Neal Leadership Awards Spotlight Top Performers; Deadline Approaching for 2023 Submissions

The folks who won our Leadership Awards—part of the Neals—last year are some of the most innovative and successful in the industry. The awards, which sometimes can get lost amid all the substantial Neals categories, are in play again this year. There’s no cost to enter, but the submission deadline is approaching fast. Here’s a look at those winners and more awards details.

“I’m surprised often by how much I see really short headlines in an online space,” Erin Hallstrom, director of digital content strategy, Food Processing, for Endeavor Business Media, told us in our Editorial Training Series session on Search Engine Optimization last year. “I have this conversation with people sometimes, and I hear a lot of, ‘I’m used to keeping things short’ or’ ‘We have to keep things short.’

“My number one top recommendation is, resist that urge. When it comes to SEO, remember not everyone knows who you are—not everyone’s going to know what it is that your content is about… Include company or people’s names whenever possible in the headlines; spell out names.”

Last year’s Neal Awards turned out nothing short of very favorable for Hallstrom. Not only did she co-host the in-person event in New York and do a wonderful job—so wonderful that she’ll do it again this year—but she was named the Marianne Dekker Mattera Mentor Award winner. That award is just one of a proud batch of Leadership Awards that the AM&P Network offers as part of the Neal Awards.

The others are:

– The G.D. Crain, Jr. Award, given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the development of editorial excellence in business media. Nancy Perry from Lexipol was last year’s winner.

– The Timothy White Award, recognizing exemplary leadership in the face of challenges and pressures that editors face daily. Robert Brelsford, also of Endeavor, won last year.

– The McAllister Editorial Fellowship and the McAllister Top Management Fellowship go to an editor and an executive, respectively. Cassandra West of Crain’s Chicago Business won the editorial award, while Sean Griffey, CEO of Industry Dive, was named the management fellow and will receive that special award at BIMS 2023, Feb. 23-24 in Orlando. Elizabeth Green, CEO of Brief Media, won that honor last year. (Medill’s Abe Peck helped us document Green and her staff’s experience at the school.)

While Neal Award submissions are in and being deliberated on, Leadership Award nominations can be submitted here through this Friday, Feb. 3, and self-nominations are accepted. There is no cost. Submissions also go through the Neal Awards entry portal. (The Mattera and Timothy White Awards can especially use more entries. There is no submission process for the McAllister Editorial Fellowship. The winner is chosen among the Neal Award finalists.)

We’re excited to present the award to Griffey. Here, he explained some of the success of Industry Dive: “When we really started to explode was when we said it’s not just about saving people time, it’s about real insight about what’s happened, what this means to their industry. So the mainstream news can do a great job of saying what happened with a deal, or announcing a deal and getting the terms. But for niche publishers and business publishers, what you really need to do is talk about: What does this mean for your company? For your job? For the future?”

At her SEO training session last year, Hallstrom repeated her mantra—“not everyone knows who you are”—a few times during her training session. In fact, she suggested “sending your most recent 20 headlines to somebody else on your team and say, ‘Can you take a look at these? Can you tell by reading the headline of every single one of these what that piece of content was probably about?’

“People don’t necessarily know who you are, so if they’re reading a really short headline, and [it says that a certain] last name gets a promotion, okay, great, but what does that mean for the industry? Why does it matter?”

Hallstrom emphasized that “actual keyword stuffing is one of the reasons why Google made some of their algorithm changes. Saturating your content with keywords… doesn’t play well. Actually Google really doesn’t like that, so they will demote you. They will purposely not have your content show up higher.” Hallstrom compared it to “someone who goes into a party or an event [and says,] ‘look at me, look how fabulous I am. Let me tell you all my accolades.’”

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