Phone Interviews: 8 Steps To Be Prepared

Interview TipsIt’s important to handle a telephone interview properly.  Recruiters and hiring managers are all managing heavy schedules.  A telephone interview is a great way to see if a candidate ‘fits’ before scheduling all the formal interviews.  It’s a cost-effective and efficient way to screen candidates.  It also gives the candidate the opportunity to see if a job is a good fit.

When your phone interview is scheduled, remember:

1.  Use a landline if possible to get the best reception.  If you will be using a cell phone, make sure you are in a private, quiet room.

2. Do research on the company and the position.  Review the job description.

3.  Set up your space 15 minutes before the interview.  Have your resume, cover letter and list of questions to ask in front of you.  Have a pen and paper to take notes.  A sheet with your skills vs. the skills needed and your accomplishments is also a good idea.  It will help remind you of what you want to say.

4.  On the call, speak clearly and slowly.  Ask if everyone on the call can hear you clearly.  Answer questions with emotion.  Since you can’t be seen, your voice must do the work.  If you need to stop and think about an answer, let the interviewer know.  Otherwise, it’s just dead air.

5.  Refer to your list of questions at the end of the interview.  Make sure all of them have been answered.

6.  Make notes.  These will come in handy for your thank you note.

7.  Before ending the call, state your interest in the position.  It’s also acceptable to say that you are not interested.  No one wants to waste time.

8.  Ask for contact information so you can send a ‘thank you.”

Be well-prepared, show enthusiasm and get that in-person interview!

 




How to Work Remotely Using Only Your Smartphone

https://www.commpro.biz/?s=brands

Commentary from…

Ken Rogers, SEO Specialist

The fact that you can work remotely using your smartphone will be good news for many in the workforce today. You can be rest assured that your phone can come in handy and do the necessary job whenever you cannot use your laptop or computer. Many smartphone apps provide the same functionality for employees as laptops do, and you can be as productive with your laptop as you can be with your mobile phone. As more people embrace remote working, brands and organizations see a greater return on investment by allowing employees to work remotely. How is this possible? This article explains several ways to do remote work with a smartphone. 

  1. Purchase and Expenditure: You can make purchases at home or the office using mobile apps, and many employees use budgeting and planning apps for this purpose. Some apps have specific functions and can make purchase requests from your smartphone or tablet. From the Smart Sheet app, you can add an approval step and have company oversight even when making purchases. You can review, approve, or deny a request on some of these apps. You can view the product and the price and make calls to confirm the decision. Telecommunication companies have sim-only deals that you can purchase for use by your staff.
  1. Virtual meetings: Smartphones can be used to access virtual meetings on the go. Whether you are at a conference, at home, in your kid’s school, or at a branch office in another city, it doesn’t matter. You can attend essential meetings using your smartphone or tablet. You can even share your screen and make a presentation from your smartphone. Companies like Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom have made it easy to hop on work calls to clarify the needs of your clients or customers. You can also use these platforms to communicate with team members and superiors such that you are connected even when you are distant. Using this technology is more practical than hopping on a plane and traveling for hours to make a decision you can make on a call while seated in your study. Video conferencing makes it possible to be in two places simultaneously.  Even as a hiring manager you could easily interview candidates online or hold meetings with the PR Agency you want to hire. 
  1. Sales and Prospecting: You can get an overview of the sales team’s report and their progress with their prospects using technology apps like Hub Spot. Your team can also find prospects and keep in touch with them using tabs or smartphones. They can work from home and carry out all their responsibilities regardless of their location. You and your team can have live access to data as progress is made. You can leave notes and directions for your team using the functionality of the specific app chosen. The contact information of potential customers can be updated on the app, thus improving your funnel activity. The employment of sim-only deals is beneficial in these situations. Since you get an amount of roaming for a specific period. Smartphones are effective for social media management as well, especially if you want to bring new customers to your services or products. With your phone, you could manage Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and check Best Instagram Story Viewers to see what your competitors are doing. 
  1. Communication using VoIP services: Constant communication with your customers is needed. When your clients need your products or services, you can respond to them in the quickest time possible. This helps reduce frequent travel and minimize costs. You can save costs by using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for making calls instead of using the regular phone for long-distance and international cell phone plans. This is more professional than using your phone number to communicate with clients. If needed, you can forward calls to your smartphone, make phone calls, and access voicemail. This is equal to being in the office. It is advantageous when there is a natural disaster like a blackout, a storm, a flood, or a power outage. You can always access it online when everything else is down, also from anywhere.
  1. Media Communication: Other than the Voice over Internet Protocol, you can also communicate with clients using instant messaging services like Slack, Yammer, or even Google Docs. The best information is that all of these apps are available on your phone or tablet. This helps you stay in constant communication and even share files as if you were present in a physical office. Most of the apps are compatible with Microsoft Office and make things easier. Your file transfers are secure and quick, increasing your efficiency and maximizing time and resources. These apps and tools help you maximize the efficiency of a team that has perfect synergy even when they are not physically in the same place.

All the tools mentioned above and more can be found in your application store and you can choose the one that is best for you and your team. Choosing the right productivity apps will help you work efficiently.


About the Author: Ken is an experienced SEO professional. He assists businesses in improving their search engine results by optimizing copy and landing pages, as well as conducting continual keyword research. He is also very skilled in researching and implementing content recommendations for organic SEO success. 




Post Interview Thank You Notes: A 5-Step Template

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Even with online and telephone interviews, a written thank you note is a must and expected. Writing a thank you note can be easy if you jot down notes during the interview so you can remember some specific details about the opportunity.  Most importantly, make sure you get everyone’s name.

Now:

  1. Address it to one person. If more than one person was involved, send separate notes. If this is not possible, acknowledge the other interviewers in your thank you note.
  2. In your opening paragraph, thank the person (s) for the interview and mention the job title.
  3. The next paragraph can vary but express your interest in the position and mention why. Using your notes, you can say that with your 10 years of experience in (job field) you would be a valuable asset to ‘the company.”  Any specific details you noted about the company’s needs and your experience should be acknowledged here.
  4. In a third paragraph, you can send links or attach samples that will show you skills.
  5. End by saying you look forward to hearing about next steps and that you would be happy to answer any other questions the addressee (and their team) might have.

Use an email signature with your contact information. Write a clear and concise subject line – Thank you for the interview or Director Interview etc. Read and reread the email to make sure there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors. Make sure you sent it within 24 hours of the interview.

A thank you note should not be a chore but a way to communicate how thankful you are for the interviewer’s time and your interest your fit for the position.

 




6 Ways To Show Confidence In An Interview

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Showing confidence in an interview is a necessity but you most be careful that you do not come across as arrogant or over-confident. Hiring managers are trying to access how you would fit into their culture along with looking for the right skills and experience. You must find the right balance between confidence vs. arrogance.  Here are some tips to follow:

  1.  Prove it.  Provide data and samples so an interviewer can made the determination that you did it on their own.
  2. Allow the conversation to flow. Be prepared to speak about your experience and skills but also listen to what the company needs. Listen for clues about what they want and what their culture is like. Not every job will be the perfect job for you. Better to find out before you start.
  3. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Dishonesty in any form is considered a very undesirable trait. An interviewer is looking for someone who is honest about their experience and skills. Be yourself in an interview.
  4. Manners count. Interviews can be stressful and you can easily come off as a know-it-all. Things like being on time, prepared and having researched the company all show that you are interested.  But looking at your phone or watch, sipping your coffee and negative body language can make you look patronizing.
  5. Ask questions. Asking questions shows that you have done some research, you have listened to the interviewer and that you are interested.  Remember, questions on vacation time and benefits should wait to your last interview.
  6. Use referrals/recommendations. If someone referred you, let the interviewer know. If you have written recommendations, bring them with you. You might be able to use one to prove your accomplishments. Having someone speak to your experience/skills is a plus.

Confident not arrogance will get you the job!




Interviewing: 3 Tactics For An Effective Interview

Interviewing Dos and Don'tsMarie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Interviewing is difficult. With the pandemic, I’m seeing less in-person interviews and more  over the phone or on video.  Limited time, online delays, not seeing facial features etc., all make the process even harder.  For hiring managers, the most important step is to plan out your interview prior to the call.

  1.  How much time do you have? To structure your interview, allow at least 10 minutes for candidates questions and about 10 minutes to talk about the opportunity. Then allow the most time to question backgrounds and direct experience with the remaining time on personality/culture questions.
  2. Ask specific questions:  What have you done; Do you have experience with; How did you/would you handle this situation; On your resume, you said___, can you explain what you did.  With limited time, you want to find out as much as possible.
  3. To find out personality/culture matches ask questions like:  Tell me about; How did you handle; Did you ever see a situation like; In your opinion; What do you like/dislike about a particular situation/job.

Preparing in advance will help you get the most out of the interview.  Both candidates and interviewers need to be prepared!




Redefining the Mobile Phone Business

Robert Reiss

Flavio MansiThis pandemic has sent our country into a rapid economic downturn with massive job losses and millions of people seeking ways to cut costs. It’s a perfect storm on many fronts leaving consumers mainly focused on indispensable items should as food, shelter and yes communication devices such as mobiles and tablets. These devices have become the ultimate form of communication during this pandemic for news and updates and in many cases the only way family members can communicate with their loved ones. Interestingly PCS Wireless was ahead of itself when a few years ago it invested in the creation of a mobile device ecosystem similar to Carfax called IGWT Block. I recently interviewed its president Flavio Mansi on his vision for this market.

Robert Reiss: Explain your vision to lower mobile phone costs?

Flavio Mansi: Coming from a leading company in the secondary mobile phone business, we recognize the inefficiencies and lack of transparency that plague the industry. Innumerable intermediaries represent touch points throughout the supply chain, adding cost, time and minimal value. In fact, the average delta in value a seller receives compared to the price a buyer pays is currently 50% because of all these intermediaries. In addition, mobile phone grading scales are subjective, non-standardized and inconsistent, at best.

TessaB PhoneIGWT Block is launching a blockchain platform called TessaB that will enable every buyer and seller to access detailed data about the devices they are trading, which will drastically reduce the number of intermediaries, and ultimately enable peer-to-peer transactions. Our platform will shed light on the condition of the device, enabling more transparent and secure transactions that save consumers a lot of money.

Reiss: How do you plan to encourage consumers to buy second-hand phones?

Mansi: Our research has found that the main objection consumers have about purchasing pre-owned mobile phones is lack of trust. “How do I know what I am getting,” “What happens if I get a lemon,” “How can I trust what the seller is telling me?” This is similar to how consumers behave when purchasing a used car. By introducing a “Carfax-type” solution, we are leveraging technology that will directly address consumers’ concerns. They will know detailed information about the condition of the mobile device they are purchasing by leveraging the security and immutability of blockchain based smart contracts. Funds paid for a mobile device will not be disbursed to the seller until the buyer receives the device and runs the same diagnostics tests the seller ran. So the transaction is complete only when results of the buyer and seller match.

Reiss: Why would PCS Wireless create IGWT Block, which actually competes with its core business?

Mansi: PCS Wireless was very bold in recognizing that such an inefficient industry is simply not sustainable. Rather than take a back seat and await inevitable developments to arise, the decision was made to innovate and lead the disruption within the industry by investing in a new solution. Rather than competing in PCS’s core business, our goal at IGWT is to reinvent the industry as a whole. Research firm IDC projects the industry to be worth $67 billion globally by 2023.

Reiss: Are you doing anything to help with communication challenges during this pandemic?

Mansi: We clearly recognize the increased need for people to stay connected. Not only during this terrible pandemic, but throughout the economic impact it will have for time to come. We strongly believe that enabling efficient transactions of mobile devices amongst consumers will lower the barrier to staying connected. Specifically in times of sorrow like these, we are backing our parent company’s partnerships supporting frontline hospital staff, patients, and seniors. This includes our partnership with NJII to connect PCS Wireless to the right people at New Jersey hospitals. We have also teamed up with Covid Tech Connect to service the national network of hospitals. In addition, the Covid Tech Connect initiative is leveraging our global supply chain to source items overseas to connect those in need with loved ones, both locally and overseas.

Reiss: How do you see the transformation of the mobile supply chain working on a blockchain?

Mansi: Bringing transparency to the supply chain will make it much more efficient. Currently an average of 7 intermediaries touch a pre-owned mobile phone from its original owner to its new ultimate owner. These intermediaries are often located around the globe, so the mobile device at issue travels the world during this highly inefficient journey.

By providing access to a shared database, our blockchain platform will enable localized transactions. Think of it as decentralized inventories. If a seller in Oklahoma City wants to sell its iPhone 8 and there is a buyer 6 miles away, why do we need to transport that iPhone 8 from the Verizon store in Oklahoma City where the seller drops it, to Verizon’s triage warehouse in Dallas, to a wholesale buyer in New Jersey, to a wholesale seller in Hong Kong, to an etailer in Maryland, where the buyer purchases it and is shipped to Oklahoma City? Sounds insane because IT IS!  Watch how the TessaB ecosystem will work.

Reiss: Is IGWT currently selling these mobile phones today?

Mansi: As part of our strategy we developed a “proof of concept” business in parallel to the build out of our blockchain platform. To that effect we launched our e-commerce site, Glyde.com, where, today, consumers can purchase Premium Pre-Owned phones, accidental damage protection plans under our TessaB Protect brand, and accept phone trade-ins for cash or credit. Over the next 18 months we will be rolling out more TessaB powered offerings powered by the Blockchain, so stay tuned!

To listen to more CEO interviews and read their thoughts on Leading Through Coronavirus go to The CEO Forum Group

Reprinted with permission from Forbes


About the Interviewer: I believe the great CEOs understand both business success and personal success. My higher purpose is to disseminate CEO wisdom to help elevate business, the economy and society. My platforms are: host of the nationally syndicated Am/Fm radio show The CEO Show with Robert Reiss. I co-authored, “The Transformative CEO,” and one of my passions is sharing insights by giving keynote speeches on the topic, “What we can learn from America’s top CEOs.”




Bad Boss? 6 Signs To Look For During The Interview

marie-rapertoMarie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Have a bad boss?

They can made your work life miserable.

Bad bosses can be miserable to deal with or they can simply have personalities that don’t work with yours.

It is essential to find out what your future boss is really like. One way to do this is to observe the person’s behavior during the interview.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  1.  Watch for basic etiquette.  If the interview was late, were you given an apology or a reason?  Did the interviewer get straight to the point or did they do chat for a few minutes before getting to the job interview.  Someone who is all business might be showing their ‘all I care about is business’ side.  Also listen for the interviewer’s pronoun usage.  Constantly using ‘you’ when describing job responsibilities or ‘I’ when talking about successes could show that a person is not supportive/takes all the credit.
  2. Watch what the interviewer does.  If they answer the phone, text, check email or just doesn’t pay attention to you, they will most likely do this while you are an employee.
  3. Watch for inconsistency or contradiction.  This could be a sign that your new boss might change his mind constantly.
  4. Watch their body language.  Not making eye contact, looking down, pointing fingers, constantly rechecking your resume can show that someone is not confident and very insecure.
  5. Watch reactions when you ask questions.  Do they avoid answering, do they deflect answers, do they cross their arms against their chests?  This can show that someone is hiding something or not open to your questions.
  6. Watch your reactions.  Something can be said for following your gut.  If you are not feeling right about the interview, the job is not for you.

If you have a bad boss or don’t want one, take the time to check he/she out.  An interview is about you finding out if a job is right for you.




PR Measurement: Interview with Eileen Sheil, Cleveland Clinic

PR Measurement is fast becoming a hot topic of conversation among PR practitioners.

“Measurement has to be a focus for PR.  In the digital world everyone has to start to look at the metrics to help them drive strategy.”

Eileen Sheil, Executive Director of Communications at the Cleveland Clinic.

This is an interview with Eileen Sheil about the changes in the practice of PR and the need for measuring the value of our work.

SF:  You recently made a comment that PR measurement has changed. What is your take on that – what has changed and why has it changed?

ES: Understanding the true value of PR on the bottom line of your organization and its impact on the business is really important. And it allows PR professionals to demonstrate that value to the leadership. Back in the day we used to look at ad value and try to assign some kind of valuation for PR that really wasn’t accurate.

Looking at the Barcelona Principles is a key factor in how to approach measurement. We need to understand that it’s a journey – but it’s a journey that PR professionals have to be willing to jump in and try.

SF: Last time I spoke to a group of PR people about measurement only about a quarter of the audience had heard of the Barcelona Principles.

ES:  As an industry we have to do a better job of educating people who are coming into PR and help them understand the importance of measurement and really looking at research, developing insights and strategy, what’s the right creative approach.  It all has to be based on a meaningful strategy that accomplishes business objectives.

The Barcelona Principles and AMEC, the Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communications are great resources.  AMEC’s website has a framework that’s really key to helping people understand what PR measurement is all about.

SF:  You have recently made a lot of changes to the Cleveland Clinic newsroom that was part of your new approach to measurement.  Why is the newsroom so important?

ES:  Well, communications teams can take a more traditional approach working with the news media, which I do think is still absolutely critical, but as the media is changing dramatically we have to figure out what is the most effective way to get our story out and get it out in the way that we really want to tell it.

We will always continue to work closely with the media because it still brings that very powerful third party validation, but PR people are being pushed to do more news content strategy – figuring out how to get their story out more broadly to amplify the message.  So our newsroom on ClevelandClinic.org was designed to host some of the at news content that is unique to the Cleveland Clinic focusing on innovation and our mission of clinical excellence, education and research. We really want it to be a ‘go-to’ source for journalists where can find and pull down assets directly from the Cleveland Clinic to make sure that they have what they need to write their story.

SF: One of the Barcelona Principles is that we should be measuring outcomes, not just outputs. How have you implemented this principle?

ES:  Well, my boss asked me the other day for the final number of stories that ran in 2017 and I said “I’m sorry, we don’t count those anymore.”  He was a bit shocked, but I explained I care more about quality than quantity. The real answer is I care about both, but we are very focused on the outcome of the story. What impact did it have on patient volume, how many phone calls did we get and what happened to the other metrics that are driven by PR?

We’re trying to move away from counting media hits to metrics that really matter to us.  Quantity certainly does help, but we want to focus on the targeted message to the right audience and really own that story. It needs to be the most powerful, meaningful and educational piece we can put out there.

What’s important to us is that we focus more on that quality story and what is the outcome of our efforts.  That makes it easier to demonstrate the value on the organization.

If I have a front page story on the first-ever deep brain stimulation on a stroke patient and how that medical innovation was able to improve that patient’s quality of life, that’s worth more than a piece with Cleveland Clinic and six other institutions said this or that.

We actually take it a step further and score every story. We grade it from negative 100 to positive 100.  Right now we’re hovering around 60 – 80.

We have a specific algorithm for quality scoring — are we in the headline, was our physician quoted throughout the story, did we get our message in there about patient experience, quality and innovation?

SF:  What advice would you give to someone just graduating and entering the PR profession?  In terms of a career boost and a career path, what would you tell them to do?

ES:  I think measurement has to be a focus.

We joke around on our team that we have left-brain thinkers and right-brain thinkers. The right brains are more creative and we’re trying to force the usage of our left brain, which is not comfortable for PR people.  They tend to not like the numbers and not like the analytics.  But in the digital world everyone has to start to look at the metrics to help them drive strategy.

So I would say get internships that are will help you move along in your career that will give you exposure to more of the business side of public relations and how your work affects the business, because it really does.  Learn as much as you can.

There are a lot of organizations that focus on measurement, there are conferences and meetings too. You can learn a lot from other industries and see case studies on what they’re doing around measurement and steal their ideas.

Our thanks to Eileen for her time and insights about PR Measurement.

If you are interested in learning more about PR measurement register for the course launching at the end of March.




Interviewing Etiquette: 13 Tips To Lower Your Stress

marie-rapertoBy Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Interviewing etiquette can be stressful.  You don’t know what is to come and you want everyone to like you.  It can be a recipe for disaster.  What you have to remember is that everyone interviewing feels this way and hiring managers and recruiters take it into consideration.  But, as the interview approaches, the nerves come out.  What can you do to help this?  Well, there are a few tips to follow that can help you through the process.

  1. Job Interview Do your homework.  You may not know much about the job but research the company.  Is this the type of company you want to work for?
  2. Bring a working pen, clean paper and two copies of your resume.  The interviewer will probably have your resume, but you don’t know if you will be meeting with others.
  3. Dress appropriately.  Ladies, avoid oversized jewelry.  Wear natural makeup and a hairstyle that keeps your hair from falling in your face.
  4. Turn off your phone.  Lowering the volume or placing it on vibrate is not respectful to the interviewer.
  5. No gum.
  6. Be on time.
  7. Practice a firm hand shake and wait for the interviewer to initiate the shake.
  8. Listen, don’t speak.  You want to answer questions concisely.  You don’t want to be a chatterbox.
  9. Be careful of your body posture.  Bad posture could mean you are not interested or bored.
  10. Be nice to everyone and SMILE.
  11. If your interview is over a meal:  Do not drink.  Watch your table manners.  Remember to take small bites so you don’t have to speak with your mouth full.  Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu and, if you were invited to this meal, don’t offer to pay for it.
  12. On the same day, send a thank you note.  While email is fine, you can also send a handwritten note in the mail.
  13. Do not tweet/post/blog about your interview.

If you follow the basic tips, you will feel more confident and appear less nervous.

Happy interviewing!




Virtual Interviews: 5 Tips To Acing The Techology

virtual.interviewVirtual interviews are the new reality.  Thanks to new technologies, companies are using virtual interview software to screen candidates, find any red flags and not spend time and money on travel.  A virtual interview allows the parties to meet and interact.  It can be a live two-way conversation on Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangout, or it can be a pre-recorded interview.  In the latter, an employer will pre-record questions and the application will give the candidates a limited time to respond.  Virtual interviews have their own challenges.  If you are facing this type of interview, here are some tips to help you:

1.  Have the right equipment.  Invest in a webcam and, if possible, use a tripod.  Don’t depend on your iPhone.  Make sure you test the equipment and internet connectivity the day before the interview.  Technology glitches do happen and they can stress you out and also can give the impression you are not tech-savvy.

2.  Remember it’s video.  You can been seen.  Make sure you are dressed business-like and that your background is neat.   Don’t have a window behind you as lighting can be a problem.  Similarly, a white shirt without a jacket can make you look washed out.   Turn off  the TV or radio and make sure your children or pets don’t interrupt you.

3.  Make eye contact.  What you must remember is that you can’t look at the interviewer on the screen, you must look at the camera in order to make eye contact.  Make sure the camera is at eye level.

4.  Watch your body language.  Sit up straight and lean in.  Don’t slouch or fidget.  You want to look engaged and interested.

5.  Say hello and goodbye.  You can’t shake hands during a virtual interviewer.  So be prepared to greet the interviewer and to thank them to end the conversation.

Most importantly, be yourself.

 

 




The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes Magazine

Forbes’ Editor Randall Lane Celebrates Five Years & Proves The Golden Age For Print Magazines Has Only Just Begun

randall-lane“We just got our new MRI numbers a few weeks ago. Forbes magazine is at the highest print readership in its 99 year history; print readership. Not online, but print. And that’s MRI, independent research. We’re well over six million and pushing toward seven million readers in print, and we’ve never hot those numbers before.” Randall Lane

“This year, we had our highest, best-read print magazine ever; the cover with Ashton Kutcher had 8.8 million readers for that issue. So, when you do it right, the market for print magazines is as big as it’s ever been, maybe bigger than it’s ever been, as shown by the numbers. Our newsstand sales over the last five years have crept up, while our draw has gone down and our average price point has gone up. It’s a hard balance, but we’re able to do it because we’re putting out a more focused product and being smart about it.” Randall Lane

As Forbes magazine prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2017, the legacy brand’s editor, Randall Lane is celebrating his fifth year at the helm. And according to the title’s latest numbers, there is much for Randall and the magazine to be excited about.

Randall has taken Forbes magazine to peak levels of readership. According to this spring’s MRI report, the title’s readership is at 6.8 million in the U.S., a new all-time high in their 99-year history. And the magazine’s most-read issue ever, featuring Ashton Kutcher on the cover, was published this April and had 8.8 million readers. Over the past five years, Randall has also focused on investing more in the magazine, as well as uncovering new ways to develop and deliver content for today’s magazine reader. For example, he uses data from online content to learn about what content readers want most. And it is these innovative ideas that have given birth to the realization that the golden age of print may have just begun.

forbes-magazine-1I spoke with Randall recently and we talked about the upcoming 100th anniversary of Forbes and about his five-years as captain of the very large ship. Internationally, Forbes content and its mission of entrepreneurial capitalism continue to resonate, particularly with emerging economies. As he sees it, when people from around the world look to the United States for present-day heroes, it’s at the entrepreneurs that continue to bravely climb those mountains that most wouldn’t dare to.

Randall has also been focused on capturing the millennial audience and, based on the numbers; a new generation of doers is highly engaged with Forbes content across multiple platforms. Over the last seven years, Forbes magazine has seen a 50% increase with readers aged 18-34 – the largest increase of all 144 publications measured by MRI. Shortly after joining in 2011, Randall launched the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list and has since transformed it into one of Forbes’ most successful franchises. Today the Forbes’ Under 30 franchise is a global multichannel platform, which comprises 30 Under 30 lists published in print and online all over the world; live summits in the U.S., Asia and Israel; an Under 30 channel on Forbes.com and a Forbes Under 30 app.

So, having all of this to celebrate, and an upcoming centennial anniversary to boot; well, needless to say, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Randall Lane was a creative and interesting conversation about Forbes, past and present, and the bright future of print that he is a strong believer in. And Mr. Magazine™ would have to agree with him.

Up first the sound-bites:

On how his role as an editor has changed over the years: That’s a good question. In my opinion, the editor’s role has gotten so much more interesting and three-dimensional. You can’t look at a magazine as simply an inorganic printed media product, but as one platform of a multi-platform entity that’s really about telling a story and using a brand to reach as many people as possible, and be as groundbreaking as possible. So, to me, over the last five to ten years, the job has become much more interesting and rewarding.

On the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face over the years and how he overcame it: The stumbling blocks are really only opportunities. Forbes is all about entrepreneurship and it’s been that way for 99 years. And entrepreneurship is all about problem-solving and taking advantage of opportunities, and both the stumbling block and the opportunity over the last five years has been how do you take a brand, and Mike Perlis (President & CEO, Forbes Media) has said it many times; how do we build a company as big as the brand, and specifically for Forbes magazine; how do we take that reputation that we have, one that’s almost a century old, where you have people like Bruno Mars singing “I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazine,” we’re one of those iconic brands that means something, and everybody knows what it means; so how do you build a product that over delivers on their promise, so that’s what we’ve done over the last five years.

forbes-magazine-2On his plans for Forbes magazine as it celebrates its centennial anniversary next year: We are neck-deep in planning. We’re almost exactly a year-out from the anniversary, and we have a team of about 10 people that’s been working on this already for about six months. I don’t want to give away any secrets, other than it will involve a lot of very big names, and most important, a lot of very cool innovations.

On whether he thinks print will always be around: Well, I think so. Magazines are inherently, if produced correctly, a form that humans love consuming. We just have to understand why they’re consuming them and understand that there was a point 30 or 40 years ago where magazines had, again, an oligopoly on information, because people had to read them. No they don’t have to read them, so you have to make it where they love to read them. That’s a challenge, but it’s also a huge opportunity.

On his secret recipe for gaining a new audience, while maintaining his long-time readers as well: It’s respect for the brand. And I started with Forbes out of college, so I respect the brand. We have so many veterans on the management team, such as Lewis DVorkin. We have so many people who have entrepreneurial experience who also respect the brand, so we’re not trying to change what Forbes is; we’re making it more Forbes. And expand that base to a larger audience.

On the need for the printed Forbes with all of the information that’s out there on the web: What the magazine isn’t trying to do is compete with all of that information, because it just can’t. What the magazine is meant to do is, in a world where there is so much information, we curate a package that’s inspiring and teaches lessons; it reveals things that you’ve never seen or read before, and thus it becomes kind of a beacon in a world where information is everywhere.

On how the term “brand voice” differentiates Forbes from everything else out there: Brand voice is our product in native advertising, but it differentiates because Forbes was a pioneer in doing that. It’s now become sort of an industry standard and a salvation. But again, Lewis and Forbes were the pioneers and took a lot of criticism, which I never really understood, because there has always been advertorial in native advertising for decades. The only difference is they were trying to disguise it as editorial. The innovation in the power brand voice is that it’s completely transparent and it gives brands a way to tell great stories in a completely transparent way.

On what he thinks the focus of Forbes will be in the near future: We’re focused on entrepreneurship, and it’s only going to get stronger coming out of the election. The future of America and the strength of America is entrepreneurship and the greatest stories of America are the Facebook’s; the Snapchat’s; and the Instagram’s; and the Uber’s, and these young innovative companies. These are the heroes of America right now. It’s very hard to look at politics and get anything more than a little queasy.

On Forbes’ investigative pieces: We won a Loeb Award a year ago for an investigative piece looking at the looting in Angola and actually following the money, and looking at how the daughter of the president suddenly became the first woman billionaire from Africa.

On whether we are in better or worse shape as journalists today in the U.S.: I think it’s two things: journalism is in better shape just because there is no longer a system where only a few people have the power of the press in a few companies; today, anyone with talent can be a journalist. Now, anybody who is talented can be a journalist and break stories and get noticed, in terms of doing it themselves, and/or having the opportunity to do it within an organization.

On what keeps him up at night: Continuing to innovate enough and not resting on our laurels. Complacency is part of human nature. Our numbers are good, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and say we’re done. This fall, we’re going to tweak the editorial formula, not really tweak, but we’re in constant reinvention.

forbes-magazine-3
And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes Magazine.

Samir Husni: You’re approaching your fifth anniversary at Forbes, and over your entire career, you’ve technically done it all; from a food and restaurant critic to the editor of Justice Magazine and financial magazines. Can you tell me how your role as an editor has changed over the last five to ten years?

Randall Lane: That’s a good question. In my opinion, the editor’s role has gotten so much more interesting and three-dimensional. You can’t look at a magazine as simply an inorganic printed media product, but as one platform of a multiplatform entity that’s really about telling a story and using a brand to reach as many people as possible, and be as groundbreaking as possible. So, to me, over the last five to ten years, the job has become much more interesting and rewarding. And if it’s done right, the outcome is much better, because you’re able to reach people in so many different ways and change lives in so many different ways.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face over the years and how did you overcome it?

Randall Lane: The stumbling blocks are really only opportunities. Forbes is all about entrepreneurship and it’s been that way for 99 years. And entrepreneurship is all about problem-solving and taking advantage of opportunities, and both the stumbling block and the opportunity over the last five years has been how do you take a brand, and Mike Perlis (President & CEO, Forbes Media) has said it many times; how do we build a company as big as the brand, and specifically for Forbes magazine; how do we take that reputation that we have, one that’s almost a century old, where you have people like Bruno Mars singing “I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazine,” we’re one of those iconic brands that means something, and everybody knows what it means; so how do you build a product that over delivers on their promise, so that’s what we’ve done over the last five years.

We’ve honed in on how we can make the magazine experience richer and more “magazinier,” to coin a new word. How do you look at the environment of magazines that no longer have an oligopoly on information, and realize that it’s no longer enough to just print information on dead trees for the audience? We have to create an exceptional magazine experience specifically for our audience. We’ve made the articles longer and more in depth; we’ve invested a lot in photography, and we’ve invested in paper. We’ve strengthened the classic Forbes point of view, so that every story has an attitude and a voice. We’ve focused on packaging, so that when you read the print product, you see different elements on every page. Those are all things that are accentuated by print magazines. Again, we’ve focused on what makes magazines great, because quick stories that are timely and on the news are better for the website.

Samir Husni: What are your plans for Forbes magazine as it celebrates its 100th anniversary next year?

Randall Lane: We are neck-deep in planning. We’re almost exactly a year-out from the anniversary, and we have a team of about 10 people that’s been working on this already for about six months. I don’t want to give away any secrets, other than it will involve a lot of very big names, and most important, a lot of very cool innovations, because what we’re going to do with the centennial is not just honor and focus on the past, but also focus on the future and use it as a springboard to show what business, entrepreneurship and also what magazines can be like for the next 100 years.

Samir Husni: Can you think of any other product or any other entities, besides magazines in print that have lasted for such a long time?

Randall Lane: Electricity. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Randall Lane: Telephones?

Samir Husni: So, as long as we have electricity and telephones, we’ll have magazines?

forbes-magazine-4Randall Lane: (Laughs) Well, I think so. Magazines are inherently, if produced correctly, a form that humans love consuming. We just have to understand why they’re consuming them and understand that there was a point 30 or 40 years ago where magazines had, again, an oligopoly on information, because people had to read them. No they don’t have to read them, so you have to make it where they love to read them. That’s a challenge, but it’s also a huge opportunity.

We just got our new MRI numbers a few weeks ago. Forbes magazine is at the highest print readership in its 99 year history; print readership. Not online, but print. And that’s MRI, independent research. We’re well over six million and pushing toward seven million readers in print, and we’ve never hot those numbers before.

This year, we had our highest, best-read print magazine ever; the cover with Ashton Kutcher had 8.8 million readers for that issue. So, when you do it right, the market for print magazines is as big as it’s ever been, maybe bigger than it’s ever been, as shown by the numbers. Our newsstand sales over the last five years have crept up, while our draw has gone down and our average price point has gone up. It’s a hard balance, but we’re able to do it because we’re putting out a more focused product and being smart about it. If you look at our readership; the average median age, and I think this is key to the driver, has gone down. We’re now at age 42 as our average reader. So, we have a bigger and younger readership. And looking at our research numbers, we also have the same HHI or slightly up, so we’re able to make it a richer readership too. That’s a very trick to pull off, but if you’re focused on the product, this can be a glorious time for print.

Samir Husni: You’ve managed to attract new readership without losing loyal, long-time readers; it hasn’t been either/or with you as it has with so many other magazines, and I give you and your editorial team and all the other people working at Forbes all the credit for that. What’s your secret? So many other magazines have tried, but many lose their old audience and never really gain traction with a new audience. But in your case, you’ve kept the old audience and gained a new audience as well. What’s your secret recipe?

Randall Lane: It’s respect for the brand. And I started with Forbes out of college, so I respect the brand. We have so many veterans on the management team, such as Lewis DVorkin. We have so many people who have entrepreneurial experience who also respect the brand, so we’re not trying to change what Forbes is; we’re making it more Forbes. And expand that base to a larger audience.

The core message of Forbes: entrepreneurial capitalism, has never been more resonant, because if you think about it, especially for young people, when they come out of college their career aspirations aren’t to get some job with a big corporation and work there for 40 years; they want to start their own thing. They want to be Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. And that’s always been what Forbes is about, so we happen to have a very resonant message. Entrepreneurship has never been more important, and we’ve been able to pivot slightly and also understand that we can embrace young entrepreneurship. The 30 Under 30 franchise has become an incredibly important driver for us. Every year we do the Under 30 Summit, it is the biggest live event that Forbes has ever done.

So, we’re able to reach that younger audience, but this is also very relevant information for the more mature audience as well. It’s respectful of the core brand. There’s nobody craning their necks and saying, wait a second, this isn’t the magazine that I’m used to. Hopefully, it’s just a better, more relevant version of what they’ve always enjoyed.

Samir Husni: As you move forward and we, as a country, get through this crazy election year, do you think as you enter your centennial anniversary, you’ll find there’s more need for Forbes than ever before? There is so much information out there, but who is doing the curation?

Randall Lane: That’s a really smart question and the answer is, you’re so right about there being more information out there, that’s why forbes.com, and we just got our comScore numbers recently, and forbes.com just hit its highest ever readership; we’re at 52 million on comScore, which is more than twice of the Wall Street Journal. So, for all of that information out there, we have an amazing website to juggernaut business media and it’s able to do that.

But what the magazine isn’t trying to do is compete with all of that information, because it just can’t. What the magazine is meant to do is, in a world where there is so much information, we curate a package that’s inspiring and teaches lessons; it reveals things that you’ve never seen or read before, and thus it becomes kind of a beacon in a world where information is everywhere. It says, OK, here’s your regular dose of inspiration and cool stories to get yourself motivated to go out and change the world as much as you can.

Samir Husni: You’re the first entity that I remember to use the term “brand voice.” Why do you think coming up with the term “brand voice” instead of native advertising or content marketing, or whatever the current buzzword terminology is; how does the term “brand voice” differentiate from everything else that’s out there?

forbes-magazine-5Randall Lane: Brand voice is our product in native advertising, but it differentiates because Forbes was a pioneer in doing that. It’s now become sort of an industry standard and a salvation. But again, Lewis and Forbes were the pioneers and took a lot of criticism, which I never really understood, because there has always been advertorial in native advertising for decades. The only difference is they were trying to disguise it as editorial. The innovation in the power brand voice is that it’s completely transparent and it gives brands a way to tell great stories in a completely transparent way. It’s something that has been copied, but we’re still the innovators in that area. It’s been a great driver in terms of allowing our company to produce great journalism.

Samir Husni: Looking into the future and at you celebrating your sixth anniversary as editor at Forbes; with the elections behind us, what do you imagine the focus of Forbes will be next year?

Randall Lane: We haven’t really focused much on the elections because the core purpose of Forbes is entrepreneurial capitalism. I actually personally wrote a story on Donald Trump last year for the Forbes 400, detailing his 30-year dance with Forbes. We have decades of history on questioning what his net worth was and is.

We’re focused on entrepreneurship, and it’s only going to get stronger coming out of the election. The future of America and the strength of America is entrepreneurship and the greatest stories of America are the Facebook’s; the Snapchat’s; and the Instagram’s; and the Uber’s; and these young innovative companies. These are the heroes of America right now. It’s very hard to look at politics and get anything more than a little queasy. But when you look at what people around the world are looking at when it comes to America; who are the icons of America that people look up to in every country as entrepreneurs and innovators? And that’s what Forbes has always celebrated and that’s what we’re celebrating now to a degree that we’ve never done before. We’re really trying to focus on those people who are changing the world.

We also do a lot of investigative stories. My mentor, Jim Michaels, used to call Forbes the drama critic of capitalism, because we’re all for calling out the bad guys too. We’re the place you can go to look for heroes, lessons and people who have done wrong as well.

Samir Husni: I remember you not only questioned Trump’s wealth, but also Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia’s wealth…

Randall Lane: We won a Loeb Award a year ago for an investigative piece looking at the looting in Angola and actually following the money, and looking at how the daughter of the president suddenly became the first woman billionaire from Africa. How does that happen? (Laughs) We were able to give a very definitive blueprint of how, in reality, a country can be looted. And what was hailed originally when she hit our billionaire’s list was kind of a moment, because we had a woman billionaire from Africa. When we kind of rooted and dug into why, it actually became quite a sensation. We had 400,000 views online for a story about Angolan money and it also won a Loeb Award, so there is a civic good to following the money.

Samir Husni: Separate yourself from Forbes for just a bit and put on just your journalist’s hat; are we in better or worse shape today as journalists in the United States?

Randall Lane: I think it’s two things: journalism is in better shape just because there is no longer a system where only a few people have the power of the press in a few companies; today, anyone with talent can be a journalist. Now, anybody who is talented can be a journalist and break stories and get noticed, in terms of doing it themselves, and/or having the opportunity to do it within an organization.

We’ve never had a more diverse set of media options, in terms of what you read; we’ve never had more opportunity if you have a story to tell when it comes to ways of putting it out. If you have a story that’s true, in this environment, it will find a way to get out and you don’t have to convince somebody in one of the ten places that matter to tell your story. And I think that’s very powerful.

The second thing is that the journalistic model, the model to produce journalism in a way that allows the journalist/storyteller to make a living is challenged and there are ways around that. Places like Forbes are thriving, but it is challenging. And that’s something that we obviously have to keep an eye on.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Randall Lane: Continuing to innovate enough and not resting on our laurels. Complacency is part of human nature. Our numbers are good, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and say we’re done. This fall, we’re going to tweak the editorial formula, not really tweak, but we’re in constant reinvention.

I don’t really like redesigns or re-architectures, because I think you only do that in a situation where things are really not good, but I think on the flipside, if you are constantly kind of renovating, such as with your house; what can we do better? You can look at things room by room to see what can be done better or differently. We want to be cutting edge and do things that continue to push our readers.

So, again this fall, you’ll see another kind of twist where we’re going to focus on context and make each page a little more contextual, so that you’re getting more and more things out of every page you turn, which again makes the print experience that much more relevant. It’s a new way of looking at it. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but we’re going to turn up the wheel a little.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




You’re Ready For Your Video Interview. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

You're Ready For Your Video Interview. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?By Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

Don’t like being interviewed on video? Prefer an in-person meeting? Well, according to Chris Brown, Vice President of Human Resources at West Corporation, you are out of luck. Video interviewing is here to stay. Love it (most Millennials) or loathe it (many of the rest of us) we’ve all got to get better at it. And “getting better at it” means avoiding some of the pitfalls that are inherent in this kind of virtual interaction. So when I spoke with Brown last week, I was eager to hear his tips.

Carol Kinsey Goman: After all the interviews you’ve conducted via video, I’m sure you’ve seen your share of potentially career-limiting errors. Can you give me a “to do” list of how to best prepare for the kinds of technical glitches that can derail an interview.
Chris Brown: Here are a few basic steps to follow.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to set up and test meeting equipment before the interview. To make sure your technology is compatible, do a dry run before your interview. Video call a friend and test out the clarity and sound of your video chat. Calling into the interview early also gives you the chance to make sure all equipment is working properly and test for connectivity issues. In the end, giving yourself an extra few minutes will help you feel more calm and confident at the start of the call.
  • Be proactive. If your computer needs rebooting, make sure you do that before the interview begins. Shutting down programs you don’t need during the call avoids possible alerts or pop ups and keeps your computer from getting bogged down. In general, a wired connection is better than a wireless connection, so use land lines or Ethernet cables when possible to avoid signal issues. Make sure your audio quality is strong. I think a headset works best.
  • Share large and important files beforehand. If you’re planning to share or go over big files with the interviewer, send them in advance. Not only will this help you prepare, it will reduce the likelihood that pieces get “lost” – either in the web or in other participants’ inboxes – while on the call.
  • Skip the free conference call services. While free services can seem very appealing, free generally means low quality and inconsistency which can leave a bad impression on your customers. Unlike free services, trusted providers not only own the infrastructure they operate, they operate at fractional capacity to ensure peak times are covered and service delivery is consistent. While you don’t always have control over which video conference service the interviewer uses, if possible see if they have enterprise grade services you can use.
  • Work through glitches. If glitches are minor, try your best to ignore them and keep moving forward. However, if technology problems are blatant and preventing effective communication, acknowledge and apologize for the issue. If video is giving you trouble, try switching to audio only. And make sure you have the number for tech support or customer service at hand. Do your best to keep talking while they work to fix problems.
  • Always have an alternative way to connect. If you are nervous about having connectivity issues, it’s smart to share your contact info with your interviewer beforehand, either via email or in the chat element of the product that you are using. That way, your interviewer has a way to reach you in case technical glitches prevent the interview from going as planned. Make sure you have the information and confidence to dial in both ways. Being prepared to switch to Plan B saves times and energy when you’re trying to get your interview back on track. Outages happen. Ask for a phone number and have an email addressed, up, and ready to send if there is a problem.
Interview TipsGoman: What is the most annoying technical mistake an applicant has made in an interview with you?
Brown: Well, I don’t know if you’d call this “technical,” but one applicant scheduled the interview while his house was being renovated and we had to pause several times due to the sawing noise of  workman cutting drywall. Although he apologized for the interruptions, it was irritating because I felt as though he thought so little of my time that he couldn’t be bothered to make other arrangements. (Note: This comes under an expanded category that Brow has labeled “Don’t Be That Story,” and illustrates why it is important to do all you can to make the interview go smoothly.)
Goman: Which brings up the issue of where we should set up our computer for the interview.
Brown: Yes, the setting is important – especially if it proves to be a distraction. A plain background works best. Also be aware of the lighting – and how it may change during the day, depending on where you are setting up. And no pets or babies, please.Goman: Okay, we’ve got the technical side covered. What else should a candidate in a video interview prepare for?
Brown: I think the number one thing to keep in mind is that unlike an in-person interview, where a hand-written note is all the evidence of what you said, this interaction is being recorded. You need to anticipate that your interview will be shared with other interested parties. When you answer questions you need to think about what other people in the hiring process might want to hear from you. And if you are asked back for a second round, don’t be surprised if you are asked to expand on something you said previously. So be prepared.
Goman: I understand the importance of impression management in any interview. How is this different in a virtual setting?
Brown: Just an in a face-to-face interview, first impressions matter. A lot. That’s why you need to be technically connected early. If you are late, the interviewer’s  perception is that you are not prepared – or you simply don’t care. And an interviewer is impressed when it is apparent that you’ve has done your homework and can subtly display your knowledge of the company’s history, value proposition, or recent product announcement. Remember to speak to the camera and not the picture so that you’ll give the impression of making eye contact. Smile. HR professionals want prospective employees to be upbeat and display good, positive energy. (Note: One of Brown’s suggestions is to listen to “happy music” as part of preparing for the interview. My suggestions include “power posing” – like Superman or Wonder Woman – for two minutes before the interview and reading a list of your successes to “prime” your brain).
Goman: Is there anything you want to add that I haven’t asked?
Brown: There is one more important tip: Just because you are conducting the interview in the comfort of your home, don’t treat it lightly. Be genuine, be yourself, but don’t get sloppy. This is a business meeting. Look like a professional. Dress and conduct yourself as you would if the setting were more corporate.
Goman: Thank you so much!

About the Author: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is an international keynote speaker, leadership presence coach, expert on the impact of body language on leadership effectiveness, and author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” She can be reached by email: Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com or phone: 510-526-1727

 



Chopped: How To Make A Lunch Interview Successful

Lunch interview tipsLunch interviews happen quite frequently.  The job might be confidential, interviewers might not have the time in the office, an employer might want to see your social skills or they might want to impress you.  Whatever the situation, you are being evaluated and you must be prepared.  Here are a few dos and don’t to follow:

1.  Do some homework on the restaurant.  You can use this information to start a conversation or connect with the interviewer.  Does it have a history, why does the interviewer like it etc.

2.  Don’t become comfortable.  If the interviewer is being friendly and affable, you can certainly be less formal.  Just remember, it’s still an interview.

3.  Turn off your cell phone and put it away.

4.  Don’t start selling yourself.  Whatever the reason, lunch is still a social setting.  Follow the lead of the interviewer.  Listen and ask questions, if appropriate.

5.  Don’t over talk.  Keep any personal answers short and business answers to the point.

6.  See what the interviewer orders and follow that.  Don’t order the most expensive item and skip dessert.

7.  No matter what happens, remain composed and don’t ever be rude to the wait staff.

8.  Be on time.

 




The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Glamour Editor-In-Chief, Cindi Leive

“I think that print has the ability to commemorate a moment. I think it was a top executive at ESPN Magazine years ago who was talking about being at Tiger Woods’ house and he went down into his basement and there alongside all of his major trophies, he had framed his first cover of ESPN Magazine. And his first cover of Sports Illustrated. And that’s something that magazines can do; they can commemorate a moment in time and they do convey, when done right, a sort of importance.” Cindi Leive

January 2016 cover of Glamour. Photo by Steven Pan.

January 2016 cover of Glamour. Photo by Steven Pan.

From the “Glamour Woman of the Year Awards” to the latest in fashion, style, beauty and trends; Glamour has been one of the leading authorities in women’s general interest magazines for over 70 years. Legacy and longevity, with no signs of slowing down; the magazine is just as relevant and important today to the social and personal highlights of women’s lives as it was all those years ago when it was first introduced to readers.

Cindi Leive has been editor-in-chief of Glamour for the last 15 years and knows the intricacies of her brand better than most. She is a confident and stalwart believer in the magazine’s content-driven purpose and its readership. From her very first beginnings with Glamour to her stay at Self Magazine and then her ultimate return to Glamour as its editor-in-chief, Cindi revels in the magazine’s broad view of women’s lives, giving her the opportunity to connect with her readers on many levels of interest.

I spoke with Cindi recently and we talked about the magazine’s balance when it comes to age demographics and her ability to maintain that even keel with established readers and the new set that’s coming onboard every day. And how her role as editor-in-chief has changed over the years and what that means to the overall environment of the magazine and its team.

And I must confess, I also had to find out what keeps her up at night, since I interviewed her colleague and dear friend, Jill Herzig, (Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Oz The Good Life) the previous week and Jill answered the question: what kept her up at night with the answer – Cindi Leive. Well, of course, curiosity had to be satisfied. I’ll let you read Cindi’s response for yourself.

But despite my own ulterior motives, it was a most interesting and dynamic discussion with a woman who owns both of those adjectives herself completely. And one that I think defines the celebration of the printed word and its attributes with a beautifully-done magazine that has stood the test of time and is still going strong today.

I invite you to take a moment, sit down and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Cindi Leive, Editor-In-Chief, Glamour Magazine.

But first, the sound-bites:

Cindi Leive (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Glamour)

Cindi Leive (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Glamour)

On how her role as editor-in-chief has changed over the last 15 years with Glamour: I think the most interesting thing is that constant change is the new norm. When digital first became a part of all of our lives, as former print editors, I think there was this idea that we were going from print to digital and all you had to do was build a bridge to the other side and then you’d be over there and everything would be fine.

On whether she believes in today’s magazine media world someone could graduate with an English degree and still work at a magazine: No, I think someone could do that. Honestly, I loved my Liberal Arts education, but I definitely felt like the most hands-on training I got was with working at magazines during the summers. And obviously, the skills are different now. I just hired a new assistant and I looked at not just her writing skills, but also her digital skills, her social skills and her deftness with video. Those are new things, but you’ve always had to get practical work experience alongside your college education.

On leaving Glamour and going to Self and then coming back to glamour as editor-in-chief: In some ways it was like coming home, but it was so much of a bigger job than the one I had had before that nothing felt comfortable or easy about it. I do remember that when I was editing Self, the focus was very much on getting down to brass tacks; this is a magazine about fitness, health, nutrition and the body. But people were constantly pitching us stories about other aspects of women’s lives: relationships, politics and their family lives. And they were very interesting stories, but I’d have to say we’re definitely not going to publish that, and I’d have to tell them to pitch it to Glamour. So, it was fun after that to be able to move to Glamour and have a much broader view of a woman’s life: fashion and beauty, in addition to their social and personal lives.

On how she manages that audience balance of college-aged women and an older demographic with Glamour: If you think about that college reader and then think about a woman who might be twenty years older than her; first of all, women share a lot of things now. For example, fashion tastes are not, if you look at what a college student is wearing, very different. It’s often quite similar to what a woman 20 years her senior might wear. A woman who’s 40 no longer has the same kind of ridiculously old-fashioned parameters around what she should or shouldn’t wear or do beauty-wise or anything else, as she might have had 10 or 20 years ago. And I do think that many more things are shared now than they used to be.

On how she’s managed to guide a ship the size of Glamour through the transitions of today without upsetting established readers, while simultaneously adhering to new trends to attract new readers as well: Some of it you do by trial and error; some of it is I think that I genuinely like our broad readership. I grew up in Virginia and while I love New York and love living here, I do make it a point to get out of the New York bubble whenever I can. We’re very careful to make sure that our editors come from a variety of different backgrounds and really mirror our readership.

On whether her job today is easier or tougher than it used to be: I wouldn’t say that my job has gotten easier. I think anyone in the magazine industry who has told you that might be indulging in mind-altering substances. (Laughs again) I definitely think it’s a tougher business than it was five or ten years ago. You’d have to have your brain turned off not to say that. But it is a lot more fun. I learn something new every single day. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been in the industry for two decades; I feel like I started a year ago and I’m kind of the new girl because that’s how all of this change makes you feel.

On how she deals with controversy, such as the backlash about Caitlyn Jenner being chosen as one of Glamour’s Women of the Year, in this digital age where responses can be immediate: First of all, there’s a controversy every day, so you can’t get too rattled by it. Whatever the epic thunderstorm is that’s happening around you right now, tomorrow it’ll be around somebody else, so I don’t think that you can edit well if you’re constantly paying attention to that. Obviously, you need to know what people are talking about, especially if they’re in your audience and then you can decide whether to respond. But you can’t get rattled to your core. The news cycle now is so incredibly and sometimes, horrifically short. For better or worse, everybody will be onto something else in a matter of minutes.

On any words of wisdom, as a former ASME president, she would offer her colleagues about magazines and the magazine industry: I do think the magazines that will survive will be the ones with strong points of view, whether it’s stated political points of view or points of view meaning particular journalistic values that they endorse. Or you’re a magazine that really cares about and celebrates incredible photography, one that really champions and gives great real estate to beautiful writing or do you have a really strong point of view.

On what role she thinks print plays in this digital age: I think that print has the ability to commemorate a moment. I think it was a top executive at ESPN Magazine years ago who was talking about being at Tiger Woods’ house and he went down into his basement and there alongside all of his major trophies, he had framed his first cover of ESPN Magazine. And his first cover of Sports Illustrated. And that’s something that magazines can do; they can commemorate a moment in time and they do convey, when done right, a sort of importance. I just think that no magazine editor can rest on their laurels about that.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly at her house: It depends. It definitely could be a magazine. Usually for me it’s not my iPad, unless I’m reading a book or watching a movie. It is quite often though my phone. My phone is the thing that I am most frequently not without and that’s true for our readers as well. We’ve had incredible audience growth on Glamour.com and in all of our social platforms the bulk of that now is on mobile.

On anything else that she’d like to add: With our digital platforms, video has been growing nicely for us. We have 18 million video views per month now. I’m proud that it’s been a really strong year for us. We’ve taken from franchises that have been around for a while at Glamour, and about which we are very proud, and we reinvented them for what our audience wants now. We grew the social media footprint of Glamour Women of the Year in a really remarkable way so that we have a 30% increase in media impressions this year over last year.

On what motivates her to get out of bed in the morning: There’s that moment when you get to see something go out into the world; something that your team has created and worked on and then you get the audience feedback, which I still get a rush from. In the old days, as my staff could tell you as they roll their eyes, I used to delight in reading reader’s letters and emails aloud to the team because that’s why we’re all doing this, to connect with that reader, whether she’s in L.A. or Des Moines or wherever she’s reading the magazine.

On what keeps her up at night: Everything. I am a total insomniac. (Laughs) One of the things that keep me up a lot at night is talent. I think we’re constantly redefining what talent is and so I’m constantly thinking about how we can make sure that we’re making Glamour the place to work for the best and brightest people across all of these different platforms.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™interview with Cindi Leive, Editor-In-Chief, Glamour Magazine.

Samir Husni: You are approaching your 15th year as editor-in-chief at Glamour and a lot has changed when it comes to the role of an editor-in-chief, and with the industry as a whole. Can you briefly describe those changes that you’ve experienced as editor-in-chief of a major magazine over the years?

Cindi Leive: I think the most interesting thing is that constant change is the new norm. When digital first became a part of all of our lives, as former print editors, I think there was this idea that we were going from print to digital and all you had to do was build a bridge to the other side and then you’d be over there and everything would be fine.

But what’s happened is it’s a much more fundamental shift than that. It’s a shift that’s not from print to digital, but from status quo to constant change. At first it was about how do we get our websites up to par and how do we grow our audiences there, but wait a second, we shouldn’t just be doing that, we should also be developing great content on all of these social platforms and we should be doing video.

We should also be doing apps; I just saw a presentation this morning about how people now largely ignore most of the apps they have and the new way that you’re really going to reach them is through notifications on their notification screens, so you should think about the content that you’re actually delivering through those notifications. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Cindi Leive: The old way of thinking, it wasn’t that it was just print; it was that this was an industry that had kind of existed one way for a really long time, maybe too long. And now we’re in a period where it’s not that you just needed to learn one new set of skills and then you could put your feet up on your desk and everything would be fine. It’s now that you’re constantly learning new skills and the second you master whatever the platform du jour is, a new one comes along.

And that means not only do you need the people on your team, who have the right skills to get you onto those platforms, thinking this new way, it also means that you need a totally different way of thinking about what you do too. So, whatever you’re doing right now, you’re going to be doing it fairly differently in a year or two.

Samir Husni: Do you think somebody today could actually major in English and minor in Religion and after graduation work as an assistant editor at a magazine, or has that level of skills changed as well?

Cindi Leive: No, I think someone could do that. Honestly, I loved my Liberal Arts education, but I definitely felt like the most hands-on training I got was with working at magazines during the summers. And obviously, the skills are different now. I just hired a new assistant and I looked at not just her writing skills, but also her digital skills, her social skills and her deftness with video. Those are new things, but you’ve always had to get practical work experience alongside your college education.

I do think that the great original thought and terrific writing are, if anything, more important, contrary to popular wisdom, which is that we’re turning into a bunch of knuckle-dragging droolers who don’t read. Actually, people read quite a bit. And it may be that some of the things they’re reading are very short, from a headline to a Tweet; long-form has its own aficionados and some people say it’s also growing online, but whatever it is, writing skills are crucially important.

And that’s true, by the way, in all parts of business. A lot of business used to get conducted by people talking on the phone, now most everything is written and if you can’t nail your point in good, clear, crisp, concise writing with a voice, you’re in trouble. And that’s true whether you want to go into media or medicine.

Samir Husni: I tell my students constantly, and I took it from an editor in the U.K. where she wrote: typing is the new talking. It’s exactly as you’re saying.

Cindi Leive: Yes.

Samir Husni: You started at Glamour and then you left and went to Self and then you came back to Glamour as editor-in-chief. Can you go back to 2001 when you were offered the job of editor-in-chief and tell me, was it like coming home? Or what was your feeling moving from Self back to Glamour since Glamour was your first paying job?

Cindi Leive: In some ways it was like coming home, but it was so much of a bigger job than the one I had had before that nothing felt comfortable or easy about it. I do remember that when I was editing Self, the focus was very much on getting down to brass tacks; this is a magazine about fitness, health, nutrition and the body. If I’m a woman buying this magazine, I want to know that it’s going to make my abs better, and didn’t mean to be a general interest magazine.

But people were constantly pitching us stories about other aspects of women’s lives: relationships, politics and their family lives. And they were very interesting stories, but I’d have to say we’re definitely not going to publish that, and I’d have to tell them to pitch it to Glamour. So, it was fun after that to be able to move to Glamour and have a much broader view of a woman’s life: fashion and beauty, in addition to their social and personal lives. It was really a 360 degree view, so that was definitely gratifying.

I did feel like I knew on a gut-level what the brand needed to be and should be and I had an appreciation of who the readers were, so that made parts of the job easier. I don’t think I was stressed about what the content should be, but at the same time I was running a much bigger team than I had before and with a much bigger budget. And my boss liked to tell me every time I ran into him in the hall: as Glamour goes, so goes the company. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Cindi Leive: So, that was new. In some ways, it was like coming home, but it certainly wasn’t cushy.

Samir Husni: Glamour has managed to keep its connectivity to college-aged women and at the same time grow up with that college-aged woman. It’s not like once you graduate from college you leave Glamour. How did you manage that balance and have Glamour graduate with your reader, yet remain with the university-aged female as well?

Cindi Leive: I think it’s a couple of things. If you think about that college reader and then think about a woman who might be twenty years older than her; first of all, women share a lot of things now. For example, fashion tastes are not, if you look at what a college student is wearing, very different. It’s often quite similar to what a woman 20 years her senior might wear. A woman who’s 40 no longer has the same kind of ridiculously old-fashioned parameters around what she should or shouldn’t wear or do beauty-wise or anything else, as she might have had 10 or 20 years ago. And I do think that many more things are shared now than they used to be.

And other than that, I think that Glamour has benefited from a lot of big social phenomenon like this whole phenomenon we’re seeing now with college-aged women; women in their twenties, being incredibly close to their mothers. They share everything and they’re much more likely to talk on the phone every day, rather than the way a woman in her 40s might have grown up, separating herself from her mother. Her mother wasn’t as likely to have worked or had a career; even if you loved your mother dearly, you didn’t necessarily want to model your life after hers.

And I think a lot of what we are seeing now is that a lot of young women feel that they’re mothers are their role models. So, there is this generational closeness that exists psychologically that allows a magazine to talk to women of a lot of different ages.

And on a very practical level, we’re very careful, if you look at the print magazine or the website or our video content, to make sure that there are things that speak to women at a lot of different life stages. The thing that is the absolute favorite video series or favorite column of a 21-year-old might not be the same as a 40-year-old. But I do think we’ve sort of benefited from this social phenomenon of compression between ages.

A lot of women in their late 30s are addicted to Snapchat and they got on it because their 13-year-old daughters were on it and so you see this phenomenon of pop culture obsessions, media habits, fashion trends and beauty practices being spread and shared among women of different ages.

Samir Husni: And how easy was that phenomenon transition for you? You’re not an editor of a magazine with a hundred thousand in circulation or a half million; it’s a big, mass general interest magazine, with over two million plus. How were you able to maneuver that ship without scaring the established readers as you set a course to attract a new readership as well?

Cindi Leive: Some of it you do by trial and error; some of it is I think that I genuinely like our broad readership. I grew up in Virginia and while I love New York and love living here, I do make it a point to get out of the New York bubble whenever I can. We’re very careful to make sure that our editors come from a variety of different backgrounds and really mirror our readership.

And if you’re going to be a great editor at Glamour, you’re not just interested in talking to the chattering classes; you’re really interested in talking to American women of all different types, all political parties, and all viewpoints in cities and in small towns.

The good news is that so much of our culture is shared now that I think there’s a real sophistication among all women. There aren’t really any small towns anymore.

Samir Husni: Has your job today become easier or tougher?

Cindi Leive: (Laughs) I wouldn’t say that my job has gotten easier. I think anyone in the magazine industry who has told you that might be indulging in mind-altering substances. (Laughs again) I definitely think it’s a tougher business than it was five or ten years ago. You’d have to have your brain turned off not to say that.

But it is a lot more fun. I learn something new every single day. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been in the industry for two decades; I feel like I started a year ago and I’m kind of the new girl because that’s how all of this change makes you feel. I do think it’s incredibly exciting to be someplace where some dilemma or challenge or interesting problem or phenomenon is landing on your desk every day that you could not have imagined a year ago. And I think that’s the fun of it.

Some things do get easier, like it is an incredible pleasure now that you don’t have to wonder how your readership or your audience feels about different issues. You have the ability to post something or try something and get immediate feedback. The ramp-up to trying anything new in print was so glacially slow and epically long; you’d have to do templates, prototypes for print magazines and then any mistake you made was going to be preserved forever and now it’s just much easier to try things. Like if you want to have someone do a column for the magazine, you can try it online and see what people think.

It doesn’t mean that we aren’t incredibly careful and that we don’t preserve quality, but it is just so much easier to experiment and so much easier to talk to your readership all of the time.

One of the things that’s allowed us to build a strong social presence is that Glamour has always been very much by definition an inclusive brand; it was never the magazine that just existed behind glass to celebrate somebody else’s perfect way. It was always a magazine that intended to reach a hand out to the reader and say that we’re in this together and your voice is important too.

And now we can do that in a very real way all of the time via social media. We can write about how we made certain decisions and if somebody has a question about why we made a certain decision, they can write me a letter or post on my Instagram and I’ll respond to them and explain our thinking and I think that keeps us honest and it also helps us know what readers really think and believe and who they really are.

Samir Husni: Recently, during the 25th anniversary of Glamour’s Women of the Year, you had the controversy concerning Caitlyn Jenner being chosen as one of the Women of the Year and some people not approving. But you stuck to your guns and said that she was one of your choices and would remain so. In this day and age how does an editor deal with a controversial issue such as that, where you will definitely hear from people, positively or negatively, immediately?

Glamour December Cover. Photo by Tom Munro.

Glamour December Cover. Photo by Tom Munro.

Cindi Leive: First of all, there’s a controversy every day, so you can’t get too rattled by it. Whatever the epic thunderstorm is that’s happening around you right now, tomorrow it’ll be around somebody else, so I don’t think that you can edit well if you’re constantly paying attention to that.

Obviously, you need to know what people are talking about, especially if they’re in your audience and then you can decide whether to respond. But you can’t get rattled to your core. The news cycle now is so incredibly and sometimes, horrifically short. For better or worse, everybody will be onto something else in a matter of minutes.

And I think it’s important in moments like that to think about how you really do feel about your decision. I’ve been in positions before where the magazine has received criticism over things that I thought were valid and I tried to be forthright and respond the other way, by telling them they had a point and I’d listened to the criticisms and here’s what I planned on doing about it.

In this particular case, I didn’t consider there to be anything especially controversial about naming Caitlyn Jenner a Woman of the Year. We’ve had 397 Women of the Year over the last 25 years and two of them have been transgender and that was a choice that I felt confident the majority of our readers, most of whom are women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, would support the rights of transgender people. I understand that these changes don’t happen overnight, some people are going to feel rattled by it, and most of them were not in our readership and were encouraged by special interest groups. You just can’t let yourself get rattled by it. To quote Tony Kushner, who I had quoted in a blog post I read about this: “The world only spins forward.” And our ideas about how people live and who is afforded the right of basic dignity change over time. And that’s a good thing.

I did not feel the least bit fundamentally concerned about it. I felt this was a decision that we believed in and we supported the rights of transgender Americans to be themselves and live their lives and that was that.

Samir Husni: You’re a former ASME president; what words of wisdom or encouragement do you give to your colleagues nationwide in terms of sticking to their guns, continuing to be creators and curators with credibility, as reflectors of our society, because I’m one of those people who believe that magazines are the best reflectors of our society?

Cindi Leive: I do think the magazines that will survive will be the ones with strong points of view, whether it’s stated political points of view or points of view meaning particular journalistic values that they endorse. Or you’re a magazine that really cares about and celebrates incredible photography, one that really champions and gives great real estate to beautiful writing or do you have a really strong point of view.

We’re very strongly pro-woman and I think that’s not accidental; it’s how we are. You have to stand for something these days because information itself is ubiquitous. I used to race home from junior high school on the days that I thought my Seventeen Magazine was going to be in my mailbox because it was my only window growing up in Virginia. It was my only window on what girls were thinking and doing and to me, most importantly, where around the country and in fact the world, they were doing it.

That’s not true anymore. Our readers have a million options, a million different ways she can get any information on the planet at any time and I think what’s going to make her loyal to a particular magazine is its lens on the world. What is the point of view? Is it energetic? Is it personal? Does it speak to her with a voice that’s different from what she’s getting everywhere else?

So, I do think that point of view is important and there are lots of different ways that you can have a point of view. But having some point of view is more important than it used to be.

Samir Husni: With all of the talk about the Vanity Fair cover with Caitlyn Jenner; nobody remembers that she appeared on ABC with Andrea Mitchell; the pixels on the screen disappeared in a few hours or a few days later. But with those magazine issues, people are still talking about the Vanity Fair covers; people are still talking about the Woman of the Year. In this digital age, what role do you think print still plays?

Cindi Leive: I don’t particularly consider myself a print editor anymore. If you looked at my calendar, I easily spend as much time every day on digital and video and online experiences; all of that. And in all of those areas, we try to think what we can do there that we can’t do anywhere else.

But I think that print has the ability to commemorate a moment. I think it was a top executive at ESPN Magazine years ago who was talking about being at Tiger Woods’ house and he went down into his basement and there alongside all of his major trophies, he had framed his first cover of ESPN Magazine. And his first cover of Sports Illustrated.

And that’s something that magazines can do; they can commemorate a moment in time and they do convey, when done right, a sort of importance. I just think that no magazine editor can rest on their laurels about that. Anybody who believes that just because they’re doing something in print, it’s more important, that’s an outdated way of thinking.

Samir Husni: If I show up at your house unexpectedly; what would I find you doing? Reading an iPad? Reading a magazine? Watching television?

Cindi Leive: It depends. It definitely could be a magazine. Usually for me it’s not my iPad, unless I’m reading a book or watching a movie. It is quite often though my phone. My phone is the thing that I am most frequently not without and that’s true for our readers as well. We’ve had incredible audience growth on Glamour.com and in all of our social platforms the bulk of that now is on mobile.

Our readers are most likely looking at our site and our content on their phone and I live my life the same way. Much to the chagrin of my husband; I can be sitting there during family time reading something on my phone. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Cindi Leive: With our digital platforms, video has been growing nicely for us. We have 18 million video views per month now. I’m proud that it’s been a really strong year for us. We’ve taken from franchises that have been around for a while at Glamour, and about which we are very proud, and we reinvented them for what our audience wants now. We grew the social media footprint of Glamour Women of the Year in a really remarkable way so that we have a 30% increase in media impressions this year over last year.

We’ve been the trending topic on Twitter on multiple occasions over the course of the year with things that we’ve done. And I know it sort of easy to roll your eyes at these things and say that’s so superficial or shallow, but I’m as proud of those moments, which show that we’re connecting with our readers in new places, as I am of our National Magazine Awards. So, I think you need both. It’s and, not either/or, now.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Cindi Leive: There’s that moment when you get to see something go out into the world; something that your team has created and worked on and then you get the audience feedback, which I still get a rush from. In the old days, as my staff could tell you as they roll their eyes, I used to delight in reading reader’s letters and emails aloud to the team because that’s why we’re all doing this, to connect with that reader, whether she’s in L.A. or Des Moines or wherever she’s reading the magazine.

And now we get that to the nth degree. We released our January issue recently and I’ve always wanted to do a cover of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together and so we finally engineered it and being able to see it go out there and see our audience tagging one another over and over again in the comments, which you know is shorthand for how great they thought it was. That’s exactly what you want and that’s incredibly satisfying. Being able to see a story that one of our editors has worked on go out there and connect with readers is also exciting.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Cindi Leive: Everything. I am a total insomniac. (Laughs) One of the things that keep me up a lot at night is talent. I think we’re constantly redefining what talent is and so I’m constantly thinking about how we can make sure that we’re making Glamour the place to work for the best and brightest people across all of these different platforms. And how we can continue to attract editors and designers and developers here who can push us, because I think, in answer to your earlier question about how I take this huge brand, this kind of cruise ship in its own right, and do something disruptive with it. The places where we’ve been able to do that successfully have come from bringing editors and other staffers in who are going to push themselves. So, I think about that.

Samir Husni: I don’t know if you realize this or not, but you keep one of your colleagues up at night.

Cindi Leive: Uh-oh.

Samir Husni: Yes, because she’s thinking all of the time about running with you. She runs with you in the mornings. Jill Herzig?

Cindi Leive: Oh, yes.

Samir Husni: I interviewed Jill last week and I asked her what kept her up at night and she said thinking about running in the mornings with you.

Cindi Leive: (Laughs) Yes, and when we run, we end up talking about things like this. We never talk about our love lives or what happened the night before; it’s always something like: what’s your Snapchat strategy. (Laughs again) She’s a really dear friend.

Samir Husni: (Laughs too) Thank you.

 




Visual Storytelling At Its Best – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With David Griffin

“There’s an advantage with print in that it is wholly an intimate and static environment by which you can consume the content, so as your reading it’s quiet and it’s intimate. And the looking at photographs and the movement of photographs in print also has an intimacy and quietness to it. Whereas on the web, it’s unfortunate that you consume the web generally on a device that also is being used for a lot of other things like email and text messaging, phone calls and everything else that’s coming in to that device and hence that quietness I was talking about is broken. And it becomes a more disruptive environment and because of that, words and static pictures have a tendency to feel lacking, particularly when you’ve got everything else buzzing and speaking and making noise and moving all around it.” David Griffin

(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

From photography to editing and design, David Griffin is a multi-talented man, whose career wingspan reaches across many creative miles, including art director of The Hartford Courant; art director of the Sunday magazine of The Philadelphia Inquirer; design director of NG Books; and creative director of US News & World Report. He was also director of photography of National Geographic magazine, before going on to become executive editor for e-publishing at the National Geographic Society, and visuals editor of The Washington Post where he oversaw the visual journalism created by the design, photography, video, graphics and digital teams.

Today David is the principle owner of DGriffinStudio, which specializes in publication design, branding strategy, and visual media consulting. To say that he knows a thing or two about more than one facet of media publishing would be a numerical truth that no one could deny.

His concept of visual storytelling is one that incorporates the power of the image into the actual text of the story; a marriage of sorts that produces stunning visuals that only enhance and augment the words to a brilliant consummation of the duo’s individual beauty and effect.

I spoke with David recently about his career journey (no pun intended) as he’s currently working with Smithsonian’s latest magazine, Journeys, within the framework of his own self-imposed freelance-dom where he his king of his own time and interests. His joy at being able to actually create again, rather than manage, was very evident as we talked about the many hats he’d worn and the ultimate full-circle his creative life had taken.

It was a deeply interesting and knowledgeable trek inside the mind of a creative master who knows what it takes to connect with a reader and reach human emotions on every level.

I hope you enjoy this in depth discussion on the art of visual storytelling as only a person who has lived it and created it can tell. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with David Griffin.

But first, the sound-bites:

On whether he thinks we’re doing a better job today using visuals in the art of storytelling than we did 10 years ago: In general, I think there’s recognition at even the highest levels at most publications that visual storytelling is an important component of how you connect with an audience. That said, I do think that there’s something troubling underneath of it that shouldn’t be ignored, in that the profession of creating images for that kind of interaction has become exceedingly tough as budgets have been cut and the general sense that images are worth less, not worthless in their use, but that you don’t have to pay as much for images, partly because of the perceived idea that there are so many more images now available because of social media.

On whether he believes that editors and publishers today only pay lip service to the value of visuals when it comes to content: That’s hard to say, because I’d need to know the individuals who are saying it, because I think that there are some editors who do believe it and also dedicate resources to that belief. But when it comes to budgets and allocations of money to not only photographers, but also professional photo editors or quality printing, all things that are very important to the visuals; do they allocate those resources when they’re under stress? I’m not so sure that always happens.

On whether visual storytelling can be done in both digital and print platforms or is one better than the other in delivery: In terms of delivery; I don’t think there’s any difference. There’s a difference in the experience, but they both have their own attributes. I don’t particularly think one is better than the other. One of the beauties of digital of course is that it’s infinitely expandable, so you’re not restricted by the finite needs of print. But that can also lead to sloppy editing, so there’s a bit of a downside to that; you might think that you could just publish everything. There’s an advantage with print in that it is wholly an intimate and static environment by which you can consume the content, so as your reading it’s quiet and it’s intimate. And the looking at photographs and the movement of photographs in print also has an intimacy and quietness to it.

On his concept of visual storytelling and how he implements it into his work: Generally I start out by sitting down with whatever the content or the story is, which the most preferable place is at the beginning before the content or the story has actually been written. You want to sit down with someone and talk about what they’re hoping to go do because if you’re working at any publication, it’s important to first determine how important the story is to the publication because that can make a big difference.

On whether he considers himself a photographer first, a designer second and an editor third: No, I’m a designer first; it’s just that I have a very strong love of photography. I didn’t work as a professional photographer long enough; I was a newspaper photographer for the first five years of my career. So, I don’t feel like I earned those chops anymore. But my love for it is there. And because of my involvement at National Geographic, which is so heavily focused on photography; it became an area that I fell into.

On which he loves working on more, newspapers or magazines and some of the differences between the two: The difference is just pace. And I would absolutely say that I’m much more of a magazine person. I love the information of newspapers and I love the medium of it, but in terms of what I do in working with visuals and doing more long-range projects, magazines are just basically more oriented toward that.

On the information speed age we’re living in and who’s trying to catch up to whom; us or the audience: They’re different candles that you’re feeding; the day-to-day, now down to minute-by-minute of the world. And you even see newspapers which are on a 24-hr. cycle, struggling with the fact that they’ve almost lost control of the daily feed because of Twitter. When something breaks now it’s no longer about going to pick up a newspaper and see what they did with it, it’s more usual to see what happened on their phones right in their hands.

On if someone showed up at his house unexpectedly, what they would find him doing, reading a magazine, looking at his iPad or watching TV: Probably reading a magazine. I’m an avid magazine reader. I love magazines. I also read a lot online with an iPad. I definitely do that too. And I read print books and online books as well. It just depends on my mood. I don’t like to carry something with me when I’m traveling. But I consume it all.

On what motivates him to get out of bed in the mornings: Whatever the projects are; I’m on. It’s terrible, but I get up sometimes as early as 3:00 a.m. I’m not a night person. So, I tend to go to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 in the evenings. And honestly I’m a horrible morning person, just ask my wife. I set my day at full-speed and then it’s just one long slide to bed. I don’t have peaks and valleys; I peak the moment I get up. I get up often eager to get started on projects, so I work for two or three hours in the mornings before my wife gets up. Then I help her get off to work and then go back to work myself.

On what keeps him up at night: Flooding details; that’s mostly it. The downside of anything is that you have many clients and they’re all not in coordination with each other and you’re never allowed to tell one that you’re working for the other. So, it’s the balancing of it.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™interview with David Griffin.

Samir Husni: I know your love for storytelling and using visuals within that art form; what do you think is the status today when it comes to using visuals in the art of storytelling, whether it’s in newspapers or magazines? Do you think that we’re doing a better job today than we did 10 years ago?

David Griffin: In general, I think there’s recognition at even the highest levels at most publications that visual storytelling is an important component of how you connect with an audience.

That said, I do think that there’s something troubling underneath of it that shouldn’t be ignored, in that the profession of creating images for that kind of interaction has become exceedingly tough as budgets have been cut and the general sense that images are worth less, not worthless in their use, but that you don’t have to pay as much for images, partly because of the perceived idea that there are so many more images now available because of social media. It has an unfortunate echo into the profession; basically people thinking that anybody can take any given picture. It’s like looking at a Picasso and saying, I could have done that, but you didn’t.

Since I’m involved in the photographic community and such a lover of visual storytelling, it’s been troubling and hard to watch individuals that I’ve known for years struggling, to be honest, to make a living or trying to get the resources and commitment to the time being given to people in the field. And of course what it comes down to is money, because most people are paid by day rates. So, there’s a great part to it and a bad part to it. It’s not an easy answer because of those two parts.

Samir Husni: Every editor and publisher that I speak with keeps reminding me that we live in a visual age; we live in a digital age. And they highlight the importance of digital so much, but do you think it’s just lip service?

Smithsonian MagazineDavid Griffin: That’s hard to say, because I’d need to know the individuals who are saying it, because I think that there are some editors who do believe it and also dedicate resources to that belief. And I also believe that there are editors out there who say it because they know to be an editor in today’s world means that you’re not going to get up and say that you can do a publication only with words, because they know the publisher higher up would probably get rid of them.

But when it comes to budgets and allocations of money to not only photographers, but also professional photo editors or quality printing, all things that are very important to the visuals; do they allocate those resources when they’re under stress? I’m not so sure that always happens.

Most editors started as reporters and writers, so when decisions have to be made regarding budget cuts, they tend to cut the visuals first because it’s not their home. Even though they know the importance of it, they also believe, and probably partly rightly, strong reporting and strong writing is also something that has to be protected. I’m not saying that there’s any kind of conspiracy; I’m just saying that it’s human nature for people who are in charge and come from a certain background to assume the importance of their original roots over one that they have grown to learn the importance of because of changes in readers’ habits.

Samir Husni: David, I know that your background is in photography, graphic design, art directing and editing. And when you and I were in South Africa at the Media 24 Summit, your presentation was on that visual storytelling that is so important to you. Can you expand a little on what that whole concept of visual storytelling is and can it be done on both the digital platform and on ink on paper, or one is better than the other in that delivery?

David Griffin: In terms of delivery; I don’t think there’s any difference. There’s a difference in the experience, but they both have their own attributes. I don’t particularly think one is better than the other.

One of the beauties of digital of course is that it’s infinitely expandable, so you’re not restricted by the finite needs of print. But that can also lead to sloppy editing, so there’s a bit of a downside to that; you might think that you could just publish everything. Well, you could, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

There’s an advantage with print in that it is wholly an intimate and static environment by which you can consume the content, so as your reading it’s quiet and it’s intimate. And the looking at photographs and the movement of photographs in print also has an intimacy and quietness to it. Whereas on the web, it’s unfortunate that you consume the web generally on a device that also is being used for a lot of other things like email and text messaging, phone calls and everything else that’s coming in to that device and hence that quietness I was talking about is broken. And it becomes a more disruptive environment and because of that, words and static pictures have a tendency to feel lacking, particularly when you’ve got everything else buzzing and speaking and making noise and moving all around it.

I do think it takes a level of discipline by someone who is dedicated to the love of and the intimacy of reading and consuming that way to want to ignore all of the noise and still consume on a digital device. It comes down to, if you ignore the entire periphery, all the potential distractions, I don’t think that there’s a significant difference between print and digital when it comes to the actual I’m-focusing-on-this-story-right-at-this-moment-and-everything-else-is-out-of-my-periphery. It’s like the difference between trying to read a novel on a subway versus sitting in your home in a reading room. It would be a similar kind of environment. You have to willfully decide you’re going to ignore the noise to be able to consume it.

Samir Husni: Tell me a little about your concept of visual storytelling and how you actually implement it into your work.

Living on a Dollar a DayDavid Griffin: Generally I start out by sitting down with whatever the content or the story is, which the most preferable place is at the beginning before the content or the story has actually been written. You want to sit down with someone and talk about what they’re hoping to go do because if you’re working at any publication, it’s important to first determine how important the story is to the publication because that can make a big difference. If an editor says I love this story; it’s fantastic and I want it to be the cover that tells you certain things about what you’re going to want to do.

Whereas if the editor says I kind of like this story, but I’m not so sure about it; then you’re going to scale your effort to that initial expectation. Obviously, as a journalist if you fall into a great story, even if an editor didn’t believe it was going to be a great story, you still can scale up of course, and hopefully the editor will realize it’s better than what was originally expected and they’ll flex to give it more space or more play.

So it starts with that conversation about what the expectations are for the story and then off people go into the field to produce the work. And then when you come back; in general, I’d like an environment that’s, assuming that it’s a classic writer/photographer situation, it’s sitting down with both and if the writer has created a manuscript or generally a rough draft, you want to sit down and read that and look at it. Then it’s time to start selecting the photographs, not with the idea, and this is the important part; the selection of the photographs should move with the text; they certainly should try to come to the same conclusion, Generally, a writer and a photographer in the field together are communicating, the pictures should be perceiving what the story is on similar lines.

But photographs are different in that they bring atmosphere and emotion and different elements than sometimes the words do; they can all do similar things, but they do them in different ways. And so you don’t want to just select photographs because the writer wrote about something and you feel you need to include a picture of it. I think that’s a very dangerous way to go about selecting photographs, particularly if that forces you into selecting subpar images merely to reinforce something that the writer has written about.

And vice-versa, if the photographer falls into a great situation that the writer did not get to see, it’s OK to let the photographs carry that situation and show it. That’s what good captions are for.

So, there’s a dance there that you do. I tend to like to read the manuscript, get a sense of where it’s going, and then edit the photographs based purely on the photographs and talking to the photographer about what they experienced and then when you’re sitting down with the core selection of images, then we sit there and say OK, we have certain images that marry up with the text; let’s try to make sure that we pace along with that, because a reader’s experience should be that the pacing of the images matches to some degree, but not an absolute this-picture-must-appear-on-this-page kind of thing, because I think that’s crazy. No one is perceiving things in that way. Generally folks, from my experience, want to look through the photographs first and then they go back and read the text. So, they are experienced at different times and in different ways.

Then the issue of design comes in. I’m very big on making sure that you select the images without thinking about design. One of the mistakes that I try to avoid myself is coming up with some design that I feel like I want to do for the story and then trying to find pictures that fit into that design. I look at it the other way around; I tend to try and find the images, get them in the right order, into something that makes sense, just like organizing a story, and then I step back and ask what are the common design elements with this set of photographs that will help them to show off their best?

There are some images that you choose because of the text, and maybe those are not the greatest images, but those are pictures that you look at and say I really want to be able to see this person that they talked to for 27 paragraphs, but it’s not a good picture of them. You don’t reject the picture, you just say that’s a picture that’s not going to run big, but I will try to run it if it’s important to the experience.

And you make those kinds of decisions as you go along, whereas the photographer hits some incredible situation that’s full of emotion and texture and really makes someone feel like they’re there and it also matches the text; well that becomes a big picture. It becomes something that’s a cornerstone for the coverage. So you let those two elements, the manuscript and the images almost weigh themselves out.

Samir Husni: Do you consider yourself a photographer first, a designer second, an editor third?

The Genius of VeniceDavid Griffin: No, I’m a designer first; it’s just that I have a very strong love of photography. I didn’t work as a professional photographer long enough; I was a newspaper photographer for the first five years of my career. So, I don’t feel like I earned those chops anymore. But my love for it is there. And because of my involvement at National Geographic, which is so heavily focused on photography; it became an area that I fell into.

I don’t consider myself a brilliant designer. I consider myself someone who understands photography and how to make those photographs stand out. My feeling is that as a designer, my best job is when you don’t notice the design. I’m always trying to think about how I can simplify whatever it is that I’m designing so that it’s not about me showing off the latest typeface that I’ve figured out or some graphic technique that I really want to impress somebody with. I worry about trying to get everything to step back so that the images step forward, because ultimately photography is the part that touches people. It’s one of the most powerful mediums for connecting to humans on that emotional, gut level. And you want to play that up as much as possible.

And talking about covers; a great line from Roger Black was, and I may not have this exactly right: 90% of making a great cover is choosing the right photograph, which I think is absolutely true. You can sit there and talk all about design and typography, logos and colors and all the cell lines that you’d want to put on there and titles and everything else, but if you have a bad photograph, you’re sunk.

For me as a designer, and this goes back to what I was talking about before, getting into the story ahead of time; I feel like where you want to put your effort is in the creation of the images that you’re going to end up working with, because if you have great material, then the job of being a designer is just that much easier. So, I guess I do that for the sake of making up for the fact that I don’t think I’m that great of a designer. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

David Griffin: I want to make sure that I have really good work, and then I can sneak by as a designer.

Samir Husni: David, you’ve worked in newspapers and at magazines. Which did you enjoy the most and was it easier to work at a newspaper or harder than working on a magazine? And what are some of the differences?

David Griffin: The difference is just pace. And I would absolutely say that I’m much more of a magazine person. I love the information of newspapers and I love the medium of it, but in terms of what I do in working with visuals and doing more long-range projects, magazines are just basically more oriented toward that.

I always did feel that at some point for newspapers to compete, they were going to have to become more like magazines and you suddenly see that happening. Design at newspapers has gotten better over the years and that’s a direct influence of more magazine type thinking. You see that in how they’re organized and in the mere fact that newspapers have started hiring creative directors and design directors over the last 20 years. And that shows that they too recognize that they’ve got to be upping their game visually.

But in terms of me personally, I like working on magazines more than anything because they don’t have to be done that same day. I’m notorious for waking up the next morning and coming up with a much better idea than the original one. (Laughs) I might favor a weekly news magazine, but unfortunately that’s a genre that has very little purpose anymore. When I worked at U.S. News that was absolutely my favorite time because it was still high-paced; it still fed off of the news, but we had two or three days to kind of change and adjust things and tweak them and give them a little more craft.

And as I’ve gotten older too, I’m much more into the craft of making different media forms. I also like digital, I find it interesting. It’s a little hard on the craft level because it’s so fluent, but I do like it for those attributes it brings to itself. Anything where I can up that game, I’m interested in. Newspapers tend to be, when you’re definitely in the middle of them; they move so quickly it’s just so hard to stop and refine things on them on a day-to-day basis; you can do it on a longer term.

When I was at a newspaper I always felt that I was behind; I was never on top of anything, whereas at a magazine I really enjoy the pace much more.

What EnduresSamir Husni: And you’re latest project is working with the Smithsonian Journeys Magazine. It’s a quarterly for now. And it’s a wonderful combination of photography and typography and illustrations.

David Griffin: Thank you.

Samir Husni: Do you feel that good design and good photography still needs that time to process, to create, in this speed age that we live in? We’ve moved from a coal-powered train to a nuclear-powered one. Do you think the audience can catch up or are we the ones trying to keep up with the audience? Who’s moving faster, us or our audience?

David Griffin: They’re different candles that you’re feeding; the day-to-day, now down to minute-by-minute of the world. And you even see newspapers which are on a 24-hr. cycle, struggling with the fact that they’ve almost lost control of the daily feed because of Twitter. When something breaks now it’s no longer about going to pick up a newspaper and see what they did with it, it’s more usual to see what happened on their phones right in their hands.

So the images that go along with those stories are whatever happened to the catcher. That’s one of the changes of being a professional photographer because it used to be that one of the definitions of being a professional photographer was that you were there. It used to be the old adage “f/8 and be there” but the be there part is no longer an advantage because the public is there and so are all of those phones that are quite capable of taking good enough images of what that news is at that moment. So, there is that aspect of it.

But in terms of the time that can be dedicated to the creation of the images, it doesn’t matter what cycle you’re publishing on, if you learn to dedicate time you can. I worked at the Post where we sent photographers into the field for a month-long project. It would publish in one day, but the fact that it was being worked on for a month, or sometimes two or three months, the reader didn’t see that part of it and that was just a matter of scheduling and making sure that you backed up far enough. National Geographic started doing stories three or four years before they were published, but again, the public doesn’t see that, all they see is the published piece.

National Geographic was a monthly; Journeys is a quarterly; a newspaper is a daily, but the material that feeds into that publishing cycle can start at any time. So the idea that somehow because you’re a daily you have less time; I don’t know if that’s actually true in terms of bigger projects. Not day-to-day reporting of fires and accidents, things like that. That’s spot news and you chase that material, but in terms of material that is real visual storytelling, there’s no real effect by the publication cycle on how long you decide to dedicate to that. It’s really a matter of your budget and whether you have the money to support any of those kinds of projects.

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your house unexpectedly and you were relaxing with a glass of wine in your hand; would I find you reading a magazine or looking at your iPad or watching TV?

David Griffin: Probably reading a magazine. I’m an avid magazine reader. I love magazines. I also read a lot online with an iPad. I definitely do that too. And I read print books and online books as well. It just depends on my mood. I don’t like to carry something with me when I’m traveling. But I consume it all.

I don’t watch much television anymore though. If I’ve had an exhausting day and I don’t want to do anything else, television has that numbing effect. I can’t say that I watch much television news; I’m mostly an NPR person and then I read a lot. I get both print newspapers, the Times and the Post every day. And I read them religiously. And even though I know that’s all available online, I do like the ritual of print. Plus I’m a crossword puzzle nut and so I’ve never found an online version of The New York Times crossword puzzle that was as satisfying as the print one. (Laughs) Even though I know I could subscribe and print it out, it’s not the same. I like newspapers in print. It’s very tactile. I’m old-school that way. But I consume across a lot of different platforms.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?

David Griffin: Whatever the projects are; I’m on. It’s terrible, but I get up sometimes as early as 3:00 a.m. I’m not a night person. So, I tend to go to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 in the evenings.

And honestly I’m a horrible morning person, just ask my wife. I set my day at full-speed and then it’s just one long slide to bed. I don’t have peaks and valleys; I peak the moment I get up. I get up often eager to get started on projects, so I work for two or three hours in the mornings before my wife gets up. Then I help her get off to work and then go back to work myself.

But usually by the early afternoon I tend to slow down. It’s interesting when you’re no longer tied to the structure of an office, which I have been for my entire career. I had worked at media companies, but now I have the freedom to allow myself to fall into my own natural rhythm. Sometimes when I get up in the mornings I’m just so excited to be putting together something.

And what I really enjoy about making this change in my life is that I’m actually making things again, because really for the last 15 years I’ve been managing really large, visual teams. I would sneak InDesign in when I could, but it was always sneaking it in; it was something that I did on a weekend or when I did a book project once a year or something like that. It wasn’t a primary thing.

But now being able to create things with my own hands again is just so wonderful and plus the tools today are so fantastic. I struggled through going from analog to digital and was a big proponent of desktop publishing when it first came in; I actually helped usher it into National Geographic when they were doing things by hand paste there. And so I’ve always been an eager lover and somewhat hater of technology, because it was never as fluid as I would have liked it to be, but it’s become so much more fluid.

Plus you can learn anything online now too. Someone asked me to do a motion graphic for them, like a motion title sequence, and when you’re doing branding work you have to start determining how a logo works. And I didn’t really know how to do a motion graphic. (Laughs) But I sat down and it didn’t take me more than a day with Lynda.com to learn it. And Adobe has all of these fantastic tutorials online and I learn aftereffects; I’m not a whiz at it, but I can certainly wedge my way through something and actually do it.

And that kind of thing you used to have to farm out; there were so many other people that you had to be involved with to create a publication, but so much of that has come back full-circle to a craftsperson’s environment. It’s exciting. I’m having a great time. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

David Griffin: Flooding details; that’s mostly it. The downside of anything is that you have many clients and they’re all not in coordination with each other and you’re never allowed to tell one that you’re working for the other. So, it’s the balancing of it.

I’ve been very lucky. This is my anniversary right now of my first year doing freelance. The Journeys project was certainly a Godsend to me, in terms of being a solid contractual base with them. So, it gives me something to take away the worry of finances.

And I’ve just had a nice string of wonderful different and diverse projects, from branding to several book projects that I have going. None of them are public yet because they’re still struggling to get publishers. And I’ve helped photographers put together bodies of their work in a rough form so that they can sell them to publishers. I’m also working on a couple of website designs.

It’s a whole varied range of material, which to me has been the nicest thing; it’s not just one thing. My goal is, I don’t ever want to stop doing the design, so I am definitely watching my time. It can be very dangerous because you don’t want to ever say no to anything in the freelance world, but I also don’t want to get myself overloaded to where I’m short shifting any one of my clients. I just don’t want to pass off things. At this point in my career I want to do the work myself. I’m selfish, but I’m also very picky about things. And when I give work to other people, I spend more time trying to get them to do it the way I want it done, than if I’d just done it myself.

And that does come back to the beauty of these new tools. Literally, if I have a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, I can work from almost anywhere. And that’s also really terrific. But I try not to let too many things keep me up at night. Things are always going to get resolved. Things that used to keep me up at night were personnel issues. Now I manage three cats; that’s my staff. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens New Editor-in-Chief

Better Homes and Gardens: The Mother Of All Consumer Magazines Prepares For Its Next Century Under New Leadership

“Magazines to me are not the thing that people carry around in their purse or under their arm as much as they used to, but the magazine to me is a quieter activity; it’s a less hectic information experience. It’s not like going through your Twitter feed or your Instagram feed where things are coming at you from every space. It’s a highly-curated space in time that you have for yourself. Before I even came here, I thought to myself, what is the BH&G reader doing and how is he or she looking at the magazine and I think it’s like a me-time moment where he or she has a moment during the day when things are quiet, kids are in bed or there’s a quiet space in the day and she’s going to sit for a while and look through her favorite magazine. We want to be that magazine.” Stephen Orr

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens New Editor-in-ChiefBetter Homes and Gardens was born in 1922 and in seven years will celebrate its 100th birthday. It is the largest paid consumer magazine in the country with 7.6 million in circulation (mainly subs) and 40 million readers.

Commanding a ship that large is a huge responsibility, but Stephen Orr is the man to do it. Combining both his art and editorial skills; he could easily be just what the doctor prescribed for the magazine as it moves into its next century. Stephen was Executive Editor of Condé Nast Traveler, and has more than 25 years of experience in content creation and design leadership across many of the media industry’s most recognizable brands.

Throughout his career, he has been very successful at developing brands across multiple channels. Prior to Condé Nast Traveler, Stephen was a VP/Editorial Director for the Martha Stewart Living brand, where he created multi-channel content with a special focus on style, food, and gardening as well as licensed product development. He has also held senior content creation leadership positions at multi-platform brands such as House & Garden, Domino, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Epicurious. Early in his career he held senior design positions at The New York Times Magazine, W, and WWD. He is a man both experienced and passionate about the world of magazines.

I spoke with Stephen recently and we talked about this passion of his for magazines and for people. In fact, he believes wholeheartedly that magazines are people and Mr. Magazine™would have to agree with him on that. He loves the opinions and ideas of his staff and thrives on their energy and creative talent, which he feels overflows into the brand and makes it even more content-engaging and reflective of what BH&G’s audience expects from their favorite magazine.

With a few new surprises coming up down the pike from Stephen’s own creative energy and talent, the largest consumer magazine in the country can sail confidently into its 100-year-old berth, knowing that around the corner is the beginning of the next centennial which promises to be even better than the first.
And now without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Better Homes and Garden’s new Editor-In-Chief, Stephen Orr.

But first, the sound-bites:

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens New Editor-in-ChiefOn his feelings when he was offered the job of editor-in-chief at Better Homes and Gardens: Certainly, it was an honor. I had been working in magazines for 25+ years and I had worked at a lot of different titles, but I had never worked at Meredith before. Meredith is a very disciplined company, which I really respect. They did a lot of interviews; I met a lot of different people during the process. It was a long interview process and I was really happy when I finally got the offer.

On whether the thought ever crossed his mind that he was moving from “class” to “mass” by joining a title that had 40 million in readership from specialized titles that had a more targeted audience: I think some of my other experiences that I’ve had helped with that. For instance, I’d say two places in particular; Domino Magazine, even though that was a Condè Nast Magazine and had a very elevated level of shopping. The original idea of Domino, and I was there in the early days until it shuttered, was to bring an accessibility to design and a feeling of how to combine kind of cheap-and-cheerful and this mix of high and low, and also point out to people when they should spend a little extra money on something, while giving them tips on ways to save money at the same time. And I also think Martha Stewart where I once worked was like that. Martha is the empress of bringing a level of knowledge and visual sense to a mass market audience. That’s what Martha has done so well for the American consumer.

On his multifaceted career as a journalist/designer/editor and how he plans to bring those personas into play at Better Homes and Gardens:
 I think one of my strengths is, if I can say it about myself; I’m half visual and I’m half words. For half of my career I was an art director and a graphic designer and then the other half so far has been more of an editor with words and a writer. So, I definitely have those two sides of my brain and I think a magazine like Better Homes and Gardens, and in fact most magazines these days, unless you’re speaking of The New Yorker or something like that, are visually-driven. We only have the readers’ attention for such a brief span of time, so I think that my career as an art director does allow me to see things very visually.

On the February issue, which will be the first totally original issue under his guidance, and the changes readers can expect:
 We’ve been feeding new things into the magazine; it’s been sort of a development over time. I’ve been here since July, so when I arrived they already had October’s issue basically done; I just did a few tweaks and changes, but not much; we didn’t shoot anything new. The only thing new there was my editor’s letter and in it I wanted to make a statement, so my editor’s letters will all be shot with an iPhone; the first one was a bit of a mix, but eventually they all will be shot with an iPhone. I wanted to immediately telegraph to people that these are new days here at Better Homes and Gardens; we are a print magazine, but we’re alsoBHG.com and we have our social media channels and I interact with our readers over all of those different ways, so I’m not a hidden editor-in-chief; I want to be connected with our readers, especially through our social media.

On whether he heard any media or reader feedback about the fact that once again a man was editor of Better Homes and Gardens, mainly a women’s magazine:
 I haven’t heard anything about the fact that here’s a man doing this job at all. I think women are very accepting of men in roles where we talk to them about different things. I don’t know if women care as much whether it’s a man or a woman telling them about home décor or cooking or flower arranging, as long as people seem to know what they’re talking about.

On how important the printed Better Homes and Gardens is to him:
 It’s all of equal importance. We talk about Omni-channel consumers, and that’s something we were discussing in a recent presentation. We have about 50 million readers, if you look at the whole audience, print and digital. It’s a gigantic number of people, and we want to appeal to them on whatever platform they’re on. And this is the way it is today with all of us; we consume information in the way that we find most convenient for us. So, magazines to me are not the thing that people carry around in their purse or under their arm as much as they used to, but the magazine to me is a quieter activity; it’s a less hectic information experience. It’s not like going through your Twitter feed or your Instagram feed where things are coming at you from every space.

On if we are talking seven years from now, on the 100th anniversary of the magazine, will the readers say it’s still they’re same Better Homes and Gardens or something totally different:
 No, I want them to say it’s still theirs. I was saying in a meeting the other day; we get letters where people get upset if we give them a story that doesn’t particularly pertain to them; I mean, they do feel like it’s their magazine, but it’s hard with that many readers to hit a chord with every single person. And so I do hope the readers will realize that sometimes there might be a story that’s more kid-focused and they might be empty-nesters, so they might just glance at it and keep moving. But we’re trying to offer a wide range of stories so that the majority of every issue is appealing to our established audience as well as a new audience.

On the biggest challenge that he’s faced since becoming editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens and how he overcame it:
 There have been more perceptual challenges, I think. Maybe perceived challenges would be a better way to describe it, ones that I thought I might have. I felt like maybe I would encounter people who were set in their ways and resistant to new ideas or change, and I have to say that what I have encountered has been the exact opposite of that perception. I had never been to Iowa before in my life and coming here I found that people are categorically open to new ideas and change. And they’re eager for something new.

On anything else he’d like to add:
 People might have a hard time understanding my living in Des Moines after living in New York City for so long, and people might have a hard time understanding, like you said, my coming from Condè Nast and now working at a gigantic, more mass general interest magazine, but I think what’s most exciting about working in media is it never stops changing. And I always tell people if you don’t like change, don’t work in media. (Laughs)

On what motivates him to get out of bed in the mornings:
 What I like is when I come to the office in the mornings, the office is humming and people are going at full-tilt. I tend to come in slightly later than they do and stay later. That gives me a nice time at the end of the day to catch up on emails and read proofs and do the more concentrated work, because with a large staff like this we do a lot of meetings during the day, so the schedule is working great for me.

On what keeps him up at night:
 I don’t have stress like I’ve had with other jobs. What I have isn’t stress. I guess with the responsibility of this title, I do think about the people here a lot. I’m a very people-focused editor-in-chief, so I would say that I spend time not worrying or stressing, but I spend time thinking about the people I work with and I spend time thinking about how they can be the best at their jobs.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™conversation with Stephen Orr, Editor-In-Chief, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

Samir Husni: Congratulations on being named editor-in-chief of the largest paid consumer magazine in the country.

Stephen Orr: Thank you.

Samir Husni: When you received the offer to take over at the helm of the mother of all consumer magazines, Better Homes and Gardens; what were your feelings at the time?

Stephen Orr: Certainly, it was an honor. I had been working in magazines for 25+ years and I had worked at a lot of different titles, but I had never worked at Meredith before. Meredith is a very disciplined company, which I really respect. They did a lot of interviews; I met a lot of different people during the process. It was a long interview process and I was really happy when I finally got the offer.

It was a real honor because I knew they didn’t take this job lightly. Their management and the executive team here know that this is their flagship brand, so they didn’t take anything about this job lightly.

Samir Husni: From all of these other titles that you’d been working with which were technically very specialized magazines to Better Homes and Gardens which has a big, mass 40 million-audience readership; did you at any given moment throughout that long interview process feel like you were moving from “class” to “mass?”

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens New Editor-in-Chief - cover 2Stephen Orr: I think some of my other experiences that I’ve had helped with that. For instance, I’d say two places in particular; Domino Magazine, even though that was a Condè Nast magazine and had a very elevated level of shopping.

The original idea of Domino, and I was there in the early days until it shuttered, was to bring an accessibility to design and a feeling of how to combine kind of cheap-and-cheerful and this mix of high and low, and also point out to people when they should spend a little extra money on something, while giving them tips on ways to save money at the same time. So, Domino Magazine was very much like that.

And I also think Martha Stewart where I once worked was like that. Martha is the empress of bringing a level of knowledge and visual sense to a mass market audience. That’s what Martha has done so well for the American consumer. And she educates people.

When I think of working at Domino and Martha Stewart Living; I think I learned a lot of those lessons here too, because we’re always talking to a huge range of people.

Samir Husni: From following your career and looking at what you’ve done; you yourself are a multiplatform journalist/designer/editor. You’ve worked in design and editing positions. How are you going to bring this multifaceted Stephen Orr to Better Homes and Gardens?

Stephen Orr: That’s a nice question. I work in both Des Moines and New York City, but primarily in Des Moines, and we have a very talented staff of people here. And they’ve been making a beautiful magazine for years. So, when I came in, I didn’t say: out with the old and in with the new. I wanted to build on what we had that’s really great and make it even better.

I think one of my strengths is, if I can say it about myself; I’m half visual and I’m half words. For half of my career I was an art director and a graphic designer and then the other half so far has been more of an editor with words and a writer. So, I definitely have those two sides of my brain and I think a magazine like Better Homes and Gardens, and in fact most magazines these days, unless you’re speaking of The New Yorker or something like that, are visually-driven. We only have the readers’ attention for such a brief span of time, so I think that my career as an art director does allow me to see things very visually.

We talk about things very visually and for me it’s how do we create engagement with the reader in the print page, but also how do we engage our reader at BHG.com and also our social media channels. All of those things have equal importance to me and with our staff and our editors we’re constantly talking about social media and how to get the word out about BHG and how to attract new readers, while we have our loyal audience base; we want to keep them really happy as well. That, to me, is the real challenge.

Samir Husni: It’s my understanding that February will be the first completely original issue under your leadership. Can you tell me a little about the changes you’ll be unveiling with that issue?

Stephen Orr: We’ve been feeding new things into the magazine; it’s been sort of a development over time. I’ve been here since July, so when I arrived they already had October’s issue basically done; I just did a few tweaks and changes, but not much; we didn’t shoot anything new.

The only thing new there was my editor’s letter and in it I wanted to make a statement, so my editor’s letters will all be shot with an iPhone; the first one was a bit of a mix, but eventually they all will be shot with an iPhone. I wanted to immediately telegraph to people that these are new days here at Better Homes and Gardens; we are a print magazine, but we’re also BHG.com and we have our social media channels and I interact with our readers over all of those different ways, so I’m not a hidden editor-in-chief; I want to be connected with our readers, especially through our social media.

One of our art director’s takes her iPhone and shoots my editor’s letter and then we pick up shots from either my Instagram or our staff’s Instagram’s. If it’s a food issue, we’ll have me with Nancy Hopkins, our food editor, and then we’ll have some shots from her Instagram and then another food editor’s Instagram.

People have had a very good response to it, even the editor’s letter. I think they find it very personable and they like how casual it is; it doesn’t feel staged like some do, which is why I we did it that way; I felt kind of uncomfortable just having a shot of me in a suit and tie, all posed and everything. I wanted it to show how as editors we lead the life. So for us, that was one of the first things that changed.

And then we’ve kind of loosened things up. One of the things that we’re trying to do at Better Homes and Gardens is try to loosen up the presentation a little bit, with more color and people. We’re trying to show people kind of an elevated version of real life and the best life can be in an accessible version.

And then we’re also trying to weave together some other themes: acknowledging that women have jobs at the same time that they’re trying to make a nice home that people work, but also have a home life. We’re trying to talk to new types of readers; we’re looking at young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of all ages and home-based businesses.

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stephen Orr, Better Homes and Gardens New Editor-in-Chief - cover 3We’re also looking at trying to show a new type of BHG reader, but at the same time one of the things that’s very important to me is to highlight Better Homes and Gardens’ heritage because I believe if you run away from what you are; you’re denying what’s been accomplished over these almost 100 years, and the authority that Better Homes and Gardens has.

For instance, we’re doing a story on our own test kitchen to show people that we have all of these amazing resources here that sometimes get hidden just because they’ve been around the magazine for so long. Sometimes people forget how special they are because they’ve just always been there. But there are treasures here. We have an amazing test garden and test kitchen full of amazingly knowledgeable people and I want to bring that knowledge into the pages.

Samir Husni: I don’t know if you know this, but my magazine program here at the University of Mississippi was started by Meredith and Better Homes and Gardens.

Stephen Orr: That’s amazing. Meredith has so many deep community roots in so many places and that’s why it’s such a wonderful company. I’ve worked at Condè Nast primarily; I’ve also worked at The New York Times and other places, but you know, I love the culture of Meredith.

There are a lot of values at Meredith that I think we’re trying to show in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s has a very democratic appeal to a wide range of people and I think I understand that because I’ve lived in New York before being in Des Moines and New York now. I lived in New York for nearly 30 years, but before that I was raised in West Texas, so I really understand how it is to be brought up in the middle of the country and the values there.

Samir Husni: I love your ideas about the test gardens and test kitchen; I’ve seen them all and they’re amazing. I’ve often thought they should be written about.

Stephen Orr: Yes, there’s so much to do with it. We’re going to have regular features on the test kitchen and test gardens, whether they’re specific lessons or other things. Before I came, I don’t know how often there was a regular meeting, but now I have regular meetings with our head test gardener and she comes and tells us seasonally what’s interesting and she’s working on what plants she’s obsessed with. She’s on the front lines of gardening, doing her thing there. I planted 1,000 bulbs this weekend myself, but I don’t have the time to garden every day with my job, as much as I’d like to.

Samir Husni: When I received the note that you’d been appointed editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens, I was taken back to almost 30 years ago when David Jordan was editor-in-chief of the magazine. Was there any response from the media or from readers about the fact that a man was now editor-in-chief of mainly a women’s magazine? When the first woman was hired as editor-in-chief, there were a lot of stories reflecting the sentiment that finally women’s magazines were getting women editors.

Stephen Orr: I haven’t heard anything about the fact that here’s a man doing this job at all. I think women are very accepting of men in roles where we talk to them about different things. I don’t know if women care as much whether it’s a man or a woman telling them about home décor or cooking or flower arranging, as long as people seem to know what they’re talking about.

Obviously, I’m not the only authority here, so for me when it comes to family and what a woman really thinks about something, I never tell women what they think, I always ask people who work with me, my executive editor or one of my other editors. I’ll ask then what do they think about something as a mom with young kids; what do you think we should do. From a health standpoint, Amy Brightfield will tell me what she does as a mom.

We have so many great experts here and I’m a very collaborative non-hierarchical kind of editor-in-chief, so we have a lot of talks and meetings. We’re all getting to know each other and I just want the communication to flow. That’s where I think the reader will feel that this is a team effort; it really is not just about me. It’s a team effort with people who have all kinds of expertise.

Samir Husni: You’ve emphasized the fact that you have print, BHG.com and all of your social media channels; how are you going to strike this balance between the 7.6 million subscriber/newsstand-based audiences and the website? How important is the printed Better Homes and Gardens to you?

Stephen Orr: It’s all of equal importance. We talk about Omni-channel consumers, and that’s something we were discussing in a recent presentation. We have about 50 million readers, if you look at the whole audience, print and digital. It’s a gigantic number of people, and we want to appeal to them on whatever platform they’re on. And this is the way it is today with all of us; we consume information in the way that we find most convenient for us.

Increasingly for people, it’s on their phones. We all go everywhere and we see people on their phones all of the time. You don’t see people flipping through magazines that much; you see people on their phones.

So, magazines to me are not the thing that people carry around in their purse or under their arm as much as they used to, but the magazine to me is a quieter activity; it’s a less hectic information experience. It’s not like going through your Twitter feed or your Instagram feed where things are coming at you from every space. It’s a highly-curated space in time that you have for yourself. Before I even came here, I thought to myself, what is the BHG reader doing and how is he or she looking at the magazine and I think it’s like a me-time moment where he or she has a moment during the day when things are quiet, kids are in bed or there’s a quiet space in the day and she’s going to sit for a while and look through her favorite magazine. We want to be that magazine.

It’s interesting that we get a lot of letters that say that and the other day we actually got a wonderful phone call from a woman, I believe in Tennessee, and she just talked about that she’d been going through some family trouble, health problems with relatives or something, she didn’t go into details, but she just left us a long phone message that was forwarded to me. She said that she loved Better Homes and Gardens and she was so excited by the new direction and she wanted to call and tell me that, because she’d walked in the door from a challenging week and she sat down with her magazine and she said it was almost like a healing moment for her, to sit there and look at all the beautiful images and flip through it at her own pace.

And that’s what I think we offer as a printed magazine. But we also offer people engagement on social media, which we’re trying to continually improve, and also quick and easy solutions and tips that they might encounter through their Facebook feeds and on BHG.com and videos. We all live in this multifaceted information world and I don’t think one aspect is better than another. I’m grateful that the printed page is still there for people because I do think that it offers them a respite during the day.

Samir Husni: If I’m talking with you seven years from now and you’re launching the Centennial edition, the 100th anniversary issue of Better Homes and Gardens; do you think the readers who have been with the magazine for 20 or 30 years and the new readers too, will say wow, it’s still my same Better Homes and Gardens or they’ll see a drastically different magazine?

Stephen Orr: No, I want them to say it’s still theirs. I was saying in a meeting the other day; we get letters where people get upset if we give them a story that doesn’t particularly pertain to them; I mean, they do feel like it’s their magazine, but it’s hard with that many readers to hit a chord with every single person. And so I do hope the readers will realize that sometimes there might be a story that’s more kid-focused and they might be empty-nesters, so they might just glance at it and keep moving.

But we’re trying to offer a wide range of stories so that the majority of every issue is appealing to our established audience as well as a new audience. I’ve worked at magazines before where they kind of discounted their existing audience and were rushing after a new audience and I didn’t want to do that here. I am very conscious of the fact that I want our magazine to appeal to people of all ages, of multi-generations; I’m a GNX, but barely. I’m on the cusp of Baby-Boomer.

I’m not a millennial at all, but I have the millennial mindset; I really follow what millennials are doing. I’m the type of person who is on their phone and Instagram all of the time. I read my news off of Twitter a lot, both in-depth news and looking through to primary news sources. I also get inspiration from Twitter and people who are doing interesting things. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram every day. And so that’s how I get my information, but also when one of my favorite magazines comes through the door, I stop and I read that magazine.

I feel like I exist at the point where people that are older than me are less computer native in many ways and people younger than me are more computer native and information-technology native. And I feel very much at my age and my experience level, and how I started working with computers in college, I feel I’m very much a good representative of both groups. I’m neither too much of one nor not enough of the other. And I want to try and be that divining rod or whatever phrase might be used, to try and speak to all of the different audiences that we have.

And I feel like people in this day and age, especially marketers, put people into these groups and talk about how different we all are; I tend to focus more on how similar we are.

Samir Husni: I think your role at your age; you’re the two-lane bridge that connects both sides of the spectrum. I’m a little bit older than you and having grown up during the print platform and having adapted to the digital platform; to me that’s more powerful than just being a digital native or a print native.

Stephen Orr: I’m very happy with my position. I’m happy that I love print and I love books and magazines and I love the visual appeal of those things and I also love digital. I love being online.

But like most people and maybe younger people don’t feel this way, I actually look for ways to not be online. So a magazine is a way for me not to have to be connected. I don’t have to be connected all of the time; I’m the kind of person who might say, OK – I’m putting my phone in the drawer and I’m going outside. And that’s why I love gardening, because I can go outside and if I bring my phone with me, it’s too expensive to replace should I drop it…(Laughs)

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve had to face since you became editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens and how did you overcome it?

Stephen Orr: There have been more perceptual challenges, I think. Maybe perceived challenges would be a better way to describe it, ones that I thought I might have. I felt like maybe I would encounter people who were set in their ways and resistant to new ideas or change, and I have to say that what I have encountered has been the exact opposite of that perception.

I had never been to Iowa before in my life and coming here I found that people are categorically open to new ideas and change. And they’re eager for something new. So, the wide range of people that I’m working with here on a day-to-day basis are open to change and everybody is willing to try something new; people are quick to get onboard.

They really know what they’re about and I value their expertise, because for me I don’t want to come in as a change agent and not listen to the people who have been doing it for a long time. I always want to hear: why did we do it that way and when did we last change it and what was the reaction? I don’t just blithely discard the past. For me it’s a combination of the past and the future. I’m a dual person; I love both.

But I don’t think I’ve encountered any enormous challenges. The things that I wondered might be challenges turned out not to be problems. The Meredith Corporation has been very supportive. We had a presentation a couple of weeks ago where they saw some of the ideas for some of the changes and they couldn’t have been happier and more supportive.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Stephen Orr: People might have a hard time understanding my living in Des Moines after living in New York City for so long, and people might have a hard time understanding, like you said, my coming from Condè Nast and now working at a gigantic, more mass general interest magazine, but I think what’s most exciting about working in media is it never stops changing. And I always tell people if you don’t like change, don’t work in media. (Laughs)

Our world, because of technology and everything that’s happening, everything changes all of the time. And I think as editors our job is to be nimble. People overuse that word, but it’s such a nice word to think about because it implies that you’re able to skate over the surface and keep nimbly moving no matter what to make it all work. And I think that’s’ what’s exciting about what we’re doing in this day and age with media. The changes, even though they’re challenges, are what offer the most excitement.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings, especially now that you’re out of the City and in the Midwest? Does farm life get you out of bed any earlier these days? (Laughs)

Stephen Orr: (Laughs too) It does. They work on an earlier schedule and that took some getting used to. But there’s no commute here. In my last job, my commute was an hour. And that was killing me, an hour each way. Now my commute is five minutes, so I don’t have much to complain about.

What I like is when I come to the office in the mornings, the office is humming and people are going at full-tilt. I tend to come in slightly later than they do and stay later. That gives me a nice time at the end of the day to catch up on emails and read proofs and do the more concentrated work, because with a large staff like this we do a lot of meetings during the day, so the schedule is working great for me.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Stephen Orr: I don’t have stress like I’ve had with other jobs. What I have isn’t stress. I guess with the responsibility of this title, I do think about the people here a lot. I’m a very people-focused editor-in-chief, so I would say that I spend time not worrying or stressing, but I spend time thinking about the people I work with and I spend time thinking about how they can be the best at their jobs.

So, that’s basically it. I’m just thinking about the people I work with a lot. I hope that doesn’t sound insincere, but that’s what I believe. I believe magazines are people and so for me all of the people that we work with here at Better Homes and Gardens are all friends, including digital and social media and our special issues. It’s thinking about everybody’s strengths and how to get everybody super-excited about making this product over all its platforms.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




No Media Relations = Less Credibility for Your Campaigns

Maury Tobin, President, Tobin Communications, Inc.

Let’s me say it clearly. I believe in the power of social media because I’ve seen how it can propel our clients’ campaigns.

But as traditional outreach (media relations) gets left out of many communications plans and discussions, I’m convinced that a social media-only strategy can be a big problem for organizations that want their messages to be taken seriously. In many cases, social media-only campaigns tend to look, for lack of a better term, “fake,” because these efforts are often self-serving and they lack the authenticity of independent stories produced by journalists.

Since creating believable content is so crucial today, it’s worth considering a tried and true tactic such as a Radio Media Tour (RMT) to gain credibility. An RMT is a series of phone interviews conducted by radio journalists with an organization’s spokesperson. The news coverage generated from interviews is usually more valuable than focusing solely on self-produced content. After an RMT campaign is completed, we glean audio soundbites from the interviews so our clients can share them through their social media channels.

I’ll Leave You with This:

Despite all of the new tactics that are available to PR pros, we continue to believe that fostering a dialogue between journalists and the clients we serve is important, not only to our industry and clients, but also to our democracy.

About the Author: Maury Tobin has produced hundreds of media campaigns for trade associations, non-profit organizations, corporations and government agencies. He is known for having an insider’s knowledge of the news media and a keen sense of what journalists want. Through the years, Tobin has worked with a range of high-profile organizations and companies, including AOL, Nissan, pharmaceutical company Novartis, the American College of Gastroenterology, The Humane Society of the United States, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and PR firms Ketchum, FleishmanHillard and Edelman.




U.S. Advertising And Marketing Execs Reveal Hiring Plans Through 2016

jobs200A CommPRO News Update

According to research from The Creative Group, thirteen percent of executives in advertising and marketing plan to expand their teams in the second half of 2016. This is up from 11 percent in the first half of the year.

The majority of those surveyed said they expect to maintain staff levels and hire primarily to fill vacated roles in the next six months. Additionally, 20 percent of ad execs and 10 percent of marketing execs anticipate increasing the number of freelance staff through the remainder of the year.

“Many companies are adding to their bench of marketing talent, particularly within the digital space,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Employers seek professionals who can help build their businesses’ online presence, support year-end campaigns and strategize for the future.”

Marketing and Advertising Specialties in Demand

When execs were asked which areas they plan to add staff to in the second half of 2016, they reported a range of specialties. Content marketing, brand/product management, digital marketing and web design/production topped the list (18 percent each).

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In which of the following areas do you expect to hire in the second half of 2016?” Their responses:

Content marketing: 18%

Brand/product management: 18%

Digital marketing: 18%

Web design/production: 18%

Marketing research: 17%

Creative/art direction: 17%

Print design/production: 17%

Customer experience: 17%

Social media: 16%

Media services: 15%

Public relations: 14%

Copywriting: 14%

Account services: 13%

Interactive media: 10%

Mobile design/development: 10%

Note: Multiple responses permitted. Top responses shown.

Recruiting Challenges

Over forty percent of execs discussed how difficult it is to find skilled creative professionals today. Hiring managers at small advertising agencies (20-49 employees) and large advertising agencies (100+ employees) expect the greatest difficulty, with 50 percent of respondents in each group reporting it is somewhat or very challenging to find the talent they seek.

When asked which types of roles are most difficult to fill, the top responses were web design/production, customer experience and brand/product management.

About the Research

The national study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 400 telephone interviews — with 200 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.




A Broadcaster’s Take on Social Media and How it Impacts PR and the Media

A Broadcaster's Take on Social Media and How it Impacts PR and the MediaLive streaming video technology presents an exciting — but often overlooked — earned media opportunity for public relations and communications specialists.

The next time you pitch broadcast media, think beyond traditional on-air coverage.

In addition to using social media to gather information and interact with viewers, many television newsrooms across the country are turning to social to broadcast stories – even when the station is not on the air.

“It gives public relations clients more opportunities to get in front of multiple audiences,” says Michelle Li (@MichelleLiTV), award-winning evening news anchor at WISC-TV, the CBS-affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. “Get your folks in front of a screen. Always push your clients to do webcam-type interviews.”

Phone interviews, she says, make for “bad television.”

Li, whose following on social media accounts includes more than 670,000 subscribers on Google Plus, recently participated in a Twitter chat focused on how broadcasters use social media. During this #ConnectChat, she also offered tips to public relations professionals interested in engaging with television news personalities.

“You have to make an effort every day,” says Li of her involvement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, YouTube—the list seems endless. “There are great tools to keep you active.”

[Don’t miss the next #ConnectChat: PR Newswire’s @ProfNet hosts a Twitter Q&A every other Tuesday between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. ET.] 

In a video Li shared with #ConnectChat participants, viewers get an inside look at how newsrooms like WISC-TV use social media to enhance their work.

Following an outbreak of severe storms that spawned tornadoes, the station used social media to take its audience behind the scenes, live streaming as crews collected footage and interviews between newscasts. When riots broke out in Ferguson, the station identified and spoke with a local connection through live streaming video, which editors later downloaded for broadcast.

Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.

 

 




What Services Should You Use To Aid Your Career Journey?

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Beginning your career can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure what you want to do or where you want to end up. It can take a while to finalize your thoughts and truly begin; this is where many people get overwhelmed by the stress of starting a career.

But unsurprisingly, there are a few ways to make the journey a bit easier on yourself. A variety of services have been created specifically for those who want to ease into their career or switch careers entirely.

In this article, we’ll introduce eight different services that can help with different aspects of your career journey. Use them all or just a few, depending on what you need at each stage of your journey.

1) Resume writing services

If you’re applying for jobs, you’re going to need a resume. And not just any resume, but a resume that will grab the attention of your potential employer and help you stand out from the competition.

If you’re not sure how to write a resume or what information to include, there are plenty of resume writing services that can help. They will work with you one-on-one to understand your experience and goals, and then craft a resume that will get you noticed. For example, Arielle Executive can help you create a resume tailored to your specific needs and goals.

To begin with a resuming writing service, you can start with a simple Google search. 

2) Career coaching

If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do with your life, career coaching may be a good option for you. Career coaches are trained professionals who can help you assess your skills, values, and interests, and then match them to potential career options.

Coaching can take place in person, over the phone, or even via video chat. It’s a great way to get unbiased advice and support as you figure out your next steps.

3) Online courses

If you’re looking to make a career change, you may need to update your skillset. Luckily, there are now many online courses available that can help you learn new skills in a flexible and affordable way.

Some online courses even offer certification, which can be helpful when applying for jobs. When choosing a course, be sure to check the reviews and make sure it’s reputable.

You can filter these courses by subject, price, and duration to find the perfect fit for you. If you’re not sure where to start, try Skillshare or Udemy.

4) Networking events

Networking is a great way to meet new people in your industry and learn about new opportunities. There are many networking events happening all the time, and you can usually find them through a simple Google search.

If you’re not sure how to network, there are plenty of resources available to help. For example, the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is a great resource that can teach you how to network effectively.

You should also remember how to conduct yourself at a networking event. This means dressing appropriately, being polite and respectful, and having a good elevator pitch ready.

5) LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site specifically for professionals. It’s a great way to connect with other professionals in your industry, learn about new opportunities, and showcase your skills and experience.

You can use LinkedIn to find jobs, research companies, and connect with potential employers. You can also use it to build your personal brand and grow your network.

If you’re not sure how to use LinkedIn, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. For example, the book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success by Wayne Breitbarth can teach you how to use LinkedIn to grow your career.

6) Job boards

Job boards are websites where companies post job openings. They’re a great way to see what kinds of jobs are out there and see if any of them match your skills and interests.

There are many different job boards, and you can usually find them through a simple Google search. Some popular job boards include Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor.

7) Recruiters

Recruiters are professionals who help companies find employees. They can be a great way to find jobs that match your skills and interests.

Recruiters usually have a network of contacts in different industries, so they can help you connect with potential employers. They can also help you prepare for interviews and negotiate salaries.

If you’re interested in working with a recruiter, you can usually find them through a simple Google search. You can also find recruiters through LinkedIn.

8) Social media

Social media is a great way to connect with other professionals, learn about new opportunities, and showcase your skills and experience. It’s also a great way to build your personal brand.

There are many different social media platforms, and you can usually find them through a simple Google search. Some popular social media platforms include LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

9) Professional associations

Professional associations are organizations that bring together professionals in a particular industry. They’re a great way to connect with other professionals, learn about new opportunities, and stay up-to-date on industry news.

There are many different professional associations, and you can usually find them through a simple Google search. Some popular professional associations include the American Marketing Association and the National Association of Realtors.

10) Career fairs

Career fairs are events where companies come together to meet potential employees. They’re a great way to learn about different companies, explore different job options, and connect with potential employers.

There are many different career fairs, and you can usually find them through a simple Google search. Some popular career fairs include the CareerBuilder Job Fair and the National Career Fairs.

Conclusion

There are many different services that can help you with your career journey. Use them all or just a few, depending on what you need at each stage of your journey.

We hope this article has been helpful. Good luck with your career journey!