Neal Award Finalists Offer Replicable and Powerful Examples for Other Publishers

With the Neal Awards celebration set for noon, Wednesday, June 9, I looked through the finalists to see what interesting ideas—it is Ideas Wednesday here—I could find. Well, this might just have to become a series with all of the innovative and exciting work that we’re honoring. It will definitely be worth your valuable while to attend the presentation.

Besides seeing the incredible work that your fellow AM&P Network members are doing, there will be myriad ways to connect at the Neal Awards such as: interactive networking – mini breakouts during intermissions; video booth fun with sponsor Gather Voices – create a video to share your win on social media! #NealAward and @siia; MIRO – contribute to a community-driven art piece by doodling on the #NealAward MIRO board; or just to cheer on your favorite finalists and winners.

Register here. Attendance is free. See all the finalists here. Here are some replicable and effective ideas from a few of the finalists:

Run video interstitials. A finalist for Best Single Article, Teachers Are Getting Schooled on Retirement from Informa’s begins with a powerful tale of a Long Island teacher given bad investing advice from a life insurance rep when she was just starting out. “He said he had an easy way for her to save for her retirement beyond her pension.” After the first four graphs, there’s a short video promo for a succession planning discussion they held on May 11 between contributing editor Maureen Wilke and Advisor Group (the sponsor) SVP Todd Fulks. There are ads later in the story, but that short video is a smart way to promote more good content.

Provide tools/content for our audience – part 1. Industry Dive’s Restaurant Dive is a finalist for Best Series for its series of six articles on successive Mondays with the first story titled, Mapping the Rise of Ghost Kitchens. “Dark. Ghost. Host. These are just a few of the names for the budding restaurant segment rising from the economic upheaval of the novel coronavirus pandemic,” it begins. Not only do they go in-depth, but they also created a “ghost kitchen calculator to help operators assess the financial profile and determine profitability of a ghost kitchen before developing their own concept.” We are here to meet audience needs, and this sounds like a big one. Think about what value-add you can give to an article you’re doing.

Provide tools/content for our audience – part 2. For Best Profile, American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News is a finalist for a wonderful profile titled A Day With Jennifer Doudna: Trying to Keep Up With One of the World’s Most Sought-After Scientists. It chronicles the day she spoke at the University of California, Berkeley campus. “It’s clear that being considered the Beyoncé of science has reshaped Doudna’s life. But has it reshaped how she views herself?” The article leads to a sidebar story titled Jennifer Doudna’s Tips for New Entrepreneurs. “We asked her to share her best advice for budding academic entrepreneurs,” writes Lisa M. Jarvis. One story presents the person, and the second story presents how to help their audience succeed.

Adding diversity – part 1. Haymarket Media’s PRWeek did a great job of enlightenment and outreach during the pandemic with a video series called Lockdown Life—also a Neal finalist for Best Series. You can see from the small photos that accompany each week’s video that there is diversity of all kinds: age, gender, ethnicity, activity—headlines range from TikTok Influencers Overnight? to PR Pros Flocking to Buy Chickens to 3 PR Pros Recall Their Bouts With COVID-19. Showcasing a variety of your members or audience just makes content more interesting. Oh, here’s the best episode: “Your Job Seems Too Boring” – Kids and Partners Observe PR Pros in Quarantine.

Adding diversity – part 2. What an engaging lead paragraph in DTN’s Progressive Farmer from Chris Clayton, ag policy editor, for his Neal-finalist profile titled Grappling With a New Farm – Young, Black, First-Generation American Determined to Succeed as a Farm Owner (pictured above). “Like a lot of children growing up in a small Nebraska town, Zemua Baptista remembers playing with tractors in the living room as a boy—’carpet farming,’ as he describes it.” And later in the story a quote from Baptista: “I still see it when I tell people I’m a farmer and they kind of look at me. For me, to give a face to a minority farmer is a good thing.”

Offer daily engagement. For Best Podcast, Crain Communications is a finalist for its Automotive News Daily Drive. This must be quite an undertaking to produce every day, though topics could be endless. (At least they took Memorial Day off.) They’re rewarded by a strong audience and sponsorships—on the podcast itself (the brief intro of the sponsor sounds warm and welcomed) and with ads on the site. “Daily Drive is our daily podcast series. We speak with industry experts, insiders and Automotive News reporters about events and trends impacting and reshaping the automotive industry.” These are also good avenues to amplify the voices of your editorial team.

Build creativity into virtual events. A finalist for Best New Product is FreightWaves Virtual Events. In a promo video on their site, CEO Craig Fuller says that “the idea of the FreightWaves Live Experience is to bring you into the action, make you a part of the experience—letting you see how technology is going to shape the future of our industry.” They must be successful because virtual events are planned through this year and even into 2022.

Congratulations to all of the Neal Award finalists; it’s well-deserved! Please register and attend the Neals celebration next Wednesday at noon to see the winners and some of the faces behind this amazing work.

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