The message was clear: Innovate to thrive.
It was a guiding light and the backbone of all the presentations at the 2017 Lane Press Publishers’ Conclave. The event — hosted by Lane Press and sponsored by Lane Press and Association Media & Publishing — was held October 25-27 at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort and Spa.
Wayne Peterson, executive vice president and COO of Lane Press, says the goal of the conclave was to bring together genuine innovators — practitioners who are pushing the boundaries of conventional publishing to share actionable, transferable ideas and real-world examples. “You won’t find a pundit, talking head, or endless slide deck anywhere,” he says. “Our speakers are creating highly interactive sessions.”
With sessions such as, “Intellectual Property: Is Your Copyright Notice Enough?” “Face to Face: Bonding Through Events,” “Dodging Disaster: How an Association Brought Ad Sales In-House to Save the Day,” and “Good Luck With That: Upending a University Magazine,” Lane Press did not disappoint in bringing together a substantial menu with plenty of food for thought.
"Rule #1: Never Bore Your Reader"
Rick Pullen’s keynote presentation followed his own advice offering attendees a session that was anything but boring.
“We need to push back against the number crunchers. Readers don’t want to read about what is safe,” says Pullen, editor in chief of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ Leader’s Edge magazine. “Many of us work for bosses who don’t know publishing. They are afraid to tell a story that might offend a member. That’s why most association publications go unread. That’s why advertisers are pulling out.”
Pullen says it is common to hear about innovations in virtually all areas of publishing, but not in storytelling. That’s a problem.
“Niche publications are in the driver’s seat, but they still must provide good content. Give your readers something worth reading,” he says. “I have to make insurance sexy. They make movies about Wall Street, they don’t make movies about insurance. If I can make insurance sexy, you can make your niche sexy.”
Stressing the importance of remembering that stories are not just words, Pullen gave examples of paying attention to the medium, the design, the art, and the execution. He showed an example of an issue of Leader’s Edge that used a variety of printing techniques to showcase different advancements in technology that would affect the insurance industry.
For more proof of his point, Pullen turned to pop culture.
“Who here has read 50 Shades of Grey? Come on. Be honest,” Pullen says. “I tried reading it. I’ll admit it. I tried, but the writing was just so bad. I couldn’t stay with it because the writing was so bad, it was distracting. But millions of people have read it.
“The story matters.”