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From the letterbox to "likes" – the online evolution of alumni magazines

CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference 2012

Cameron Pegg

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of From the letterbox to "likes" – the online evolution of alumni magazines

From the letterbox to "likes"– the online evolution of alumni magazines So the way we deliver and share content
with our readers has fundamentally changed,
but the importance of crafting targeted, engaging stories hasn't (and won't) Compelling reasons to take your magazine online

To remain relevant
To secure long-term engagement
Philanthropic potential
Complements (not compromises) your hard copy publication
Point of competitive advantage
$$$ – growing alumni communities = growing costs A very brief (and very selective) history of alumni magazines 1731 – The Gentleman's Magazine in London is considered to have been the first general-interest magazine
1821 – The first alumni association in the world is formed at Williams College, Massachusetts
1898 – Harvard Magazine established
2010 – First CASE Circle of Excellence award given for online alumni magazines
July 2010 – Loyola Marymount University produces first alumni magazine for the iPad Treating readers as active consumers 39 universities
28 alumni magazines
Some of these double as campus magazines
8 universities have custom-built online magazines
7 universities have flip book magazines
10 universities have PDF-only magazines
1 university has an iPad/tablet magazine Different production scenarios

Produced in-house by dedicated team
Produced in-house by team also producing other publications
Entirely outsourced (all copy, photography and design)
Partially outsourced (editorial direction remains in-house)
Partially outsourced (mostly design/photographic elements)
Some universities insert their magazines into major newspapers for greater reach The Australian landscape – the numbers The Australian landscape – resourcing Different priorities; different perspectives; different products Flip books PDF only What do readers think? – the 2011 CASE alumni magazine survey There will never be a shortage of senior administrators, deans, development communications VPs, alumni association directors, and public affairs professionals steadfast in their belief that the graduates of your academy will shove aside The New Yorker, the sports page, the laptop, and the remote in order to read the status of the latest capital campaign, news from the Muskegon alumni chapter, six superficial profiles of earnest undergraduates who are passionate about giving back to the community, and The Dean’s Message. But the truth is, almost nobody reads that stuff. It’s boring, it insults our readers’ intelligence, and it can’t possibly compete with a new episode of Lost.

The media landscape grows ever more complicated and ever more Babelesque. If you don’t give your readers what they can’t find somewhere else, the most you can expect is that they’ll give your pages a glance before tossing them in the recycling bin.

http://umagazinology.jhu.edu The umagazinology credo: "Be read or don't bother" The UQ experience – timeline Pre-2008 – UQ's alumni magazine exists online in PDF format only
Late 2008 – Digital strategy drafted / initial web design complete
March 2009 – UQ launches revitalised corporate branding campaign
May 2009 – Web design 2.0 presented to magazine editorial board
June 2009 – Contact website / e-newsletter launched
August 2009 – Online edition records 10,000 page views Three linked products The UQ experience of going online - the rationale
To remain relevant to our readers
To engage with our readers in new ways and encourage them to interact with us
To tell the "UQ story" in a 3-D fashion
To pave the way for future segmentation/migration
To strengthen our market research
To (eventually) save $$$ Print-to-web case study – Bostonia magazine

Winner of the inaugural CASE Circle of Excellence Award for online alumni magazines Social media integration Creating an interactive experience Using print to drive online traffic http://www.bu.edu/bostonia/fall08/go-fish/ Seamless integration across platforms Website features Built using free Wordpress template
Added multiple plug-ins for extra functionality
Readers can email and share stories via social media / complete Google translations / navigate via tags / make comments
Multimedia material embedded via popular platforms – Vimeo/YouTube/Flickr http://bit.ly/oVvDD5 Tips from Bostonia editor Art Jahnke It starts with good stories and good packaging – headlines, call outs, all that stuff
Spend the money on a good designer
Spend the money on good video people
Make it worth it by distributing the content throughout the enterprise (cross-promotion) Case study – the multi-platform approach of
the Rochester Review Print PDF Online iPad Kindle/e-book Mobile Cameron Pegg
CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference 2012, Hong Kong
c.pegg@griffith.edu.au Comments or suggestions?
c.pegg@griffith.edu.au The greening of alumni magazines Some universities are already actively suggesting environmentally conscious readers opt-in to
online-only subscriptions

An opportunity to highlight institutional sustainability while saving money

Need to watch we don't alienate readers however

What are their reading preferences? Art Jahnke, Dale Keiger, Joseph Chan,
John Bach, Jenny Proudfoot, Nicola Sinclair, Joseph Wakelee-Lynch, Maureen Pacino, Liz Newell and the Clemson World team for their valuable assistance Unlocking the gated community Increase your circulation and reach
– no mailing list required! It's not one or the other -
a multi-platform approach works best The main event Top-line findings

Alumni magazines are the primary medium through which alumni acquire information about their alma mater

Alumni magazines are well-read across all age groups

Magazines spur positive action among alumni across all institution sizes and types

Engagement and desirable actions track with time spent reading next step Cross-promote your online magazine at every opportunity

So how do you balance institutional needs with reader preference? Findings from 2011 University of Queensland alumni readership survey

Online survey – 2000+ responses
Average age of respondents considerably lower than CASE exercise
Readers prefer electronic delivery (44%) over print (28%)
Most popular story types: research breakthroughs, campus news and alumni profiles
Least popular story types: stories about donors, sport and obituaries

By way of comparison, the previous readership survey (2008) was distributed via a postage paid tearsheet, and attracted more than twice as many responses Tablet alumni magazines A time and cost-effective option, often using an external vendor

Layout and pagination identical to print edition
Web-optimised PDF is fed into a template
Pages display as two-page spreads (landscape view) or single pages (portrait)
Different zoom and contents page/thumbnail options
Hyperlinks can be included (email addresses and websites)
Multimedia content can be embedded or linked PDF-based apps Apps designed "from scratch" specifically for tablet devices

Designed in single-page "spreads" (liked Wired magazine)
Much less text than print pages
Multimedia embedded (video, interactive animation, audio etc)
Readers usually scroll horizontally (from one story to the next) and vertically (within a particular story)
Content can be multi-layered and interactive – "Choose your own adventure" Reaching out to donors Clemson created this tablet feature to promote a
major sporting donor drive

Package begins with a fundraising call-to-action
Readers then self-select content that interests and inspires them from a sidebar
Rich media (including architectural flythroughs) embedded throughout

The majority of alumni magazine apps are designed for the iPad at present, although some institutions have created parallel products for Android and other platforms

17 alumni magazines for iPad available on iTunes
5 alumni magazines available on the Android Market

Many more universities have created news and sports-related apps, however Something to aspire to... First magazine to earn iTunes' "app of the week" title and portrait Each single-page spread is designed in landscape Native apps Animated cover of inaugural tablet edition of Clemson World magazine
(designed by their undergraduate students!) Like many universities, Clemson encourages alumni to submit images featuring the school flag in exotic locations

In this tablet feature, readers can click on the "paw prints" to view images from a particular location on the map, or scroll through a photo gallery of additional images at the bottom In this iPad spread, McCoombs School of Business has embedded a featured video on the contents page and also hyperlinked page numbers Many alumni magazines are sent only to graduates/paid
subscribers. Think of who you're missing:

Potential students (and their parents)
Parents of alumni
Current and potential partners
Potential donors
Passionate members of the global community Engaging with your readers Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch also shares thoughts and stories on his LMU magazine blog UQ homepage features
promo for online alumni
magazine In this iPad spread, Cornell use a QR code to invite readers to view a time lapse video of the construction of a major new building Case study – Clemson University Powerful branding opportunities e-newsletter Website Print A small story in the University of Queensland print magazine becomes more substantial online with a Flickr gallery Readers of all ages prefer print magazines, and, secondly, a combination of print and online Digital donation form with video testimonial It costs very little to reach these people online... Case study –
Loyola Marymount University Print feature drives readers to an online book excerpt –
University of Queensland A quick word on QR codes While not particularly pretty, quick response (QR) codes can become a powerful call-to-action if utilised effectively in alumni marketing and communications QR code tips:

Integrate them into the overall design but don't hide them
Ensure they're legible
Make it clear WHY a reader should scan them
Provide true value (multimedia, interactivity, an easy-to-use online form, entry to a competition, a coupon etc)
Landing pages should be mobile optimised

Not everyone's convinced – http://bit.ly/xcDiis (UMagazinology) Other possibilities Virtual campus tour – Wittenberg University University of Pennslyvania Oklahoma State University Your next alumni function? Fundraising Use scheduling tools to drip feed stories via social media
Promote the latest edition on your university homepage
Do you have an online alumni community? Use it!
Plug in internal communications (ie staff e-newsletters)
Encourage faculties and schools to promote relevant content through their channels
Encourage featured staff, students and alumni to spread their stories far and wide
Traditional approaches – use pull-up banners and branded merchandise (USB sticks, pens, bookmarks etc) to promote the website at alumni events 200% spike in magazine website hits Clemson built their own app to complement the existing magazine and website, and to counteract the loss of one print edition a year due to budget cuts

The app is "stand alone" and has exclusive content that is chosen for its interactivity

Design brief – "uncomplicated with a wow factor"

Utilises RSS feeds to provide up-to-date content from university news service and sports departments

Produced by same team who coordinate the print and online editions with the assistance of a digital designer (and Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite)

Print and online versions share content and are released at the same time. Tablet version released in between these editions Custom website
Print edition re-designed in 2010

Contents page features print stories on the left and online content on the right

Secondary coverlines flag multimedia content within individual stories
Updated monthly to coincide with e-news

Feature videos a focus – tie-in with print

Three to five new online stories produced each month

Generally shorter / "Q and A" style stories

Alumni share photos and multimedia "class notes"
PDF-based utilising an external vendor

Uploaded to coincide with print distribution

Also provides access to featured online content Going mobile – the tablet magazine revolution Print Online Annotated campus centrefold – Drew University iPad Online exclusive story about how to write love poems – University of Virginia When print and pixels combine First augmented reality edition of German magazine Sueddeutsche Zeitung released in 2010 Print pagination
(linear) Tablet pagination
(multi-directional) Interactive graphics Sound files An online magazine should
complement and enhance your print product. Successful engagement means a multi-platform approach. How to make them stay online for longer What's next for alumni magazines?

Plan content across platforms simultaneously
Use print to drive online traffic wherever possible
Let your readers know what you're up to (preferably in advance)
Budget accordingly, particularly for multimedia
Allow yourself the opportunity to experiment
Encourage design and editorial staff to develop new skills
Develop a marketing plan, and ruthlessly cross-promote
Use analytics and surveys to gauge reader behaviour (and act on it)
Have fun! DON'T

Underestimate the amount of work involved
Assume people will change their reading habits overnight
Make hard and fast decisions about decreasing print production until you have completed market research How could you use augmented reality...and QR codes...and mobile devices...and crowdsourced content...and multimedia to enhance how your magazine engages with alumni? Online and tablet alumni magazine tips Rethinking boundaries Social networks 200% difference between
Under 25 and 50+ Would you ever see these metrics for a website?
Engaging online is a very different ball game Check out the "Using the iPad for presentation meetings with donors" thread on the CASE discussion forum on LinkedIn (join the group to read) Create exclusive online content http://bit.ly/oQc03x http://bit.ly/w3vx71 Christmas cooking video – Loyola Marymount University Same idea; different platform -
Drake University's Pinterest profile Something to think about http://on.fb.me/wFJlUk A well thought out online magazine can help address these issues All mobile devices are not created equal Clemson World Magazine's Facebook page http://bit.ly/x49d7w

E-newsletters are a key link between print and online magazines

They will be responsible for a significant amount of your website traffic

Feature exclusive/multimedia material where possible

Ensure you regularly encourage alumni to provide/update their email addresses

Useful e-newsletter design and content tips – http://bit.ly/AACuEX

When is the best time to send your e-news? – http://goo.gl/8zu5T Easy and cheap to produce, but not technically an online magazine (and problematic for search engines and social networks) Mobile web access statistics (December 2011)

Apple iOS (52%)
Java ME (21.27%)
Android (16.2%)
Symbian (5.8%)
BlackBerry (3.5%)

http://on.mash.to/xwUZi2 Hybrids Another issue with flip books –  download time... A flip book that behaves like an app –
University of Strathclyde Call out in print story; answers online Crowdsourcing

You cannot expect to re-create the engagement of a print magazine online without a lot of work

Capturing online metrics is easy but what do you focus on? Number of unique visitors, number of pages per visit, average dwell time, bounce rates? And what do you do with this data?

It's still early days for tablet magazines – by all means explore the possibilities but do not expect huge download figures overnight Bostonia webpage views A quick word on metrics All platforms are not created equal... Twitter scheduling of UQ alumni magazine stories The importance of e-newsletters People are curating their own magazines using
apps like Flipboard which bring together selected social network and website feeds in real time

http://bit.ly/sfLa9x DO Multi-layered, interactive content
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