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The YGS Group Association Connect
Helping You to Persevere

Building a Brand-New Magazine (During a Pandemic)

It’s always exciting to develop a brand-new magazine. And when the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) asked us to build their magazine from the ground up, we were more than up for the challenge.

What Goes into Developing a New Magazine?

Any time you’ve leafed through a magazine, you probably haven’t thought about all the moving parts that go into bringing that book to life. While many publishing companies rely on outside vendors to assist in one or more areas of development, YGS is a one-stop-shop. Having all the players within the same company makes for a more collaborative internal culture and a smoother client experience. From start to finish, the steps that brought the new magazine to life were:

  1. Discovery meeting. The first step is always to get a better understanding of the client’s needs and industry. FPA visited our office in November to meet with each YGS team and provide insights about their challenges and goals.
  2. Publication architecture and naming. With the client’s needs in mind, the content team developed a framework outlining what topics each section of the magazine would cover. A list of publication name options was developed and presented to the client. And the personality of the publication began to take shape.
  3. Design concepts. With the names and sections nailed down, content handed it over to the design team to create an overall look and feel for the publication. This included font options, color pallets, page layout, and treatment of pull quotes, folios, and other components. Two different options were developed and presented to the client.
  4. Content development. Once a concept was approved, it was time to produce the written content and images. Using a combination of member-supplied content, photos and information from the association’s annual awards, and articles researched by our team of writers, the pages started filling up.
  5. Media sales. A healthy magazine has relevant ads. Our media sales team reached out to companies in the industry to purchase advertisements that would interest readers.
  6. Layout and review. All the components came together beautifully as our designer flowed content onto the pages and our editors worked to ensure perfection.
  7. Printing. After the design and copy were approved, our productions solutions team transformed the magazine from files on a computer to a publication you can hold in your hands.
  8. Promotion. To build the excitement around this new publication (for readers and advertisers alike), our marketing and technology teams developed a video and eblast to introduce the magazine and show what the issue was all about.
  9. Distribution. Did you know that YGS has our very own post office? Print magazines were sent to association members and other industry leaders. In addition to the print version, YGS launched a digital flipbook version for readers to access on their digital device … from anywhere.

To ensure that all the teams worked together seamlessly, our account managers and production managers oversaw every step to keep everything moving according to schedule, while maintaining clear communications both internally and with the client. Just like raising a child, building a magazine truly does take a village. And watching it develop, grow, and ultimately go out into the world is immensely satisfying.

Developing a Magazine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When the project began, nobody could have predicted that we’d be faced with the biggest pandemic of the century. But we didn’t let that stand in the way of putting out a high-quality, relevant magazine—while staying safe in the process.

Keeping Up With the Times

As COVID-19 shook the whole world, some of the content we’d planned months in advance needed to shift. Some quick work from the client and some nimble editing from the content team allowed us to include vital information about the pandemic’s impact on the flexible packaging industry, without compromising quality or delaying the mail date.

Safety in the Print Shop

A strong communications strategy is important all the time. During a pandemic, it’s vital. High-quality printed materials offer readers a neat package of information that is directly relevant to them. For this reason, YGS is an essential business in the state of Pennsylvania.

Safety of YGS associates is the number one priority. In compliance with CDC guidelines, print shop associates work at least six feet apart—as most of the presses are positioned at such a distance anyway. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting measures have been implemented. YGS also provided two washable cloth masks per person, which are to be worn throughout the workday.

Additionally, any associates who are able to work remotely have been instructed to do so—which greatly reduces the amount of people going in and out of the building.

YGS also hosts frequent virtual town hall style meetings to give all associates an opportunity to anonymously ask any questions or voice any concerns. Detailed safety instructions are also offered during these virtual meetings to ensure that all associates understand new protocols. 

Convenience for Readers

Because FPA opted to offer their members both the printed and digital versions of their new publication, readers will be able to access their issues from anywhere. The CDC and WHO have confirmed that printed publications are a safe vehicle for information. So the print editions will be a valuable resource for readers who prefer to consume information via a hard copy format.

A Success? We Think So.

It’s often during the most challenging times that strengths and weaknesses reveal themselves or become more apparent. In the case of FPA’s new publication, everyone’s strengths shined through beautifully. 

Focus and determination were maintained by all teams while adapting to the “new normal.” Changes were made as needed, deadlines were adhered to, and we ultimately produced a beautiful publication that will be valuable to FPA’s members and readers during these challenging times and beyond.

Of course, we couldn’t have done any of it without our new client (and new friends), FPA, who were a joy to work with every step of the way. And who we look forward to serving for many years to come.

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