Behind EXCEL: ISPA Pulse Magazine

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In this series, we talk with the people who created some of this year’s most exciting EXCEL Award-winning work to find the story behind the project. For more stories behind this year’s EXCEL Awards, look for the August-September issue of Signature magazine.


Go here for a full list of this year’s EXCEL winners.


The International Spa Association won a silver EXCEL Award in Magazines: Single Topic Issue (10,000 or fewer) for ISPA Pulse magazine’s September 2017 Marketing Issue. We asked Kelly Heitz, Pulse editor, to tell us a little bit more about this project.


Sidebar: What makes this entry special?


Heitz: The September 2017 Marketing Issue was just fun to put together. The content was fun and relevant, which allowed our designer to really spread her wings and get creative. Two of our new junior staff members who had never been published contributed some great content. That was inspiring.


Our members really resonated with the content in this issue. Last year was my first year with ISPA, so by the September issue, I was feeling much more connected to the membership and what they wanted. It was one of the first issues where I completely spearheaded the content and direction, so I’m very proud of everything inside. Then the cover was an image both the designer and I fell in love with. It was fun, vibrant, and our members loved it.


Sidebar: What notable hurdles did you overcome to create this?


Heitz: In 2017, our annual conference was held in October, which meant this issue was awkwardly in between two of our biggest issues of the year — the pre-conference and on-site issues. We had to work extra hard in all areas — editorial, design, and ad sales — to make this issue stand out.


Sidebar: What was your greatest achievement during the process?


Heitz: My greatest achievement was helping two of our staff members — who aren’t on the Pulse team — who showed an interest in writing. I was able to work closely with them to hone their voice and natural talent to fit our publication. The result was two incredible marketing articles that our members loved.