What Does It Take to Win Best Magazine for a Professional Association or Membership Organisation?
We meet Will Mann, from Atom Publishing and Editor of Construction Manager, winner of the 2021 Memcom Membership Excellence Awards for Best Print Magazine with a circulation over 20,000.
Tell us a little bit about the magazine
Our client, the Chartered Institute of Building, is the world’s largest professional body for construction management and the members are involved with some pretty amazing work: on Construction Manager (CM), we get to cover everything from ‘mega cities’ in the Middle East to the Nightingale hospitals.
We tell stories from the perspectives of the people involved: how they have delivered construction projects, their innovations, their career development and their aspirations. That takes us to all corners of the globe in all sorts of organisations: our readers range from an asset manager on the New York City Subway to the head of estates at the University of Oxford.
We keep our editorial strategy fresh through an editorial advisory board, drawn from a cross-section of senior construction figures, a reader panel of around 40 industry professionals, regular online research among our readers, and of course, we ensure the strategy aligns closely with the goals of our client, through regular and ad hoc meetings with key executives and steering groups.
CM goes out to 31,000 CIOB UK members in print but a mark of its success is how we have grown its reach through online subscribers to the digital version; in total, around 58,000 people now receive the magazine.
What has been the editorial strategy over the past few months?
EDI has been a key focus area and we are blessed with a client who believes very strongly in pushing this message. For our March issue, three female readers formed a panel of ‘guest editors’ who we worked alongside, to spotlight the roles of females around the construction industry. The cover was inspired by the colours of International Women’s Day, which this special issue was timed to coincide with. In another issue, we ran a cover feature on the experiences of ethnic minorities in construction, including an interview with the then CIOB president who is from an ethnic minority background.
The last year or so has inevitably been dominated by Covid-19 but it has been a chance to demonstrate both our client and members at their very best. The CIOB offered unrivalled support to its membership when the pandemic struck, through initiatives such as its Benevolent Fund, while its members were central to construction of the Nightingale hospitals, and we covered these projects widely in the magazine.
The other major news topic has been the Grenfell Tower Inquiry which has been a constant in both magazine and on our website; one of our readers, Johnny Dobbyn, told us our coverage “was absolutely first class – makes for totally compelling reading”.
How do you measure evidence of impact?
We regularly receive positive feedback from both readers and our client. Our client’s CEO, Caroline Gumble, praised our female guest-edited issue as “a splendid / fresh approach to celebrate International Women’s Day, it is vibrant and positive”. CIOB past president professor John Bale described our July 2020 issue as “a first class piece of work… the range of articles, their attractiveness and the depth of content are hugely impressive”.
Construction Manager is rated by CIOB members as the top service the institute provides, and as head of communications Saul Townsend puts it, the magazine is “…in the vanguard of our work to help inform and inspire members”.
Tell us about the commercial success?
The commercial development of the title has grown steadily under Atom’s management, and we are again set to deliver a strong financial performance for the CIOB this year, despite the impact of the pandemic. Our client gets an excellent magazine for their investment. Major brands who now partner with us include Audi, Autodesk, Bosch, Ford, JCB, Screwfix, Tarmac and Volvo. One of our clients, Autodesk, describes the performance of their campaigns with Construction Manager as “one of the best we have seen”.
What are you most proud of about the magazine?
Positive feedback from our client and readers is what makes us proud – and of course, winning prestigious awards!
If we had to highlight a particular issue of the magazine, it would be the one guest-edited by female readers. Throughout the magazine, almost every article featured females working in construction at all levels, including crane operators, digital specialists, project managers of major infrastructure schemes, board level directors – no mean feat in an industry where just 12.5% of the workforce are women. Hopefully, in some small way, that will help to move the dial on construction industry attitudes towards workplace EDI.
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