By Howard Rauch
Last week, an editorial giant invited me to join him at the Neal Awards. I gladly accepted. Among other reasons, sitting through an awards presentation – be it Neals, Azbees or similar occasions – is a learning experience.
It reminds one of all the great content B2B editors strive to deliver every day. Industry involvement, creative thinking and hard work are qualities that shine through. In those respects, the description of the Neal winners delivered fully.
But there was one other realization that occurred. Many folks believe that when it comes to awards events, magazines with the biggest staffs and plenty of other resources will always walk away with the honors.
Not true … as my giant proved in two cases. The person I’m talking about is Jim Prevor, one of my earliest clients. He is editor-in-chief of Phoenix Media Network headquartered in Florida. For years he has blazed a trail of editorial leadership for Produce Business, his flagship magazine. He was at the Neals to receive the 2009 Timothy White Award for Editorial Courage and Integrity. Moreover, Produce Business was a finalist in the Best News Coverage category for a publication with gross revenue up to $3 million.
By Neal standards, Jim’s company was one of the smallest represented at the event. But in terms of editorial excellence, he was as much of a giant as any other Neal Award recipient that day. When I first met Jim, he made it clear he was a guy looking for new ideas. Even then – over 15 years ago – it was obvious that he had achieved insider status with his industry. He was and continues to be a shirtsleeve guy, even though he’s built his operation into a four-publication company.
Actually, there are plenty of editorial giants around who are not award winners. In many cases, their magazines have limited space that prevents them from devoting the blockbuster space typically required to, say, contend in a best feature category. Even so, their information packages are consistently high value.
Are you an editorial giant? Here’s a quick self-scoring profile quiz that will clarify your achievement level. Each question can be answered with a “yes,” “no” or “maybe.”
(1) My editorial columns always address key issues that reflect my status as an industry insider. Never is my editorial merely a recitation of the issue’s contents.
(2) I publish important original research reports at least twice a year.
(3) I’ve met hundreds of industry movers and shakers who have become my friends.
(4) Important sources call me constantly to offer angles involving important news stories.
(5) I always write at least one important feature story for every issue.
(6) I am in demand as an industry speaker as well as a recognized information source always sought out by the media.
(7) I travel as often as possible to meet new readers as well as old friends.
(8) I believe training of staff members is an important responsibility that deserves my personal attention.
(9) I’ve organized an editorial advisory board of key industry movers and shakers who constantly provide important guidance.
(10) I enter editorial excellence competitions and have even won a few awards.
So … give yourself ten points for every “yes,” zero for every “no” and five points for every “maybe.”
If you score at least an 80, consider yourself an editorial giant. This kind of accomplishment doesn’t come easy … but it can happen if you’re determined enough to make it so!