Podcast: How to Keep a Member Magazine Thriving for More Than 100 Years

By Association Adviser staff • May 24, 2021

William Jones, IIABA
William Jones, IIABA

If you’ve worked in restaurants, factories, hotels, schools, or other places before attaining your dream job, you’re going to relate well to this episode’s guest. William Jones is the editor-in-chief for Independent Agent magazine, the flagship publication of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Incorporated. But before he landed this position in October of 2020, he worked in all of those places. He’s grateful for those experiences, however, because insurance is a part of every industry, and knowing first-hand the risks inherent in work in several industries has helped him better relate to members and what they want to know about through the magazine.

We talk with William about why it’s hard for writers to build a career. When the Internet makes it easy for anyone to publish their words, the supply of writers increases. But so do the opportunities to practice your craft and set yourself apart from the pack. We cover how Will went from writing stories for free for a soccer fanzine to becoming editor in chief of a publication that serves 38,000 independent insurance agents.

We also cover how Will and his team heavily rely upon data to know how readers are responding to Independent Agent’s content, and how essential it is to frequently survey readers to know what to talk about in future issues. IIABA is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. And, the association has continuously published Independent Agent since 1903. There’s a lot of tradition associated with a publication that established, but tradition will only get you so far.

Will’s routine for examining readership surveys, and studying click and impression numbers and visitor activity on IA’s website is what keeps Independent Agent going strong in an era when many associations are decreasing the frequency of their print publications or ceasing them altogether.

Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions.

Want to be a guest on The Association Adviser Podcast? Have an idea for an episode topic? Email Kelly Clark, [email protected].