Army of me

It shouldn’t be that hard. After all, you’re only asking for an hour of our time. You’ve cut down the PowerPoint slide count to 30, and you’re willing to bring your own laptop to show them to us. The technology product or service you’re launching marks a bold new direction

for your firm, and you’re sure everyone will be excited about it. As a last resort, you’re even willing to bring in a catered lunch to our office! 

So how come only one of us is showing up?

I’m not going to say we get bombarded with requests for vendor visits, but we do get bombarded with requests for full attendance from our editorial staff every time a meeting gets set up. Naturally, when marketing managers are planning these sessions they want to make the maximum impact. They probably picture presenting to a small army of editors, much like the CIO breakfast events they occasionally run to demonstrate new products. You can almost hear the palpable disappointment in the PR person’s voice when they find out it’s only to be, say, me. I try not to take it personally.

Although many of these marketing professionals know our titles, they may not know much about the size of our staff. When you look at the masthead of any magazine, it’s easy to be fooled. There are dozens of names, including freelancers, sales people, admin staff, photographers and illustrators. Whittle those down to the individuals actually putting words on the page (or at least editing them), however, and the room becomes much smaller.

Our bi-weeklies, Computing Canada and Computer Dealer News, have staff sizes of two and three people, respectively. EDGE has two editors. Our other monthlies, including Technology in Government and Communications & Networking, have one each. My group, which provides content to all these magazines as well as our Web site, consists of myself, an assistant editor and a staff writer. That’s just 12 people, and even getting together for internal staff meetings is becoming next to impossible.

This isn’t to undersell our ability to cover the IT industry. Over time, we have maximized our resources by deliberately allocating them between our online and print publications. Instead of several staff writers on each magazine duplicating efforts, daily news is primarily handled by my group. That leaves the other editors free to attend events of specific interest to their publication’s audience, to fine-tune feature stories and take part in the special roundtables and conferences the IT Business Group has been launching on its own.

The result of all this is much more collaboration between my group and the individual print titles, and even between print titles. Many of our editors have worked on more than one of our publications. If they run an end-user magazine, for example, they’ll know enough to alert the staff of Computer Dealer News if a vendor they’ve met has reorganized its channel marketing strategy. If they focus on the private sector, they’ll know the editor of Technology in Government will want to get her hands on the public sector customer references.

With production schedules rotating for each title, chances are one or more of our editors and writers will be feverishly putting their book to bed on the day a marketing executive stops by our office. That’s why we’re not all there, and it doesn’t mean your message isn’t reaching us. A team is only strong as each of its individual members. In the case of our team, if you’re meeting with one of us, you’re meeting with us all.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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