Why can’t we have an environmentally sustainable magazine wrap!?

Organisations that have taken up the campaign to ban single use plastics are increasingly filling their publications with great articles on their sustainability policy, ethical travel holidays and programmes to clear the oceans of plastic waste. Great articles printed on recycled or FSC approved stock using vegetable inks all serve to promote the organisations’ sustainability ethics – but all too often ignore the fossil-based polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) wrap the magazine gets posted in or is displayed within on the newsstand.

This irony has not been missed by the team at Legacy Sport Media, who have been trying to find an economic alternative to the industry standard PE wrap used on most mailing lines. Some organisations claim their poly wrap to be ‘recyclable’ but in reality it is not accepted by most household recycling schemes and needs to be taken to a special carrier bag recycling collection point.
Recently mailing house Bakergoodchild developed a ‘100%-compostable wrap material’ made from starches derived from potato products, including waste form the food industry. They claim it contains no oil-based material, plastic or harmful toxins, making it eligible for EU certification. A well know ethical travel company has recently taken it up as well as a couple of campaigning membership associations keen to prove their Green credentials. Excited by the possibilities of this new wrap, the Legacy Team delved into the claims and process more deeply, only to find the alternative to PE & PP wrap is not only highly expensive but has several environmental pros and cons.

The latest PPA guidelines on the subject state: ‘Starch-based films are biodegradable and may also be compostable, but they are not recyclable. If starch-based films are used, these should be clearly marked as biodegradable and/or compostable as appropriate. These materials are not wanted in the recycling stream as they can have a negative impact on the recycled product. It is also very important to note that, in order to achieve the properties necessary for a selected application, many starch-based films incorporate biodegradable/compostable fossil-based petro-chemicals, often in high proportions. Whilst these non-bio-based ingredients to not affect biodegradability of the films, some of these can have a very high fossil carbon impact during production and will also release fossil carbon to the atmosphere at end-of-life. Thus, there may be a trade-off between biodegradability and carbon impact to consider. This could be particularly true of materials are home composted in poor composting conditions, which could lead to emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential. ‘*

Legacy Sport Media has been challenging paper mills and packaging producers to come up with a recyclable paper based option to meet the growing demand for a truly environmental alternative – not just a trendy green sounding solution that is potentially more harmful to the planet.

The European recycling rate for paper is over 72% with a goal of 74% by 2020, making it one of the most recycled products in the world. Maybe this is why organisations that do their environmental homework carefully are no looking for paper wrapping and smaller mailings returning to envelopes – with labeling to encourage recycling.

‘Digital is the answer’ – I hear you cry! With GDPR in place it is now all too easy to unsubscribe permanently from marketing brochures and membership managers will tell you their research proves that the association’s print magazine is often the only tangible benefit members can identify.

Let us all think more about the complete printed package and urge more paper producers to come up with a viable solution that eco-minded organisations can really shout about.

* Professional Publishers Association Magazine Plastic Wrapping Guidelines, July 2018.

Should you take your editorial in-house or not?

Help with making the editorial decision

Should you handle editorial in-house?

I recently met with a client who was looking to overhaul their somewhat dated membership magazine and who were faced with the question of whether to take the editorial out of house or not. With many NGB’s and membership associations facing reduced funding, freeing up valuable staff budget for other roles can be an attractive option for the Board. Commercial and membership managers are now required to cover a multitude of roles, some of which may be more financially pressing than chasing copy for the member’s magazine.
To these multi-tasking officers finding an agency that can take over the editorial headache can seem appealing, but at what cost? Obviously it depends on what the provider is offering – a specialist editor with in-depth knowledge of the subject area could be the perfect solution but depending on the frequency of the title this may not be a fulltime role for them, in which case their availability may be limited to just a few weeks in the magazine cycle.

Whilst handing over the job to a more qualified and experienced expert might appear the best solution, in reality much of the copy chasing and info gathering is often more efficiently (and cheaply), handled in-house. Somehow colleagues find it easier to prevaricate and put off writing articles when a stranger is chasing them – not so easy when someone is standing at the end of their desk! Conscientious staff members can also be wary of speaking with agency writers, concerned about being ‘on message’ and indeed exactly what the organisation message is that week.

‘But we don’t have anyone with the time or ability to edit the magazine’, I hear you cry. Possibly not, but a good agency will be able to work closely with a keen communications exec. to offer a guiding hand, check on house style and voice, spot sponsor branding issues and between them cover the ‘editor’ role. The editorial programme can be pre-planned with the membership/marketing/commercial director responsible for a year ahead and then regularly reviewed and adapted on a rolling 3-issue basis. This way the organisation can keep ownership and control of the content and more importantly be seen by the readership to be the true voice of the organisation.

This is not to say a freelance or agency supplied editor can’t do a great job for a membership organisation. Ideally with a strong interest in the magazine subject, a good editor will soon pick up the technicalities, jargon and brand style guide, and can be the perfect solution to an over stretched membership department. For organisations with a quarterly magazine this can be the perfect fit, as the frequency would not support employing a dedicated editor in-house.

One area to watch with any Editor who spends a long time in the role is that the title remains in touch with the grass roots membership – those that have just joined and those you are seeking to attract. It is a function of human nature that the more you learn about a subject, the more you become involved with it’s industry and the more press launches you get invited to – there is likely be an unconscious slide to polarise the magazine content towards the top end of the market, be that elite athletes, high end equipment or the most glamorous venues. This can apply to both staff editors and freelancers. If you recognise the symptoms do not be afraid to ‘refresh’ the editorial viewpoint.

Whichever path you take there will be a solution that works best for your organisation, and a good media agency should be able to offer you all the options to find the best fit to your specialist need. Legacy Sport Media can provide all these services and has the experience of working with many different client sizes and set-ups to be able to suggest what might fit best in your own situation.

John@legacysportmedia.com

Digital editions – how to find the right solution for you.

With more companies and membership associations looking to reduce the cost of communicating with their clients and members, digital newsletters and magazines are a solution that many organisations are now turning to.

Increasingly we get asked to suggest which platform is best? The fact that there are a myriad of providers out there from completely free use options through to complicated subscriber only versions with full rights management suggests that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

The best answer is actually the question – ‘what do you need a digital edition to do for your intended readership?’ Every organisation will have a different answer, so you really need to focus on what job you need your digital magazine or newsletter to do.

Is it content you want to share with as many people as possible for free?

If this is the main driver then save your money on fancy digital editions and retain traffic to your own domain by embedding a PDF on your own servers, then promote the link as widely as possible.

Do you have premium members only content to distribute to paid subscribers?

In the case of membership associations or magazine subscribers, asking them to login onto a browser edition does not cut the mustard anymore. Why when I have paid for a subscription/membership should I have to go online to read it? I might want to read it on my tablet on the train and how do I know when the new issue is out?  Most membership managers say that they need to actively send their members each edition as a download straight to their inbox as a service their clients expect – otherwise you are just competing for attention from all the other direct mail bumpf that we receive these days.

 Is your content so exclusive that you don’t wish readers to pass it on freely to other users?

In this specialist area of premium, paid for content you need to ensure your chosen platform has effective rights management software that only allows the subscriber to access the information they have paid for. However, having to download it via a specialist reader can be a pain, especially when many corporate networks block such readers, so this choice can be counter productive to B2B information providers.

 Are you looking to switch existing print readers to a digital only edition?

If you are in this situation you need to find a really simple procedure to persuade clients to register for a digital edition. No one wants to lose readership and without an email address and a client opt-in this is the reality if you just stop the printed version. How to mange this migration needs careful planning and finding the right, easily useable platforms that all your existing readers can access will add to the user experience.

 Confused already?

It can be a challenging minefield if you don’t start by asking the important questions of what job you need the digital edition to do and how your market will want to read it. If you speak to a number of providers they will all have slightly different options and features others don’t – all adding to the confusion! The answer is to seek out the advice of an independent agency with expertise in the this field, such as Legacy Sport Media, who have experience from the very beginnings of digital magazines and understand the needs and concerns of organisations making this big step. Legacy Sport Media do not have the ‘one size fits all’ approach and seek to thoroughly understand their clients requirements before either building a bespoke system or advising the neatest off the peg solution to fit the specific project requirements.

 John Heyes is Publishing Director at Legacy Sport Media.

 

Digital Rowing Magazine & app

Digital Rowing Magazine & app

 

Legacy Sport Media supported sailor Allen Burrell captures 2013 Finn National Championships in Torbay.

British Finn National Championships 2013 prize giving ceremony.

Photo: Jean Border. www.borderphotos2010.com

Burrell, the acknowledged master in the breeze, overcame the tricky light airs conditions to win the prestigious title. He now adds his name to the illustrious trophy that dates back to 1956, alongside the great list of top British sailors – Vernon Stratton, Chris Law, David Howlett, Stuart Childerley, Iain Percy, Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott. Last year the event was a key part of the build up to the London 2012 Olympic Regatta and saw 84 boats battle it out in Falmouth Bay, with Giles Scott piping Ben Ainslie and Jonathan Lobert (FRA) to the top spot.

Allen had in fact won the National trophy two years previously at Christchurch, but was beaten by two overseas entrants in the British Open event and felt the title a little hollow. This time round Burrell said, “I am especially pleased to win the event outright on the water this time, ahead of all the international sailors too”.

The Championships attracted entries from all over the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Bulgaria. Marc Allain Des Beauvais, President of the French Finn Association put together a strong performance to finish 4th, behind the up-coming George Cooper (GBR) and Neil Robinson (GBR).

 

Start line at 2013 Finn UK National Championships

Photo: Jean Border www.borderphotos2010.com

Burrell’s result in the glorious hot and sunny conditions in Torbay rounded off a good regatta for the Legacy Sport Media team, as LSM Publishing Director John Heyes claimed 7th spot in the 38 boat fleet.

Full results at: www.rtyc.org/hosted2013/finn/finnnat2013os.html