Magazines at associations and non-profits are a vital way to keep widespread and diverse communities united around a common goal. By profiling members and sharing stories about activies within the organization, these media teams are a boon for member engagement. But content can also be used for starting conversations with donors or acquiring new members.
We checked in with Cindy Stevens, senior director of publications at the Consumer Technology Association and a speaker at the upcoming Folio: Association Media Summit, to find how she uses editorial content to support greater organizational goals.
Folio: What is your editorial mission? What role do you see your publications as having within the association?
Cindy Stevens: The mission of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is to grow the consumer technology industry. CTA’s flagship publication, It Is Innovation (i3), supports that goal by focusing on innovation in technology, policy and business as well as the entrepreneurs and startups that fuel the industry. i3 also supports CTA’s policy initiatives on Capitol Hill, our comprehensive market research studies and the standards our member companies are working on. CTA also owns and produces CES – The Global Stage for Innovation – so our editorial supports the excitement and energy of CES year-round.
Folio: How do membership goals fit into your editorial mission?
Stevens: i3 is an important member benefit. The magazine (print and online) helps to inform members about the latest technology trends, but we also profile the work that our member companies are doing in features, profiles, and submitted pieces. We work closely with our membership team to tell our members stories and also keep them engaged and aware of CTA’s initiatives. Since 80 percent of our members are small companies and startups, they especially appreciate the exposure of being profiled in the magazine.
Folio: Do analytics tools or any other data inform your editorial?
Stevens: Yes, we use Google Analytics to measure and track the CTA and CES websites. The service provides comprehensive statistics regarding site visits, page views, bounce rate, and new visits so we can evaluate which stories get the most traction. I also like that Google Analytics tracks referral traffic including marketing campaigns. Our market research department also conducts an annual reader survey that gives us valuable insights into the editorial that readers want to learn more about.
Folio: What is an example of a piece of editorial which was particularly successful as a growth or fundraising tool for your association?
Stevens: Our CES coverage is always popular with our January issue, the largest of the year, and we gain many new subscribers from our efforts at the show. But our CES wrap-up coverage is valued as well. CES reflects the dynamic energy of our industry, and CES 2017 was particularly exciting with more than 180,000 attendees, 4,000 exhibitors, and attendees from 158 countries. The show covered the latest in sensors, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, wearables, virtual reality, and robotics — just to name a few technologies — so there is certainly plenty to cover!