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I write to you this week from sunny Chicago and the Niche Leadership Summit. I’ve spent the last three days looking for new ideas from publishers large and small, some even more niche than Annex. It’s also been a chance to benchmark some of the things we are doing with fellow media professionals and to speak with vendors about some new offerings that may fill some efficiency gaps we’ve identified.

Of course, generative AI was on the agenda. No one has really built it into their work flow the way we are, but I did chat with several companies with AI usage policies for editorial workflows and they are all following the same path we are – AI can be used to tweak content, re-format it for SEO and social media, or for research, but not for content creation. And like us several are keeping a weather eye on what it will do to web search and possibly our Google traffic. And no one has any definitive answers. Still, I have some new tools to discuss with the Annex AI Group.

Finding new digital products is also a focus of B2B media brands here as at home. While I confirmed some of what we’re doing around content marketing and programmatic, there were no silver bullets. One inspiration however is a large aviation publisher having huge success in creating custom print publications with client sponsored content – think Solutions in RAS that we publish annually. Both targeted niche topics and general technology work, and they offer turn-key services to create all the content. It has become a top print revenue line in just a few years.

Finally, I chatted with a publisher who is using a research tactic to illustrate the efficacy of print advertising. I’ve seen this before, but never with the detailed reporting involved here. It is an idea we may test in one of our markets to gauge client and prospect response.

As is the case with our own events, the key to getting the audience to spend the time and money on events like this is to provide some actionable take-aways. The Niche conference did that through a unique moderated roundtable approach that facilitated peer-to-peer interaction, something we know is a top attendee priority since COVID. The Niche Summit model and how we can adopt it to our events is worth an investigation itself.

That was the uplifting part of my week. On the flip side, most of you have heard the sad news about Metroland firing over 600 of its newspaper staff this past week. We’ve hired many folks from Metroland and other community newspapers over the years. They have become great team members, and you may recognize two Metroland alumni among the leadership team. With luck, a few more will land here in the coming months. If you know of any you would recommend, please feel free to let Michelle or I know.

They can come here to do good work and be good to work with. We’ve seen it before.

For those celebrating, I hope you enjoyed Rosh Hashanah last week – Happy New Year - and wish you a meaningful Yom Kippur this weekend. Tzom kal. And for those commemorating next week, I wish you a very happy Eid Milad-Un-Nabi.

Scott Jamieson, President & COO
sjamieson@annexbusinessmedia.com; mobile: 519-410-4000

Virtual Trolls

Too many Trolls to fit this week, so check out the rest to and from Farwa, Kathryn, Trish, Steve, Mujeeb and more on The Wall.

To Anastasia, for Going Beyond
From Angela – “Ana came to chat with me a week or so go regarding taking some pictures in the field near her house for a Drainage Contractor cover. I gave her some pointers. This morning, while in the field taking pictures, she starts sending me options. I ask for a few tweaks in positioning, and wow, she nailed it. Ana works for Events, not DC. Way to go above and beyond!”

To Farwa, for Working Together
From Amanda – “I have been travelling for an event and a sponsor has needed to adjust many items in their schedule for another events deliverables. Farwa despite being new to the role has been super quick to take care of the client and offer alternative dates. Way to go and thank you for being a valuable member of our team!”

To Alex R, for Working Together
From Jim – “Alex accompanied me on a video shoot last week and was a tremendous help. Not only did he lug a bunch of heavy gear in a very challenging environment, but also produced great results as a videographer. Thanks!!”

Team News

Bright young minds
Each year, the Annex Bursary Program recognizes the children of our Annex employees, acknowledging their demonstrated leadership, academic achievement/accomplishment, community/school involvement and a fit with the Annex Values. These students complete a comprehensive application package which includes using a creative way to tell us about themselves, what are some of their proudest moments and which Annex value they relate to the most.

We are pleased to announce the following 2023 Annex bursary recipients:

  • Mira Kranabetter, Wilfred Laurier University
  • Dylan Zambri, Wilfred Laurier University
  • Charlotte Flannery, Western University
  • Megan Zambri, Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Nolan Drumm, University of Ottawa
  • Matthew Madden, Toronto Metropolitan University

Congratulations to these students and their parents. We wish them much success in their academic year.

What's Working

Moving It
I hope all the Annexathonners are enjoying the fall walks. I absolutely killed it last week with 71 KM of walking between the weather and a slightly earlier alarm so my wife and I can get in some pre-work jaunts. Between travel and a little rain this week will not be as productive, but one step at a time. Unlike a real marathon, where you have to show up on time and Peter L always wins, you can jump into the Annexathon at any time. Just let Pero know.

Cold western feet
The HPAC team took the successful Modern Hydronics show to Vancouver, and it turns out folks in BC also like warm feet. Or at least you’d guess that from the attendance. Over 300 registered, including 140 HPAC professionals who paid to attend the event, which also bagged more than $100,000 in contribution. C’est pas pire for the first BC show – pantoute!

Warm Ottawa hearths
And moving in the opposite direction, Canadian Biomass hosted the Wood Pellet of Canada Association AGM and Conference in our nation’s capital. Hosted alternate years in Vancouver, this year’s eastern version was the best yet from a contribution standpoint. The brand has run the event for WPAC for over a decade using a revenue-share model. This year it attracted 160 registrants from across the world and saw a contribution of $83,000.

From left, Maria C, Josee, Rebecca, Tara and Anne.

Celebrating safety
The annual OHS Honours award night was celebrated last night in downtown Toronto. The event drew 125 attendees at the Palais Royale to fete award-winning safety professionals and programs from across Canada. It also delivered over budget revenue of $112K. Well done team. And yes, Anne put some miles on this week.

From left, Cheryl, Silvana, OHS editor Todd Humber, Anne and Paul B.

Process on the Prairies
CPECN hosted one of its Process & Automation table top events in Saskatoon this week, and were rewarded with good turnout and happy exhibitors.

MyAnnex Facts

It’s media kit time at Annex as we update these marketing roadmaps for our clients and prospects. Did you know that you can peruse or download a copy of any Annex brand media kits on MyAnnex?

Michelle’s Covey Corner

With the current fiscal year’s end on the horizon, goals for the upcoming fiscal year are likely starting to bounce around in your head. One goal most struggle with is their personal development goal – which is just as important as your Annex goals. To get yourself thinking ahead, focus on the following six dimensions to help you determine which skills you’d like to learn or improve.
  1. Talents – Grow based on things you are already good at.
  2. Interests – Incorporate what motivates you to keep growing.
  3. Contributions – How do you want to help others or what issues are important to you.
  4. Aspirations – Think about how to build connections and experiences to get you to where you want to be.
  5. Needs – Identify your core personal and well-being needs which will impact the development goals you pick or your timeline to reach them.
  6. Opportunities – Align your goals with reality.
Your personal development goal should be about you and what you want to achieve on a personal level.