Network Media Partners Shares Insight into Digital and Print Magazine Production

Above photo by Matthew Rakola

Network Media Partners, LLC is a business services firm for associations, specializing in: customized media sales, design, event planning and management, and marketing services. For more than 30 years, Network Media Partners has provided award winning design services. We sat down with Vice President of Creative Strategy, Jen Smith, to discuss their process for efficiently producing digital and print magazines.

Jen Smith, Vice President, Creative Strategy
Jen Smith, Vice President, Creative Strategy

Can you provide an overview of Network Media Partners (Network), and your publication design work? Certainly. Network works exclusively with associations. Our services include: advertising and integrated media sales, publication design, and marketing and event management services. We work with local, regional, national, and global clients. Most recently, we partnered with global organization MCI to become part of MCI USA. This partnership increased our capacity to meet clients’ growing sales, event, and publishing needs. Our design services are almost exclusively publication design. We do a lot of re-designs and new publication launches.

Right now we regularly produce nine magazines, in addition to the clients we provide initial set-up support and design for. We work in partnership with our association clients, from the early stages of content planning. Network is part of the content strategy discussions for the magazine, and helps develop the right content strategy for the magazine, be it an app or print media. The challenge for associations is how to produce content for all platforms, within a restricted budget. Our work is focused on multi-channel delivery, so we are thinking about visual communications for print and digital simultaneously. We are looking for opportunities to maximize all assets across platforms.

Are your clients focused on print or digital? There has been a big evolution for digital over the last four years. As an industry the idea that everything could be digital seemed really enticing, especially to our client base of associations. Now you are seeing a boomerang. The reality is that you need to be able to provide print and digital components. The questions are: where does your audience expect to find you, and how often do you need to be in front of them? We have one client that launched a magazine as digital-only, then moved to print. They discovered the print magazine was more successful in readership and revenue (i.e. ad sales). For many, the right strategy now is a strong print component with a strong digital component.

What is your workflow strategy? Each client has a different workflow, but from the beginning we are thinking about print and digital, and are involved in early content planning meetings. By being involved early in the process, we are able to identify opportunities to expanded on content from print to digital. For example, if we learn a photographer is being sent out to cover a story, we may ask for video, which we can use in the digital version. This gives digital consumers a little something extra, which is the expectation.

Templates are very important to efficiently produce content. There are certain rules to build consistency for a magazine, but there is also room for creativity. We use style sheets, grids, and grid options based on the components of the articles, any standing content or page elements.

Our process is to work through all the milestones of the print schedule, then while the issue is at the printer, the digital version is produced. TruEdit’s TruAuthor HTML content authoring component has been very instrumental in quickly producing responsively designed HTML content that can be plugged into the app. This allows us to easily have print and digital go live at the same time.

Explain the major difference in managing content for print and digital? This is something we consider a lot. It’s really about using the same content asset, but applying a different approach to suit the medium. The designer will use the same art and give it the same feel, but the presentation will be different. We are designing content for the way it is consumed. With a mobile layout, it’s much more templated so the text is easy to read. The smaller the screen, the more focus is placed on text.

Network’s publication design in both print and digital formats have won numerous awards, including Folio: Eddie and Ozzie Awards, The Apex Awards, and Association Media & Publishing Excel Awards. They are based in Hunt Valley, Maryland. For more information on Network Media Partners, please visit their website.


A Thing or Two About Supporting a Content Project or Two

I’ve been working for MEI on the Customer Success team for approximately six years. My primary responsibility is to provide software training and support for our customers using TruEdit and the Twixl Publisher and Adobe Experience Manager Mobile app building platforms. The range and depth of knowledge that is required to stay on top of responsive content authoring and these mobile app platforms can be astounding. My challenge is to communicate detailed and complex software configurations, techniques and best practices in a clear and cogent format for experienced and new users. My typical day includes leading remote training sessions, calls with clients to work through issues ranging from problems with an image in an InDesign file to techniques for displaying fonts on an HTML page, to providing assistance with building and submitting applications to iTunes and Google Play.

My role here at MEI requires that a majority of my time is spent working and interacting with clients. This gives me a unique insight into their challenges when working on their publishing projects. I have built great working relationships during the many hours of training, troubleshooting and just shooting the breeze. I enjoy this part of my job and I think the clients do too. One of my clients once sent me a “Sweet and Salty” gift basket as a thank you, which I think was meant as a comment on my patient but thorough training style. Another client based in Utah was so gracious as to track down a local pizzeria and send me a surprise pizza lunch to the office. I like pepperoni pizza by the way – for future reference.

I’ve trained hundreds of people across dozens of companies. I’ve answered hundreds of support questions and I have reviewed even more. Through all of that, I’ve discovered that the biggest challenges I encounter with clients are not necessarily about technical skills or software – rather it is providing assistance on the transition from traditional publishing to digital publishing. Here are a few pointers that I always share:

Mobile must be part of the strategy

Mobile devices reach into every corner of home and business on the planet. We willingly bring them along with us on our daily routines and more often than not these devices consume a great deal of time in our daily routine. According to studies, the average U.S. consumers now spends up to 5 hours per day on their mobile devices — that’s 35 hours a week, which is just shy of a typical 40-hour workweek! It’s critical for a publisher to adapt a mobile and content strategy that enables them to create, update and deliver mobile-friendly content.

Don’t treat your mobile content initiatives as an afterthought

One of the first hurdles is the process for transitioning content intended for print production by massaging it into a format that is optimized for a tablet, phone, or a website. Treating your digital “mobile” friendly content as an afterthought in your print workflow doesn’t work. Stop thinking about how to make a double page spread look good on a phone and start thinking about how the elements can fit together on mobile screens to best convey the story. It does not mean that you stop designing pages, it just means you don’t need to rely on a print layout as your starting point.

Create your content in a malleable way from the very beginning

Create your content in an HTML format that is flexible and responsive so that it can be easily adapted for any and all devices as well as for print output. Eliminate the need to create multiple layouts to address various tablet sizes, phone sizes, print pages and web content. If you can produce content that is in a format that is responsive, the time saved by not having to re-create the same content can be applied in far more creative ways. You can create the content once and output to several channels without the need to redesign or layout the content in numerous ways. My value to the MEI clients is based on making them more efficient and focused on the creative and substantive aspects of content creation and design – not manually re-formatting the same content for different output channels.

Don’t abandon the most critical aspects of your traditional workflow process

A content creation process that allows people to work independently or together as a team in order to leverage the many skills and tasks needed to produce great content and be efficient are keys to success. Allowing teams to monitor and control different aspects of a project is critical in a multi-channel production process.

You don’t need give up those tried and true workflow steps that have worked well for your team in your current workflow. Bring those same controls to your digital workflow using a tool like TruEdit.

Every day, digital content creation is changing and I strive to stay on top of best practices.

From Letterpress To CSS in Only 22 Years

Kicking and Screaming

I was dragged from the print world into the digital world kicking and screaming. Phones? I’d still have a rotary if I could. Books? I like the paper kind. Video games? I’ve not touched one since our Intellivision died back in the mid 80’s. Nostalgic? Maybe just a little bit.

I was a proud print designer and I had a nice little niche in my professional career. I was the template master. I loved it. I was good at it. I was considered a goddess in certain circles. But in digital publishing, where everything seemed more fluid, more transitory and temporary, was there really a need for exacting consistency? Would InDesign still be relevant in a few years? How would evolving content and design, created for a society on the move, ever be templatized? It kept me up at night.

Baby Steps

I made the jump from print design to digital/mobile design in 2011. I knew that if I wanted to grow my career, I’d have to let go—­or at least loosen my grip—of my singular love of print design. I wasn’t excited about it.

I started with baby steps. I would make prototype comps in InDesign and then hand them over to a web designer to recreate in Dreamweaver/HTML. From this I learned two very important things. 1) pixel perfect design was not possible and 2) our web designer could be bought off with Mountain Dew. At some point I got a hold of some HTML articles for an iPad publication that we were working on and I started pulling them apart to see how it all worked.

Be Still My Heart

At first, I couldn’t really figure out the logic. Why does this code mean that? How can I design with only a few H tags? Then I found out about cascading style sheets. Low and behold, I found something in that CSS file that made my heart skip a beat—patterns and rules.

Patterns of indents, brackets, and codes controlled by rules that were documented and not up for interpretation. Everything that I had done since my 10th grade journalism class had prepared me for this.

Paragraph styles, nested styles, based on styles, object styles etc. It was all basically there in this lovely little CSS file that was magically controlling everything else. I could plan ahead for variations. I could combine style instructions into groups to practically automate the design process. I could make global changes without picking through dozens of files. I found order, consistency, and efficiencies that ultimately gave me more time to get creative.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Over the last year, I’ve spent more time working in HTML than I have in InDesign and I’m actually happy about it. I’m still a beginner and I’m constantly breaking things but that’s how I learn. I never would have believed that I, the letterpress girl from 90s would find a comfortable spot in this digital world. But here I am, doing what I do best, just in another language—HTML—and it only took me about 22 years.

3 Ways to Future-Proof Your Technology Investments

Businesses today are rapidly integrating technology into their operations, and it’s easy to get trapped into making purchases prematurely or to miss opportunities. If you start with the right people, streamlined processes, executive support, and the right integration partner, you are on the right track. The key to staying ahead of the competition is to be proactive, not reactive, in acquiring technology that facilitates multichannel customer engagement.

Customers choose how and when to engage, meaning it’s important for you to be present everywhere they are. To future-proof your business, you must fully embrace this multichannel approach, or risk losing your customer’s attention. Aligning the ability to distribute to multiple channels, and the flexibility to adapt to changes in the industry is vitally important.

The top considerations organizations have when it comes to selecting tech solutions include:

  • Scalability: Operational and production demands within organizations ebb and flow and tech solutions should be able to withstand it.
  • Complexity: A feature packed initial implementation deployed to a large number of users cross-functionally can spell disaster for your solution and lead to project failure. Instead, focus on the most important features and requirements and have more frequent release cycles as you expand across functional teams and regions. Cloud-based solutions typically support agile methodologies and configurations in order to provide enhanced functionality on an ongoing basis.
  • ROI: Stakeholders want to ensure they’re getting what they pay for, that the results are consistent, and that solutions scale with growth and integrate seamlessly with existing systems and processes. Gartner recommends CIOs consider a 5-year ROI on technology investments.

To keep up with technology advancements, companies regularly need to undergo strategic technology audits. According to the 2016 Trends vs. Technologies Report (created by Capita Tech Systems, in partnership with Cisco), 78% of decision makers across all industries agree that keeping up with tech trends is vital or important, and 86% agree that it gives their business competitive advantage. It’s more important now than ever for tech producers to ensure their products and applications are adaptive, and for business partners to be selective with their purchasing decisions. Doing so prevents complete system overhauls and repeated new implementations from becoming regular occurrences.

So how, exactly, does one go about “future-proofing” investments in tech, when there’s no certainty what the future holds? Keeping these three easy concepts in mind can help: Simplify, Embrace, Adapt.

1) Simplify by streamlining management of your current assets. It’s better to focus your efforts on developing a single quality solution, than to over-complicate with multiple systems that require frequent turnover.

2) Embrace change and growth as constants. This mindset is important for the successful longevity of your tech-based product, application, or investment. Ensuring that the architecture of your program or application is flexible and has the capability to adapt to changes or integrate with multiple systems will keep your business competitive.

3) Adapt the architecture of your product, application, or technology to be flexible and designed for growth. Flexible metadata and asset hierarchies, combined with rapid search functionality and collaboration features keeps projects flowing. Making your system architecture extensible enables alternative configurations that can undergo incremental changes with time. This ensures that your technology evolves and scales with your growth.

MEI’s TruEdit content management solution enables multichannel publishing by delivering content to all platforms—mobile, web, print, and social channels—for increased engagement opportunities. TruEdit enables you to create content once, publish to anywhere, and accomplish this at global scale. It works with what content you already have, and integrates seamlessly with the apps you already use, to streamline and simplify your workflow, to save valuable time and resources. Learn more about how TruEdit can help you feel confident that your content production technology is future-proof.

Typography for Multichannel Content

When establishing font sizes, keep in mind that often the content will be presented on many channels including phones, tablets and print pieces. For the print piece, we know exactly how large the medium is so we can set our paragraph styles and character styles in InDesign, most body copy will read well at 10-12 points. Of course, this all depends on the type of font you’re using and your audience. But, a good ground rule for body copy is 11 points.

On digital devices, it gets a little more tricky. We want the design to be responsive so that it looks good and is legible on different screen size. Phones are usually held closer to your eyes than a tablet but the higher resolution means more pixels in less space.

 As a rule of thumb, if you add 5 to your print point size (11), you end up with 16—this is a good size to establish as your base (16px) for digital. Then you define the size of the H1’s, H2’s etc. as related to the base font using either % or em units of measure. For example, the headline might be 2.5em which is about 2.5 times larger than your base.

 By defining your font sizes in em or %, you can more quickly adjust to other screen sizes with your media queries. Adjust only the base size in your body or html tag and all other sizes will be relative to that.

DuPont partners with MEI to Create Crop Protection Sales Enablement Mobile Apps

Chemical leader DuPont’s Crop Protection division is on a mission to help the world’s farmers stave off crop loss and feed a rapidly growing population. The team has partnered with MEI to empower its global sales force and customers with mobile apps that deliver critical product information on demand.

Founded in 1802, DuPont is a science and engineering company dedicated to solving the world’s most challenging problems. DuPont Crop Protection produces insect, weed and disease control solutions designed to improve crop yield and quality. It has more than 10,000 internal and external sales professionals focused on working with millions of large- and small-scale farmers in more than 130 countries.


The Crop Protection digital marketing team launched a complete redesign of the division’s websites and mobile applications using the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) web content management system, along with the MEI TruEdit Content Platform. It was the start of a much-needed digital transformation, but it was not without challenges. The complex project involved creating websites for 37 countries. These sites needed to support content for a dizzying array of product lines. And they needed to house globally mandated brand content while also accommodating locally created content, since farmers in each country grow different crops and each country has different regulatory environments. Given that DuPont Crop Protection sales are literally out in the fields, the DuPont digital marketing team set out to create an efficient and productive mobile experience for the sales force and customers.

We’re glad we turned to MEI to help us navigate the challenges. It’s hard to find that combination of great creative and brilliant technical skills, but MEI has so much mobile publishing experience.
~ Joanne Hewitson,
Global Digital Marketing Lead, Crop Protection

The Solution

The DuPont digital marketing team decided to use AEM Mobile to build and distribute these mobile apps. But they also knew they’d need guidance to make the content creation and app distribution process smooth and efficient, so they engaged MEI to help.

MEI TruEdit enables Crop Protection marketers to easily create responsive HTML for publishing to all mobile platforms and screen sizes. “Our marketing people don’t have to be programmers to put together these apps,” says Hewitson. “It’s a really cost-effective, efficient way for our teams to manage their content, so any time they need to change a picture or headline or adjust copy slightly, they can do it wherever they are in seconds.”

TruEdit also helps Crop Protection teams create content once and publish it many times in multiple languages, saving time and money and ensuring brand consistency. “Our teams are stretched to do so many things,” says Hewitson. “TruEdit makes it easy for them to access high-performing content right when they need it, and that’s a huge win. Ultimately,” she says, “we want to make it so that our customers won’t want to do business with anyone else since it’s so easy to use DuPont.”

The Results

DuPont Crop Protection is already experiencing great results with the MEI TruEdit and AEM Mobile solutions. The company estimates more than $500K in efficiency gains from using a single, shared platform worldwide. Online delivery of information through the mobile apps could save $1M in printing costs. And the company calculates a 50% improvement in time-to-market for its content.

Hewitson says that MEI has helped DuPont Crop Protection fulfill their mobile strategy. “We’ve empowered customer conversations, particularly those between our field reps and farmers. We’ve enhanced the customer journey by making interactions more convenient and enjoyable. We’ve provided training and support for our partners so they can make the most of the apps for their needs. We’ve improved collaboration between marketing and sales. And we’ve been able to capture data and performance analytics in a disciplined way that helps us provide optimal content at all times.”

MEI is Aiming to Help You Propel Your Business Goals in 2017

To our valued clients

On behalf of the entire MEI team, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for being part of our success — and to remind you that we’re here to help you achieve your business objectives in 2017.

Staying ahead of content workflow trends

2016 was MEI’s 26th year in business, and it was a great one. Our biggest accomplishment was the release of the TruEdit 2.0 cloud-based content solution. We were thrilled to see the interest and excitement the product generated with so many experienced publishers and creative professionals.

TruEdit 2.0 shows how hard the MEI team has worked to evolve our technology to meet your content workflow needs. The most significant trend in content marketing and distribution continues to be the fact that consumers are accessing content anytime, anywhere across a wide variety of digital platforms. As a result, your business must have an efficient multi-channel delivery workflow in order to engage your customers across all their preferred devices and media.

Our 2017 goal for the year is to deliver workflow solutions that adapt to your unique teams. We want to ensure that our software simplifies your processes, allowing you to gather content quickly and always have visibility into the project and task status of individuals and teams.

Get in touch
If you have feedback or questions about your MEI solutions or want to talk about how we can help you with creative, production, workflow, systems integration, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Here’s to your continued success in 2017!

Mark Leister, Managing Director

How MEI Took the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Magazine Mobile

We sat down with Will Steuber, Creative Marketing Director at MEI, to hear about how he and the Nervous Pixel team helped Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Equality Magazine go mobile with Twixl Publisher and TruEdit.

Will Steuber
Will Steuber, Creative Marketing Director, MEI

How did Human Rights Campaign (HRC) first start working with MEI? Three years ago, the HRC was looking to get a digital version and app for their Equality Magazine which is published quarterly for their members. They reached out to MEI because they were referred to us by the Humane Society and they knew our reputation for innovative publishing technology. We had just done some Adobe DPS training and template creation for the Humane Society creative team. HRC print production for the Equality Magazine was well established using an InDesign PDF workflow, but they needed a digital version. When the HRC first started using Nervous Pixel, the MEI in-house agency, to create the digital Equality Magazine, we used the InDesign print files as the basis for content and output for a tablet. The first digital issue went out for Winter 2013. With this latest Fall 2016 issue available on iOS, Nervous Pixel and the HRC have done 14 Equality Magazines for devices to date.

Do many of Equality Magazine’s subscribers access the website from a mobile device? It turns out the majority of their website visits are from mobile devices and especially phones, so we built phone-ready HTML templates and published their first version for the phone. Meanwhile, we were still producing the tablet version with InDesign, so, all together there were three different versions – print from InDesign, tablet from InDesign and phone from HTML.

How did you simplify the process? In the most recent issue of Equality Magazine, we just went for purely responsive design so we could have one version that would look great on any device.

Why did the HRC decide to go with Twixl and TruEdit? By switching to Twixl Publisher for their mobile application platform and using TruEdit with TruAuthor for content creation and management, the HRC was able to save a substantial amount of money on their digital publishing cost and add HTML content authoring for a fully integrated mobile content platform. I have used both on many projects for our clients and Twixl and TruEdit are so easy-to-use, we can turn around apps sooner, for less.

What’s it like working with the HRC Equality Magazine team? They are very professional and detail oriented. At first they were very hands-on, wanting to be sure every headline, image, pixel, gets the right positioning and style treatment. We were able to get everything looking very consistent quite quickly once we put everything into the same creation process using TruAuthor. In the past, the print, tablet, phone and web versions were all edited and updated separately. With responsive design, all the creative is in a single file, so we can literally just review the lay-out once and see how it adjusts for different sizes of devices. Since the copy is the same everywhere, any correction we make works for all output types. Quality is way higher, making updates and edits much faster and more efficient, and we are able to turn everything around very quickly. For their members and readers, the digital experience is much more robust across print, web, and mobile.

How did you educate the HRC team on how to use TruEdit and Twixl? Our usual model at MEI is that we train up the client’s team and get them ready to go, passing on our best practices. Other times, our in-house agency, Nervous Pixel, are hired as their interactive creative team and they use us to get their digital apps published. For the HRC, we explained that by adopting Twixl and TruEdit and moving to responsive design with a single file for all creative, we won’t have the control over pixel-by-pixel minutiae and lay-outs as we did in the past on the tablet version, but now the benefit is one review and approval cycle that is light years faster. They were really open to that and wanted to move forward. Now, we send them the first draft and are usually done after one revision.

Do you plan any updates for the Equality Magazine app? There are two settings the publisher can select when they publish a collection or issue: readers can download the whole issue upfront or can do it per article. The HRC wanted to make sure that no matter how old the phone, that people could download article by article and not get hung waiting for the full magazine to download. Once the article or issue is in your cache, it is there forever and doesn’t need to be downloaded again. In the future, we may decide to have the reader download the entire issue at once but, for now, the quick gratification of downloading only the article you want to read seems to be working.

What’s the next step for Equality Magazine now that they have a phone app? Their content is very current affairs based. Equality Magazine now has the TruEdit and Twixl platform that enables them to evolve the frequency, timing, and number of output channels into weekly, daily, hourly, anywhere they want it. They can easily keep up with a static quarterly magazine, and have the option of evolving their process into writing, editing, producing and pushing out one article at a time, as quickly as they like.


Human Rights Campaign Blazes Digital Trail for Equality Magazine with MEI


We recently had the opportunity to interview Anastasia Khoo, CMO of Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and learn how they are using TruEdit with Twixl Publisher to publish the Equality Magazine mobile app and her digital marketing plans for the future.

How have things changed since you first got involved with HRC? I’ve always worked on progressive issues. When I made the move from Greenpeace to the Human Rights Campaign 11 years ago to help fight for full LGBTQ equality, I knew I was standing on the right side of history. We have seen sweeping change – it’s been a very exciting opportunity for me to help make history with HRC.

Anastasia Khoo, CMO, Human Rights Campaign
Anastasia Khoo, CMO, Human Rights Campaign

How has your perspective changed on the use of digital media and technology? My tenure here coincided with the rise of digital and social media. One of the ways we have been the most successful is by putting digital communications at the forefront of our communications strategy. We’ve seen that we are able to connect with people and meet them where they are and, increasingly that is on digital. How you get your news, connect with friends, support your social cause and finding information is all digital. Over the last ten years, so much has changed to make that possible. What we strive to do here at HRC and part of my work is to change hearts and minds, and you can’t do that without connecting with people where they are. We have been incredibly successful using digital channels to help advance our mission.

Remember your Facebook campaign in March 2013 when everyone adopted the red-tinted HRC logo as their personal profile to show support for marriage equality? That resulted in exponential shares and likes. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is a fundamental right. That is probably our best viral campaign example that captured people’s imaginations. It demonstrates the widespread support for marriage equality and it was one of my proudest moments both professionally and as an American.

What are the main goals of Equality Magazine and how does your use of digital publishing and workflow automation impact that? Our editorial is very strong and I wanted to take the next step to bring that online. Although the magazine is a benefit to members, so much time and work goes into creating it, we wanted it to be an an extension of our social media experience and to increase our footprint. With the rise of digital, everything changed from the way we write a report to the way we publish. We started with an iPad app, then we extended into the Apple Newsstand. Now we have an iPhone app, and we are continuing to look for opportunities and ways to use our great content, have additional presence across channels, and get our message out there. Historically, since it has been a print piece, the magazine has been a little slower to transition to an online property. We are excited about the possibilities to continue to push this forward.

Your members and readers read the quarterly Equality Magazine cover-to-cover. Do you have plans to change the way the print and digital interact? I am not really a print mail person myself, so I am always surprised to review our surveys and see how much our members love and look forward to receiving Equality Magazine. With our focus on digital first and saving resources, we have a lot of support to offer a paperless, environmentally-friendly approach to publishing the magazine that is more cost-effective and accessible. Our community is highly digitally savvy and embraces change.

How did you first hear about MEI and Twixl Publisher? We looked at other organizations that are similar size but different missions. The Humane Society spent some time with us discussing how they approached publishing their magazine, and they were really generous and forthcoming. One of the outcomes of that conversation was and introduction to MEI. I think MEI has done a great job helping us to refine our process, become more efficient, and expand our reach by introducing a phone app, while continuing to be mindful of cost. That is why we moved to TruEdit for content creation and Twixl Publisher for the mobile app.

What are the benefits you see in terms of automation and efficiency and how your creatives and editors spend their time on Equality Magazine? I think one of the most exciting things is that because the printing and mailing process can take such a long time between when we put the magazine to bed and when it gets into the hands of our members, readers get a sneak peak and see our work. That we are so much faster and more efficient for the online piece is really important from an ROI perspective because of all the time, energy, staff, and internal resources that go into producing the magazine. I love getting two bites from the same apple and our members get the benefit of their tablet and their phone, providing two more opportunities to connect and interact.

How many people that come to your website are mobile? We have over 1.5 million members and Equality Magazine is the largest LGBTQ publication in the country. More than half our website visits are mobile these days and that number is increasing. This was a big factor when we redid our website and developed a responsive design.

Is the content in the magazine exclusive? There are times when we cross-publish like a celebrity interview but mostly the content is expressly created and written for the magazine.

Do you see there being a role at HRC for interactive mobile apps beyond digital publishing? That is definitely possible. Mobile has forced us to think about things differently. We have taken a mobile first approach to how we design and communicate. It is really reframing communications for us. I think video and mobile are the focus to help us push our mission forward. We do have other apps including a Buyer’s Guide to LGBTQ equality. As a not for profit, it always comes down to budget and the best way to package content that is accessible to people.

What do you think about the digital first idea many brands are embracing of having a central content hub where you create content one time for output to any channel? We are very nimble and have managed the acceleration of communications brought on by digital. The nature of our work is that we operate in real time due to the need and urgency to be part of real time conversations. Our work impacts live of our community so we often don’t have the luxury of an extensive review process. We are always thinking about how do we make it better, tweak it and test. I think we are best in class when it comes to content and brand marketing. We do things in a way that is both efficient and effective.

Do other organizations come to you to get advice on how to reach more people? Yes. HRC is very open and transparent about how we do things and we like to share our success with other organizations to help them with their own communications and marketing endeavors. I am very proud of the way we are great partners with the progressive community.

If someone comes to me and says ‘how do I make it go viral?’, I know they have already failed. They’re missing that it’s more than just going viral, it’s about creating an emotional connection with members and supporters. Marketers need to be thinking about how to build its brand and audience, day-in and day-out. HRC’s success with the magazine, social media, mobile, and apps is endemic to how we approach communications which is a constant process of refining.

How do you hope this app changes your relationship with your readers? We want to expand our audience with this additional point of contact by making it freely available. For the LGBTQ kid may not have a supportive community, we want to show them via digital that  there is a big world out there, that they can be loved and accepted exactly the way they are. Digital allows us to reach the people most in need, right where they are.


Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Magazine – built with Twixl Publisher and TruAuthor

MEI is pleased to announce the release of the new Equality Magazine app, published by the Human Rights Campaign. Equality Magazine is the first published North American app built on the Twixl Publisher 5 platform and with content created with TruAuthor, the responsive HTML authoring tool available in TruEdit. The summer 2016 issue consists of responsive HTML pages that perform well on phone and tablet devices. The app, which includes current and back issues, is available for iOS devices on the App Store as well as Andriod devices on Google Play.

MEI will be presenting a case study at the Digital Publishing Strategies event sponsored by MEI, Twixl and Bates Creative on Wednesday, September 21 at the The Carriage House at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington, D.C. that will include an interview with Anastasia Koo, the Chief Marketing Officer for the Human Rights Campaign.