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About Us


Every week the group publishers share their forecasts for the coming three months for all of their brands with myself and our calculating VP Finance Adam R. This ensures we are on track versus our budgets and allows us to Be Agile if not. Well folks, it’s agility time.

This past Friday Adam had us at $350,000 shy of revenue budget as of the end of March. You can blame him as I do, but it’s still on all of us to find ways to correct that trend and close that gap. And it can be in small or big chunks.

For big chunks, see a recently signed contract with the Italian Trade Agency for up to $290,000 in production and printing services. You can see my Virtual Troll below to Scott Atkinson for boldly seizing this opportunity and dragging it over the finish line. The margins on this kind of work will not typically be the same as the $350,000 in incremental print and digital we’ve dropped in the first five months, but this should help close that gap in a meaningful way.

Another opportunity that came to me during a long walk in the snow involved paid webinars. As I’ve mentioned before, the Canadian Poultry brand hosted a four-part webinar series last fall that received widespread reader praise and generated $10,000 in attendee revenue. They are doing another that is approaching $7,000 in revenue already. And I can assure that we do not have more financially prudent readers than chicken farmers.

Talent Canada is also pursuing a paid webinar as I type, with good success and a sponsor to boot. But this is not a new idea, and there are many ways to approach this to create killer content, drive reader engagement and revenue and even engage other experts in the marketplace.

Over 15 years ago when I was editor of Canadian Forest Industries, Canadian Wood Products and Canadian Biomass, we wanted to capitalize on an audience thirst for all things lumber drying. This was before sponsoring a webinar was a thing, and the consultant I wanted to work with needed to make some money for his new business. We charged $50 per attendee for some very technical education and agreed on a revenue share model where he received the first $700, and all the rest went to the magazines. We promoted it and managed registrations; he did the rest.

It was successful and we did several more after. I wouldn’t start with the idea of paying the co-host, as they get market exposure worth far more than $700, but it’s a tool in the toolbox. Think of it as a vice grip. You don’t want to use it, but it’s there if needed.

With this in mind, we are launching a campaign to have two reader-paid webinars in each of our brands by the end of fiscal – one in Q2 and one in Q3. It’s a grand experiment to see what our readers will pay for, how much and frankly whether we can create content worth paying for. If we manage to sell some sponsorship around them, fine. But the main goal is to pick a topic and experts so compelling that readers will part with $50 to $100 to attend. Trust me when I say the price will not be the deciding factor for a business audience – it will be topic and quality.

Your group publishers will be reaching out for brainstorming sessions, and as always I love a good content strategy session over coffee. But book those slots early – they will fill up fast.

Do good work, charge for it, and be good to work with.

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

For more of these little e-rascals, visit The Wall!!

To Scott Atkinson, for Being Bold
From the other Scott – “Scott chased a possibly very large design, production and printing RFP from the Italian Trade Agency. These projects can be risky and unwieldy to bid on and take a lot of work to ensure client satisfaction and good margins. Scott landed what could be an up to $290,000 project and is determined to make it a success and build some repeat business.”

To Adam D, for Working Together
From Barb C – “We are in the final process of the massive Machinery Specifications Manual on Canadian Packaging and Adam has jumped in to make numerous changes to the listings to ensure the process keeps moving smoothly - I don't know how we would be able to do this manual without him!” Editor’s note: Sounds like a lot of manual work.

To Shamual, for Working Together
From Peter S – “When Adam Dras was away, we received late edits from the association for CCE's annual awards program, just before the online forms were set to go live on Jan. 15. Shamual stepped in to ensure the changes were made promptly and we wouldn't have to delay the launch. Thanks, Sham!” Editor’s note: Sounds like a lot of Shamual work.
What’s working

Putting the best online
I’ve been doing a little back-to-basics deep dive into some of our brands’ content, a personal project that will continue all year. It’s early days but I’ve noticed that not all of our magazine feature content is making it up to the website. This is the best, most in-depth and exclusive content we have, sometimes we pay for it, and so it should be placed online (and trickled out in the enews) before all else. If your brand is not prioritizing this content for the website, please do so immediately.

Top 5 auto enews
We’ve had a few sends of our new Top 5 Trending enews series. This is a fully automated enews product that re-purposes the 5 most popular news stories in a given brand for a set period. It requires no human input to send, and will help increase traffic to our sites in response to dropping social traffic. Tested in the Bakers Journal and Canadian Biomass markets, including a Sunday send, it is generating very similar click-thru rates as our regular enews. Expect these to be rolled out to all markets by the end of March.

All policy in one place
You will have received an email on January 22nd asking you to log into your ADP portal and review Annex’s HR policies. It is very handy for me as a manager and employee to have them all in one place. There have been some very minor changes over the years, and frankly I had forgotten a few key details, so please review and confirm these by February 16th. You can do them in several visits or in one cram session like I did. Next month – Policy trivia!
Team News

New events team member
Erick Ferretti joins the Annex Events team as Event Coordinator. When he is not working, Erick loves to cook for friends. His family (parents, siblings & Grandma) live in Brazil. He enjoys watching movies, naming Home Alone and Elf as two of his all-time favorites, in addition to all Marvel movies. He also enjoys playing boardgames like Ticket to Ride and Coup (when he’s not playing Uno). He was a Game of Thrones fan, but didn’t care for the final three episodes. In the summer, you’ll find Erick on his paddle board on a lake or swimming. Fun facts about Erick: In Sao Paulo, his Grandmother signed him up to model when he was about 7 years old and he used to rock almost tail bone length hair! Erick is in Vancouver, BC to help service our growing number of west coast events, so remember when setting up a meeting that his time zone is PST, or 3 hrs behind the majority of us. But no worries, his commitment to Unreasonable Hospitality will keep him ahead of the game regardless.
For Your Benefit

Taking some time away from work to rest, relax and recharge is something we all need. Did you know that Annex’s vacation policy is a bit different from other companies when it comes to the waiting period to actually be eligible to take your vacation? At Annex, our employees can take their vacation in the current year while they are earning it. This means employees don’t have to wait a full 12 months to accrue their time and then be eligible to take it (that is a long time to wait for some time off!). Employees can take their vacation as soon as the vacation year starts and while they are accruing it.

Some other positive points to note about the Annex vacation guidelines:
  • Through time working at Annex, employees become eligible to earn more vacation. The Annex vacation eligibility goes up to a maximum of 5 weeks vacation per year – that’s 25 days of paid time off each year.
  • We allow carryover of vacation until March 31st of the following year (however this should be the exception not the norm.) We encourage employees to take their vacation before the year ends to ensure everyone is taking time for themselves.
  • All time off is managed through ADP, so employees know real-time how much vacation they have available to book/take.
To refresh yourself on the full Annex vacation guidelines – log in to your ADP account to review the recently added guidelines to your profile.