Association Connect

Case Study: Reimagining a Publication, Driving Growth

By Samuel Hoffmeister | August 15, 2022

For many associations, a publication serves as the keystone of a solid communications strategy—the centerpiece that sets the standard for all association content through style, voice, design, and messaging. But what if your publication is stale and not meeting the needs of members and advertisers alike? Without that key central component, your audience may look elsewhere for industry insights and advertising opportunities, diminishing the value of their membership altogether.

For the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS), the need for an effective publication was apparent. ATLIS’ executive director, who had enjoyed a great relationship with YGS Association Solutions while working at another association, was looking to transform the ATLIS’ outdated, scholarly style member publication, which hadn’t been printed in two years. She wanted a magazine that members would come to for thought leadership, member profiles, association updates, best practices, discussions, and more—all with a completely new, modern look.

Challenge

ATLIS’ Access Points magazine was no longer being printed and, in turn, was no longer a tangible member benefit that could serve as a core communications device. With the direction to keep only the name of the publication, YGS Association Solutions was tasked with fully rearchitecting and redesigning the magazine to bring it into the present as a refreshed, high-quality, and engaging content solution. Furthermore, ATLIS wanted to leverage the publication to drive advertising revenue and spur membership growth.

Results

Following a collaborative, comprehensive discovery session with the ATLIS staff, we scrapped the outmoded content architecture of Access Points and transformed the magazine into an essential member resource. It now contains thought leadership, multisource features, member insights and profiles, association updates, and purchasing guidance—complete with a brand-new, contemporary design, including modern fonts, pull quotes, refreshed imagery, and QR codes that guide readers to other ATLIS properties, such as its research, reports, events calendar, and social media pages.

Since its launch in early 2021, the new semi-annual Access Points has been integral to helping ATLIS greatly increase member engagement and grow its membership, and it led to the creation of an online community with the same name. The Access Points supplier directory, which runs each year in the spring issue and serves as a buyer’s guide for independent schools seeking technology solutions, saw nearly double the participation from the first to second year of publication. Also over that time, ATLIS has seen a significant jump in membership, due to the association’s revamped content strategy, which has been spearheaded by the refreshed publication.

After Access Points’ first year of publication, it was not only nominated for two association publishing awards—it took home the gold. The magazine won an EXCEL Award for Best Redesign, presented by the Software & Information Industry Association, and the Gold Circle Award for Best Print Magazine, presented by the American Society of Association Executives.

Discover a Better Way

The most effective associations know that publications—print or digital—are key to delivering invaluable information, insights, and advertising opportunities for members. But, even as the main communications vehicle, a publication should be only one part of a larger, more thoughtful strategy. ATLIS’ leaders knew this and, with our help, realized their vision—and saw real results. How are you engaging members and strategizing for the future?

Are you looking for a collaborative partner to get the most out of your publication and content strategy? Connect with us!

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