Before starting my own content and strategy business in 2013, I was editor in chief of Delicious Living, deliciousliving.com, and New Hope Natural Media custom magazines. In one year, with a small team of four editors and two designers, I lead the production of over 50 magazine issues, 52 e-newsletters, and over 200 web-exclusive blogs and articles. The editors and I spoke at industry events and contributed many hours of expertise to New Hope research and reports. And we accomplished all of this with reduced staff, under significant budget cuts. If it sounds like a lot, it was.
By volume of work per person, 2011-2012 were some of the most successful years in the New Hope Natural Media business-to-consumer content division. But we had to overcome a set of challenges that easily could have upset the delicate balance between the flagship magazine, custom client work, online presence and social media development, and new revenue-generating editorial projects. As EIC, working with management, sales, business insights, and production teams, I identified key challenges and problems and implemented the following solutions.
Problem: Incomplete integration of systems and teams supporting flagship publication (Delicious Living) and 5 custom publications, resulting in inefficiencies and redundancies. Limited resources not always used to the greatest benefit of all products.
Solution: Reorganized team structure to facilitate communication and collaboration. Established brainstorming protocol, editorial workflow, and revamped budget. Reallocated resources and worked within a limited budget to motivate troops to improve content and morale.
Result: Published 50 magazines annually.
Problem: As a consumer-facing publication, Delicious Living‘s web presence was ineffectively housed within New Hope Natural Media’s newhope360.com.
Solution: Developed a stand-alone deliciousliving.com website and creative strategy to support the site encompassing SEO, user-friendliness, and embodying the print magazine’s mission. Created organizational tasks and editorial calendar to support both website and auxiliary social media programs. Referring to metrics, identified key areas of topic growth and online content opportunity. Allocated time resources and delegated team responsibilities to support an outstanding website on a budget of $0.
Result: Doubled page views within 2 months of launching, from 150,000 to 300,000, with 50K unique users.
Problem: Team creativity and productivity hampered by conflict.
Solution: Identified systemic points of conflict through individual and group consultations. Reorganized duties and assignments to promote communication and cooperation. Established clear standards and job descriptions to streamline efficiency.
Result: Increased employee morale; measurable increase in collaboration and productivity. Long-lasting structural improvements in communication.
These were tremendous opportunities for me, and for our team, to improve upon systems that were put in place when print magazines were more straight-forward enterprises. Not only did we succeed in re-envisioning our internal structure, increasing our capabilities, we proved that a magazine with a 25-plus year legacy had staying power in a rapidly changing marketplace.