Use Real Faces and Address Underserved Groups; EXCEL Award Finalists Offer Replicable Examples

Awards season has definitively kicked in at the Associations, Media & Publishing Network . We had our Neal Awards celebration for B2B journalism on Wednesday and this coming Wednesday, June 16, our EXCEL Awards celebration takes center stage. (And then on June 22 and 23 we will showcase our CODiE Awards.)

As I wrote last week, much of the impetus to launch our AM&P Network was the idea that each group—B2B media companies, niche publishers and association publishing professionals—can all learn from each other. There’s no better example of this than the awards.  Last week I highlighted several of the EXCEL finalists and the lessons they imparted, and I said this should be a series.

Welcome to Part 2. Today I spotlight more of the EXCEL Award finalists and what they’re doing right that others can emulate.

It also will be worth your valuable while to attend the EXCELS presentation. There will be myriad ways to connect there, be it networking, staff gatherings or just to cheer on your favorite finalists. Register for the overall event—Reset, Reinvention and Revenue—here, the EXCELS celebration here (it’s free) and see all the EXCEL finalists here.

Use real faces. American Bankers Association’s Banking Journal Magazine is a finalist for Dedicated Issue for their August 2020 issue titled, We Were Economic First Responders. The cover art (pictured here) shows La Fonda Williams working on PPP loan applications at her desk at First Sound Bank in Seattle. The photo is so good that, at first, I was looking for the Getty credit. Marketing consultant Amy Africa once pleaded with us to use real faces from our businesses instead of canned ones, and you can see why. We respond to emotion, she said. “We have bartenders in our brain and they’re constantly mixing cocktails to become faster and smarter and more involved. We are not thinking machines that feel; we are feeling machines that think.”

Make it easy for your members to amplify. The National Association of Realtors is a finalist for the category of Best Campaign – Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. Their project was called the NAR Fair Housing Consumer Ad Campaign. On their website they have a page titled Fair Housing Assets that includes a very well-done 30-second video—“We are Realtors, experts at what we do, advocates for what we believe”—print ads of all sizes, animated socials ads—“This Post Won’t End Discrimination in Real Estate. People Will.” and “We All Share the Same Home”—Zoom backgrounds, a billboard and a poster.

Address an underserved niche. The Credit Union Executive Society (CUES) is a finalist for General Excellence in Newsletters for its quarterly publication, Advancing Women. “Information and inspiration for current and aspiring female credit union executives and those who support them.” There are articles—10 Strategies for Overcoming Impostor Syndrome; NextGen Know-How: Beware of Compare—videos—Solid Salary Negotiation Strategies for Female Leaders at All Levels; Making Space for Women on Boards—and podcasts—The Evolution to Modern Leadership.

Use your website to engage and maybe even thrill. The Society of Actuaries & GLC is a finalist in the Best Magazine Website for The Actuary Magazine. This proves that no matter your subject, you can show exciting—and valuable—content. One of the features is Climbing Koko: Meditations on Life, Career and Mountain Climbing. “When I look back on my life since college, I can broadly divide it into four phases/focuses with four clear goals,” writes Jing Lang. “1) Writing actuarial exams (obtaining fellowship); 2) Career advancement (promotions); 3) Diverse learning (becoming a polymath); and 4) Introspection (a variety of creative endeavors).” We also get “Actuary Out of the Box”; “Digital Nomad”; “An Actuary Looks at Climate Change”; and “Thriving in a Changing Environment.” Seek out members who can provide a different perspective. Diversity has so many meanings these days.

Go “beyond” with your podcast. The Association of American Medical Colleges is a finalist for their Beyond the White Coat podcast. A podcast can be a good place to explore, play against or yes, go beyond any stereotypes that may exist about people in your industry. “Times are changing, and along with it, academic medicine must change, too,” they write. Titles for the AAMC podcast series include: Persevering During a Pandemic: Connecting With So Others Might Eat; Black Men in Medicine: Meeting the Challenge; and Vaccine Voices: Promoting Equity in Vaccine Access. Karey Sutton hosts one of the episodes which is good to hear—we need more women podcast hosts.

Find the social media that your audience engages most with. For Best Social Media Feed, the Project Management Institute is a finalist for their PMI Social Media Program: Imagination. Its Imagination Content Instagram page has 558 followers and 584 posts. (In a Sidebar poll last week, Instagram was named by the most respondents as the platform that the biggest majority of their audience engages with them on.) In one post, there’s a picture of a book and these words: “Poets use words the way analysts use data: to describe the world around them. Head to the link in our bio to discover why reading poetry can make you better at reading data.”

Again, register here for the June 16 EXCEL Awards celebration to see more innovation and ideas.

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