Our first event with the PPA was an excellent day – starting with a morning conference with two streams. Luckily there were three of us attending so we could cover all sessions. Susan and I went to the publishing strategy stream focussed on the themes of product, people and profit while Beatrice covered the multi-channel content stream looking at community, content and technology.
Innovation was the buzz word and industry experts discussed how to create a culture and structure which drives innovation. Phil Ives, Director and Partner at Shirlaws, looked at how the economy follows the markets and that we’re in a hesitant, uneven recovery with a boom coming. He questioned whether we have a recovery mindset and suggested that now is the time to go and invest in our businesses and to do something different, not necessarily big or expensive, just different.
‘How to create a culture and structure which drives innovation’:
Simon Dessain, Digital Director at The List talked about their move from print to web to mobile. At peak times mobile is 80% of user activity. They’ve moved from being Scotland-centric to covering the UK.
Ian Gerrard, Publishing Director at Caspian (and ex UBM, EMAP) outlined the differences between working at a larger corporate and smaller independent, but stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere for innovation. Everyone in the business should understand the idea of profit and revenue – it helps focus ideas and the understanding that they do need to be profitable.
Emily Cole, Agricultural Publications Editor at the NFU gave a great presentation on the success story of new publication ‘studentfarmer’. It was interesting to see what can be done with a small team and limited budget.
Really interesting for us was the session on ‘skills, recruitment and retention: making your team the key to business success’. The panel looked at the skills and organisational structures needed to take full advantage of emerging multi-platform opportunities.
The multi-channel content stream, ‘Community, content, technology’ was packed with innovative ideas on how to make the most of the huge explosion in ways to deliver content. Steve Fowler, Dennis Publishing Editor-in-Chief (Carbuyer and Auto Express) kicked off by listing his ‘Seven things to help you succeed as a multi-channel editor’ – key here was to put yourself in your customers’ shoes – as he pointed out, car sellers don’t buy cars! While advocating multipurposing content, he also advised investing in quality content.
There were two case studies in ‘Creating a buzz: how to grow and engage your communities across platforms’. Phebe Hunnicutt, Digital Director, Elle, Hearst Magazines, spoke about the high-profile campaign to capture new audiences by blending fashion and feminism that saw Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband wearing the “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirts, and Content & Community Director at Sigaria, David Rae, talked about engaging your communities by sharing common issues and developing trust.
In ‘Strategies to deliver engaging and profitable events’, Tim Arthur, CEO, Time Out Group and Toby Filby, MD, Stable Events, explored the critical factors for successful events such as Time Out Live in Covent Garden, when they moved the team to a pop up office in Covent Garden and made the magazine there, and Stable Media’s speed dating events for the construction industry.
In the first session after coffee, David Hall, Editor, FourFourTwo, Haymarket Media Group gave us his ‘Top tips on producing immersive content’, providing practical advice on how to utilise multiple devices and platforms, describing the truly multi-media 442 Guide to the World Cup.
Video is the fastest growth area for content online and advertising spend. In ‘Creating compelling and profitable video’, the three speakers shared their experience around how to create engaging video and the lessons learnt along the way. They were Marc Hartog, Founder & CEO, Apptitude Media; Andrea Moffat, Deputy MD, DJ Murphy; and Daniel Pearce, MD, TTG Media.
The morning closed with ‘Tips and practical examples of how to embed commercial content into an editorial environment’. The three speakers were Andy Harris, Jamie Magazine, Glenda Marchant, Publishing Director, Stylist, Shortlist Media and Mike Walsh, Brand Development Director, Haymarket Media Group.
The morning was superbly moderated by Andy Cowles.
Presentations will be available on the PPA website soon along with a report from key sessions.
The Awards ceremony was packed with more than 350 people from a wide range of companies and mix of B2B and B2C titles, and there were 19 awards presented by the publishing legend John Brown. View the winners’ list here!