Editor Nina Granlund Sæther, publisher of the member magazine for the National Federation of Homeowners in Norway, tells how her team transformed the way they work.
We are team of 5-6 people that create each issue of Hus & Bolig (House and Home) for our members. The editorial and layout team has worked in much the same way for more than 10 years to provide quality, independent information to home owners covering a range of themes from legal, economic and technical concerns.
The problem was that we simply couldn’t go on producing a magazine with a growing readership, an increasing number of advertisers and a new tablet format using just e-mail and a layout programme, even if everyone kept on putting in more and more hours.
We had massive amounts of e-mail being sent back and forth. It was easy for designers to lose a piece of an article and hard for them to keep track of important comments, due to the level of coordination and volume. This often resulted in painful time digging through mail to track the history of a story.
As an editor, I was also using too much time to explain exactly how things should be laid out and then, again, whenever there was a need to make a change. There was no ability see how the production would look before it was nearly too late to change. It was also next to impossible to place different sized advertisements in the best places, according to our formats and the advertisers’ requirements. It was like putting together a puzzle where the pieces keep changing.
Another risk resulted from all files being stored locally on PCs and in e-mail rather than in one central place. If one person was sick or away, this meant that the magazine might not be published on deadline, readers wouldn’t be happy, and advertising income could be lost. There was no way for production to accommodate changes on short notice.
A good production system is the only thing that makes sense. We selected PagePlanner to fix the problems based on a top recommendation from another publisher that also produces magazines for its members.
We found that everything from creating and editing to layout goes much easier. We can move elements around and put in ads much more easily. We can see how the issues are developing right from the start and better plan the use of space. We always know we are working on the right version. In the past, we sometimes found out that an older version of the text had mistakenly been put into layout or that corrections that should have been made were lost.
Having a central system like PagePlanner is a great improvement. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to spend so much time explaining what I would like done and then trying to visualise how those changes will look. Overall, I think the entire team accomplishes the same result in less than half the time and we don’t have some really tedious activities at all anymore. Other activities we can now work on in parallel.
Overall, I am super satisfied.