation that we simply place them in the publication, as many times the look and feel of the PDFs, don’t translate well into the look and feel of the publication. We’re happy to create whatever flyers, event notices and association “ads” our client need for their publications – which of course, they can use other places as well.

In our opinion, a magazine should feel as though it’s a part of the association brand. The “look and feel” of a publication is a collaborative effort with our clients. We will redesign your magazines as often as you would like – within reason and branding considerations, of course! However we really like the words “new” and “exciting.” We don’t like being bored any more than anyone else. Doing something fresh is one of our favorite things. We know how important good design is to any great publication, and when it is done right, we know the design has emotional appeal as well. To help our designers come up with the best possible work, we invest in continuous training for our staff so they are familiar with the latest trends and the newest tools.

We’re a small enough company that we don’t have a specific process in place for redesign. We have regular staff meetings about all clients, and we have what is called a “group read,” where we do what the name implies: we read through a magazine (or project), as a group and talk about each page. When our staff makes comments like, “I really like how this spread looks,” or “the graphics are so nice and tight, plus the white space is amazing,” and our clients agree, then the publication is usually good as-is. However, there are times when the staff makes comments like, “Wow, this looks as tired as I feel!” or “Who made this, hope it wasn’t us,” and “We have got to get these client-made forms to look a little more even!” That is when we know it is time for a redesign.

Redesigns are a collaborative process within our office and with our client. It’s important to us that our client is excited about the look and feel of their publication, and most importantly, that the look and feel is consistent with the association brand. Unfortunately, there are too many times we have found that a client’s magazine has nothing to do with the rest of the association brand.

We use InDesign, Photoshop and Publisher as our design software, and we use Getty Images for general graphics and videos. We have photographers on staff if specific and original photographs are required. As needed, our designers have also custom lettered mastheads and created original art for magazine covers.

We’re also enthusiastic about the feel of paper, so we’re always up for something more interesting than the standard 70# glossy paper. As humans, we’re a tactile bunch and a print magazine is a great opportunity to engage the sense of touch to add interest and positively increase the reader experience. For magazines that are 32 pages and over, we can offer a square backed binding, which is something between a saddle-stich and a perfect bound finish, and adds a really clean finish to a publication.

Additionally, we’re all about using a print magazine to drive traffic to a website or support event registration, and the use of augmented reality (QR codes for video streaming or downloading forms and PDFs) is a great way to engage the membership. We provide a client “file” on our website for uploading content, and we have an editorial form that many of our clients have found helpful. We also have clients who simply prefer to email, which is fine too.

What partners will use to produce the magazine and clearly delineate who is in-house and who is not?

We’re a full-service marketing and communications agency, which means that everything is done in-house except the actual printing and mailing. We have worked with our current printer for over eight years, have an excellent relationship with them, and are their largest client. Our printer also mails our publications.

Many of the printer’s equipment purchases have been made with us and our clients in mind and our in-house proof printer is calibrated to match our printer’s press, making the print process easier. Our offices are located within fifteen minutes of each other, and our staffers attend trainings together on a regular basis. Given our long history together, we enjoy a strong partnership. Our printer has pulled out many “rush” jobs for us on behalf of clients who sent late or last minute material that had to be included in a certain publication – yet we still needed to keep to the mail deadlines due to conventions or events. Our printer has always gone above and beyond.

We have a non-solicitation and confidentiality agreement in place with our printer, which protects mailing lists from selling and/or sharing. However, in the eight plus years we have worked with our printer, there has never been an issue with missed deadlines or sloppy handling of confidential information.

Is there any remuneration to the association?

Our figures:

  • Are based on annual calculations and our goal is to sell ads annually as well. We want to make sure that we have enough revenue to publish all four issues for the year.
  • Cover publishing costs and a modest overhead of 7 percent. We make our profit when our client does: after all publishing costs have been met.

Our business model is based on the idea that communication with association members is the lifeblood of an organization, and that failure to create a quality publication compromises our reputation and also the reputation of our clients with their associate members. We have seen a royalty or fee-based publishing model used by other publishers. When that system is used and too few ads are sold, the quality of the publication (and sometimes the entire project) is in jeopardy. As a result, we do not guarantee a royalty or a fee to a client. Instead, we always cover publishing costs before we calculate the profit.

It makes sense for us to share profits on an equal basis (50/50) with our client because that approach encourages mutual collaboration on the project from beginning to end. When a magazine is funded entirely by advertising, as our generally are, it also makes sense to limit the risk to us and to our clients, and to make sure that the publication is actually printed and mailed to the quality specifications presented in the media kit.

Most of our clients do not require their associate members to advertise in their publications. Depending on how receptive your associate members are, filling 16 pages of advertising out of a 32-page magazine may be a reasonable undertaking, or it may be an ambitious work-in-progress over the publishing year. We have found, however, that when the goal is mutual profit sharing, both organizations – yours and ours – work toward that end in a much more reasonable fashion.

Full profit sharing happens when all available “ad pages” within each of the four issues per year are sold. We calculate “ad pages” on a 50/50 ad-to-content ratio. However, profit sharing can certainly happen before all “ad pages” are sold; it will just be less profitable than it would be with the 50/50 ad-to-content ratio.