2023 new year goal,plan,action concepts with text on notepad and office accessories.Business management,Inspiration to success ideas

Diversification, a ‘Whole’ Workforce and New Products Are Part of BIMS Speakers 2023 Road Map

A prominent media study reported that we should “expect to see a correction in the creator economy this year. The pressure of delivering to constant deadlines on your own is relentless. Collectives and micro-companies could be a new trend for 2023.” Hebba Youssef, our Luncheon keynote at BIMS 2023, represents Workweek, which personifies this new creator economy.

“It started off with a very simple concept,” says Subha Barry, president of Seramount and a speaker at BIMS 2023, in a Working Nation video last year.

“If every employee felt like they could be their entire whole selves as they came into work—and they found a way to belong, and in that belonging felt comfortable bringing their best thoughts and ideas, their most creative abilities, their most powerful competencies, their superpower—and bring it to the office, and put it to play and use on behalf of the company, think about what that company would look like.”

Released last year, Reuters Institute’s Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2023 offered prescriptions for fixing the media’s industry’s shortcomings. In the conclusion, they state that “journalism will need to emphasize its human qualities and its track record of delivering trusted content if it is to stand out from the flood of automated and synthetic media that threatens to overwhelm internet audiences.”

For that trusted content to flow, much of Barry’s dream scenario will have to come closer to reality. Here are more survey findings and the BIMS speakers who will surely propel their conversations further:

Diversify your revenue. From the study: Publishers say that, on average, three or four different revenue streams will be important or very important this year. A third (33%) now expect to get significant revenue from tech platforms for content licensing (or innovation), significantly up on last year. From Chris Ferrell, CEO, Endeavor Business Media: “We built EBM with the idea that it would be resilient. If sentiment moves away from certain products, we have many others that can take up the slack. If certain industries are struggling, then we have others that are having a good year and can make up for softness elsewhere. That is the whole idea behind diversification. It worked during Covid, and I expect it to allow us to navigate whatever 2023 throws our way as well.”

Adds Elizabeth Deeming, the former B2B SVP at Future: “There are huge benefits for publishers in diversifying revenue streams and exploring alternative avenues. At Future, we created a Future Wheel— made up of our different monetization streams—from print, advertising, video production, to e-commerce.”

Bundle your joy. From the study: An alternative approach has been to try to lock subscribers in through bundling additional features or complementary brands. From Rhonda Wunderlin, SVP, performance marketing, Questex: “Aim toward a single view of your user meaning integrating and standardizing data sources; once that is accomplished look at your gaps—research shows 60-80% of web visitors are unidentified. Then capture the intent information to serve the right content to your users via all mediums and all products. This allows you to then include new monetization opportunities—use this data for your editorial team, your product decisions, content including events and to help your customers determine how to best reach their users.”

New product launches. From the study: There is less satisfaction that products and features are being developed quickly enough—just 41% feel their company does a good job in this respect. Even fewer (23%) feel news organizations are good at shutting down old products that have less value, which tends to slow down progress elsewhere. From Sean Griffey, CEO of Industry Dive, who will receive the McAllister Top Management Fellowship at BIMS: “Long-term, I’m particularly excited about how we might jointly [along with new owner Informa] build new data products. The media and demand generation landscapes are rapidly changing. The next great company is being built today and it will leverage niche communities, first-party data, and world-class marketing services. Tying online interests and actions to in-person behaviors will create something truly unique.”

Use remote to expand your talent pool and content. From the survey: We find almost universal enthusiasm for explanatory journalism (94%) and Q&A formats (87%) this year, but less enthusiasm around ideas like ‘solutions journalism’ (73%)—let alone moves to increase the number of positive stories (48%)… Audiences want journalists to continue to cover difficult stories, and that they also want more inspiration, a broader agenda, and more fun. From Terri Travis, VP of human resources, Industry Dive: “We expect the B2B media workforce will continue to place an emphasis on accepting and welcoming remote workers. The teams that work in the digital media world can provide deeply powerful content from anywhere they like.”


Editorial and Sponsor Podcast Content Is Acted on, New Study and EXCEL Winners Say

We often hear the retort, “I’m not buying that.” But a new study says that podcaster listeners are buying not only the editorial content they hear but the products being advertised as well. Almost all frequent listeners have shown love for advertisers in some way. With the 2023 EXCEL Awards Regular Deadline on Friday, here are some previous EXCEL podcast winners to offer more proof to the power of this growing medium.

“I’m just glad I brushed my hair today,” says a woman, with a joyous tinge of at-least-I-had-time-for-that, thus beginning the 2022 EXCEL Gold Award winner for Best Single Podcast Episode. The moderator then says, “Strategies for Working Moms and the Future of Patient Friendly Payment on Voices in Healthcare Finance, sponsored by ClearBalance.” Cue the music, and we’re under way.

The Healthcare Financial Management Association aired the hot-button, working moms episode with guests from McKinsey & Company. This came a couple months after the BLS reported that 865,000 women over the age of 20 dropped out of the workplace in September 2020. Host Erika Grotto later brought on Brad Dennison, HFMA’s director of content strategy, to discuss their December cover story about the financial risks of deferred care. (We love when events push our own content people.)

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals won the EXCEL Silver Award for Best Single Podcast Episode for “Old Man Psoas: The Rebel MT” with Allison Denney. In the first minute we hear: “Anatomy Trains [a sponsor] is delighted to announce a brand new livestream specialty class on September 18th—Lumbo Pelvic Stability…” And “This episode is brought to you by the Massage Mentor Institute…” When host Denney finally comes on, her prose is lyrical: “It is a little overwhelming to dip your toe into the sea of anatomical knowledge, only to find that it is a bottomless ocean.”

Think those early ads might distract or turn off listeners? Think again.

According to new research from Acast, 95% of U.S. listeners have taken action in response to podcast advertising, and that rises to 97% for frequent listeners. Podcast fans are willing to listen to advertising to support their favorite shows—82% in the U.S. feel that way and 66% in Canada. Of those who feel that podcasters are like friends, 77% in the U.S. and 55% in Canada are willing to listen to ads all the time. And 82% of US and 67% of Canadians follow a podcaster on social media.

Podcasts “replicate the way people would react” to magazines, Donna Murphy, deputy managing director of Haymarket Business Media—a company increasing its investment in podcasts after seeing a 300% rise in listeners—said recently. “We see podcasts as a key audience engagement tool, and as we continue to move away from print in some areas, it’s a perfect medium to build personality and tone. Like magazines, podcasts are episodic and have clear structures.”

DC Thomson head of podcasts Christopher Phin added that they are “looking at what can podcasts do for us, where are the successes, what does success look like, and coming to the realization that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for what podcasts can do for a publisher, no one answer to how are you measuring success with your podcast.”

One of their podcasts, launched in 2020 from the 153-year-old women’s weekly The People’s Friend, converted 2% of listeners into magazine subscribers.

The 2022 Gold EXCEL Award winner in Best Podcast (Series) was the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for its ASHA Voices: Gender-Inclusive Services. In one episode, Greg Robinson, a faculty member at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, “shares guidance on how to approach conversations on gender—including information on the ‘they/them’ pronoun—and provides history and context for the conversation.” In another episode later in the year, NCAA men’s basketball champion and NBA veteran Michael Kidd-Gilchrist joins ASHA Voices to “share his experiences as a person who stutters. He also discusses his related advocacy work he does through his nonprofit initiative Change and Impact.”

Audio in general is becoming much more standardized. Podcastle’s new text-to-speech feature called Revoice allows publishers to produce audio content by typing into a text document. Revoice automates repetitive but important content creation, including as advertising copy, episode intros and voiceovers. “Users must record themselves reading 70 distinct sentences, along with a legal disclaimer,” writes MediaPost. “Podcastle’s AI-powered learning algorithm will then process and generate a digital copy of the voice within 24 hours.”


2023 new year goal,plan,action concepts with text on notepad and office accessories.Business management,Inspiration to success ideas

As ‘Robot Era’ Approaches, Opportunities Will Knock in Other Ways for Publishers

“Trying to compete on efficiency with robots never works, they always win.” Reading that quote on the subject of AI in journalism by Brian Morrissey, former president and EIC of Digiday, reminds me of chess bots. The latest one, Mittens the Cat, not only won 99% of its millions of games but trash talked while doing it, before being shut down. “Goodbye for now,” Mittens tweeted.

Morrissey’s quote came in an article by Sara Fischer on Axios yesterday titled Media Braces for the Robot Era. His point was that media must continue to play to its niches—music to B2B’s ears. “You’re going to have to get even more specialized as a publisher,” Morrissey said.

I was led to that story by a tweet from veteran journalist and fellow Rutgers alum S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media and Epicenter NYC. She spoke of “the need to laser focus on audience, not traffic. Now to undo ‘the robotic behavior with which we were committing journalism; it’s questionable whether writing about National Donut Day really served anybody.’”

Last year, Kalita wrote in a similar vein, about wanting the media to be of more use: “We think people subscribe for the words we write. We are wrong. Especially during a pandemic, the need for human connectivity triumphs. Media, especially outlets rooted in geography or identity, have an opportunity to be the glue in their communities. By doing so, we also enable solutions to be found in the literal crowd and for our audiences to connect through common interests and purpose.”

Here are five strategies that publishers can employ to succeed in the “Robot Era.”

Be of more use. “At Brief, we are emphatic about placing the right people in the right jobs,” Elizabeth Green, CEO of Brief Media, told us. “We do an extensive amount of personality profiling, including looking at motivating factors. My personal number one motivating factor is altruism.” It’s clear that Green—who will speak on the CEO panel at BIMS—looks for people who want to be of more use. She shared how their investment in the success and well-being of others—from mentoring local entrepreneurs to traveling the world to eradicate disease with the Mission Rabies project—has translated into business success, including partnerships and employee satisfaction and retention.

Collaborate with outside organizations. Sarah Stonbely, research director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, wrote last year about the value of newsrooms and civil society organizations teaming up. There’s no reason B2B and associations can’t reach out more in this way. “These projects are almost always topic-driven; corruption, climate change and women’s health appear to be the most common subjects. Information producers, especially journalists, can no longer rely on their content being seen via the usual channels. Collaborating with NGOs, universities [HBCUs let’s hope], data visualization shops, and others helps their content have a broader reach.” Also, there’s now a “necessity of myriad skillsets—technology, data, language and cultural considerations—that a single newsroom might not contain. Outside organizations can provide this supplementary expertise.”

Get behind a good cause. Sustainability, DEI and climate change are all huge issues today, particularly for young people—83% of millennials say it’s important that companies they buy from also align with their values, and 73% of 35-54 year olds and 60% of 55+ year olds agree. We all want to feel like we’re contributing in our own way. Data from an Axios/Harris poll found that public perception of companies is deeply impacted by how much those companies can promise a better future for society. According to the poll, companies with the most momentum included those brands putting those commitments front and center. In a Disqus survey, people said they pay for content to “support a publication’s mission and success.”

Think community not local. Kalita makes another good point: We hear so much today about the importance of local news. While that might not have previously resonated as much in B2B, remote work has changed local to communities. She points to an interview she did with Jennifer Gomez, co-founder and CMO of oneKIN, an online marketplace for retailers and entrepreneurs of color. “She told me consumers define ‘local’ differently than before, with a focus now on size and intimacy over location. Example: A friend of mine wants to only buy Christmas gifts from Black-owned small businesses; she’s happy to criss-cross the country (and internet) to find them.”

Don’t shy away from big issues—brand purpose matters. The Atlantic built on the success of Robinson Meyer’s climate change newsletter The Weekly Planet to introduce a slew of writer-driven subscriber newsletters last fall. (They have 15 now, including Dear Therapist and How to Build a Life.) Almost two-thirds of marketers “at least sometimes change the tone of an email in reaction to what’s happening around the world.” Edelman research from 2020 revealed that 65% of people surveyed stated that how a company responded to Covid-19 would have a huge impact on their likelihood to buy the brand in the future. At BIMS we’ll hear from Hebba Youssef of Workweek, the next iteration of a writer- (or Creator- as they frame it) driven company.

Sarah Gaydos Emerging Talent

For This IMPACT Award Winner, Social Good and Good Design Go (Diverse) Hand in Hand

In the fourth of a series on our 10 IMPACT Award winners, Sarah Gaydos, art director at GRAPHEK, talks about creating concept-driven and strategic design solutions. She won in the Emerging Talent category. “It’s really exciting to see everybody putting a lot more emphasis on [DEI] and making sure that people are seeing themselves in the designs that we create,” she said.

In addition to being an 18-time award winner—including 11 EXCELs—GRAPHEK art director Sarah Gaydos has done it all in design, all through the lens of DEI. Her designs stem from deep creative insights, an understanding of audiences, and how to incorporate relatable design elements into her visual design strategy and solutions.

She has advocated for herself and the other designers for additional Paid Time Off for mental wellness, better benefits for all employees, and providing feedback to the company handbook to be more inclusive. Gaydos also takes it on herself to onboard new designers, implement project management software, ask volunteers to help on projects, and organize team-building outings.

Here are highlights from our Zoom interview.

AMPlify: As a designer, what do you see as your biggest strength and how has that developed over the years?
Sarah Gaydos: I’d say layout. One of my first loves was magazine and report design. But I also love data visualization, so [I enjoy] trying to bring data into visual storytelling in a dynamic way and making it scannable, so that people are seeing those impactful numbers. I always try to find opportunities to bring that in. My degree was in publications design and data visualization. As I’ve grown, I’d say the emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in layout is something that I feel like we’re doing as an industry.

That’s so important in how we present things today. My pet peeve with illustrations is seeing white hands everywhere.
Sarah: Yes, I feel like even just within illustrations [there’s a responsibility]. [White hands] are like the go-to, and it shouldn’t be like that anymore. I make sure that when I’m doing sketching—we still do a lot of pen-to-paper which we love—I’m thinking it through: “What does this look like for all people?” Not just making it a bunch of white hands or white hair styles.

Back to the data visualization. Do you require different elements from your writers now?
Sarah: We have kickoff calls with them at the beginning of every issue or project, thinking through where we could best pull in those hard numbers that we need. And also where we can pull in some of the soft infographics—trying to bring in diagrams or visual storytelling that way because I know it is hard to gather data, especially if your members are survey tired.

Have you been able to return those meetings to in-person? How did it work during the pandemic?
Sarah: It’s great to be able to do the kickoff meetings or wrap-up meetings in person. But when we’re generally presenting concepts or talking through what designs would look like, those have often been online. So it wasn’t a crazy shift into the pandemic, which was nice. The one thing I’ve liked about Zoom is seeing people’s backgrounds and having a little bit of their personalities peek through.

How do you see yourself growing in the next couple years? Are there other things that you’d like to be doing within this job?
Sarah: I started as a designer at GRAPHEK and have worked my way up to art director. I love that we’re geared towards social good and doing work for people and organizations that make an impact on the world. It feels self-fulfilling—as much as I love design, I’m doing it for good causes. So I definitely want to continue that and take a more active role in leading and guiding young designers on our team and having them see their full potential and making an impact in the association communities. [I’ll] continue to push these important social justice rules like causes. And just really try to grow as a leader within our team and move into that role a little bit more.

I’ve been working in associations most of my career; I’ve always liked the idea that we’re helping good, hard-working folks.
Sarah: I have friends that work for some big agencies, and I’m like that’s really cool, but I would much rather be working on something about climate change and the reports on impacts of planting a tree than a Coca-Cola campaign or an ad about McDonald’s. It’s just much more satisfying, and it makes you feel good when you go to work vs. just trying to get the paycheck.

Is there anything else you you’d like to add?
Sarah: There’s no way I would be here on my own without the support of the GRAPHEK team and my mentor Ellen Kim. She’s just been a huge inspiration. It’s a big team effort for everything that we do.


Woman entrepreneur busy with her work in office. Young woman talking over telephone while working on computer at her desk. (Woman entrepreneur busy with her work in office. Young woman talking over telephone while working on computer at her desk., ASC

‘The Hybrid Model Will Continue’; BIMS 2023 Future of Work Panel to Offer Updated Blueprint

We see many strategies for in-person office requirements vs. working remotely these days. And you’ll read a couple more below. But Terri Travis, VP of human resources at Industry Dive, who will speak to the future of work at BIMS 2023, seems to make the most sense when she told us: “We routinely ask our team what’s important to them to get a sense of where things stand. We ask how do we meet them where they want to be.”

On the episode of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Saturday, the weekly quiz show on NPR, the question was asked: “The company Shopify says they have increased productivity by the equivalent of roughly 95,000 hours of work this year by simply doing what?”

“Getting a cattle prod and zapping the workers?” was incorrect.

“All of this could have just been discussed over an email after all” was the hint.

“No more meetings” was the answer. “Deleted 12,000 recurring meetings from their calendars.” “We actually tried this idea of cancelling meetings this week,” said guest host Peter Gross. “We cancelled one—completely eliminated our regular Thursday punchline meeting. And you know what happened?” Long pause.

An article in The Washington Post last week suggested that “the beginning of the year is a good time to audit your meetings, work experts say. Review all recurring meetings on your calendar. Consider which are necessary and effective, and make changes as needed,” said Steven Rogelberg, who teaches organizational science, management and psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

BIMS 2023, Feb. 23-24 in Orlando, will have this covered. One of the most anticipated sessions is The Future of Work in B2B Media—so valued by us that it will be the Closing Keynote. The speakers are: Nick Schacht, chief global development officer, SHRM; Kevin Turpin, president, National Journal; and Terri Travis, VP of human resources, Industry Dive. While they may not be in favor of cancelling all meetings, they will offer pivotal perspectives on where the industry is headed.

Here are 5 previous assessments from this esteemed panel:

Move forward. It’s not going back to the way it was. “The 40-hour work week will evolve and won’t look the same in the years to come,” Travis told us by email. “Workplaces will need to remain flexible to recruit and retain team members. I don’t envision workplaces returning to a pre-2020 model. The ‘hybrid’ model—meaning in-office some days and working remotely on others—will continue.”

The lead story in The Washington Post today was headlined, “Offices half-full, likely to stay there.” While 50% of people are back at their desks, the article reported, “overall growth in office occupancy has begun to level off in recent months.”

Spend more time “outside” your own organization. Previously, Turpin (pictured) had spoken more broadly about transformation. “When businesses are trying to recreate themselves and change, they spend too much time inside, in strategy meetings, batting around ideas that they think will work. We don’t spend enough time going around. How are [our customers’] jobs changing? What are they thinking about? What are they investing in this year? This will give you solutions.” Even more so now, with all our work parameters changing.

Consider different in-office formulas. “The shift to remote work gave employees a lot more power and control,” said Travis. “If companies do not provide flexible workplace environments, they will not be competitive in the market and will suffer from a retention perspective. We have already seen this on the front half with our recruiting efforts. I don’t envision a five-days-a-week, in-office requirement coming back in the short term. However, some team members find it useful to meet with their colleagues and departments in-office and we support that as well.” Ring Central is moving from requiring workers to come in 3 days a week to 30 days a quarter. It gives employees more latitude in how they allocate their time, said COO Mo Katibeh.

Be careful of coding bias. In a podcast with Justin Brady back in April, Nick Shacht spoke about code bias. “If you have a biased approach to evaluating resumes, which you can have in-person too, then you just code that biased approach into the system. You just make those biased decisions that much faster. That’s a problem.” Developers need to be extremely careful on what we tell the AI to do and what bias we code in, for example even requiring degrees or certifications, while overlooking more valuable skills. “We have these legacy requirements for, must have a college degree. Well, ask yourself the question, why?” Shacht explained when speaking about a sales role. “There’s a whole other set of skills that actually can contribute to success in that profession.”

Ask customers and members what has changed for them. “We had a really deep dedication to getting to know our audience as best we could,” Turpin said. “Knowing what their top challenges are, how those challenges are changing? ‘What are the new things that are getting into your budget that wasn’t there five years ago? How are you managing the office differently?’ We spent a year with our customers, asking them a set of questions over and over. The most important one was, ‘What keeps you effective?’”