As you may know, VAM recently conducted a member survey about communications. We asked folks about the channels we use, the formats we deliver, the frequency of communications, and the quality of our content, as well as about their own communications needs, habits, and preferred channels.
One theme that emerged among our respondents was that there is somewhat of a dichotomy as far as preferences and values assigned to our member news magazine, the Voice. While it continues to be one of our most recognized and anticipated resources, the fact that three of the four yearly issues exist in an online-only format leaves something to be desired for some of our readers. While 39% of our respondents indicated that they had no preference between reading the magazine online vs. a paper version, about 50% preferred the paper, mailed version. Because mailing four editions a year is not economically feasible, VAM continues to search for ways to deliver relevant and compelling content in a format that our readers can access and that offers a successful user experience for them.
I was happy to read a new blog by Issuu recently. They provide the digital page-turning interface that we currently use for the VAM Voice. Over the next month, they will be rolling out a brand-new user interface “with beauty and brains” that is compatible with all devices. Utilizing HTML5, the Issuu remodel promises to “set the stage to completely transform the way people read and discover issuu content for years to come.”
As this exciting change takes place, rest assured that we’ll be following and testing it, with you – our reader – in mind. At the same time, we’ll be continuing our conversations about best practices in delivery of content. One practice that we have discussed piloting is delivering our news magazine content in smaller digital “chunks,” rather than all at once in a content-thick document. For example, the VAM Voice includes a lead article, technical piece, member profile, book review, program updates, and a letter from the executive director or the president. If these magazine elements were delivered separately, but still identified under the Voice brand, would you be more likely to notice and have time to read them? We’d love your feedback on this specific idea. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your .02 – we’ll be banking on it.