Annual Meeting Reports

Getting the Word Out: Hands-on Marketing Tools for the Publisher and Managing Editor

This engaging session focused on how to create, implement, and evaluate socialmedia campaigns carried out by publishers or journals that have only modest resources for engaging in social media but understand that social-media engagement is critical for marketing.

Clinical Chemistry Editorial Specialist Patty Brady presented a case study of a recent social-media marketing campaign undertaken by the journal, which is published by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). She explained its doit-yourself marketing approach and its effectiveness for journals that have small teams and even smaller marketing budgets. AACC has a marketing department, but because Clinical Chemistry is one of many supported programs, its staff developed strategies to self-promote.

Each January, Clinical Chemistry publishes a special issue. In 2014, the topic was women’s health, and the issue was intended to “highlight recent advances in biochemical and genetic markers used for the diagnosis, therapy, and preventive care of women during all stages of life” ( It included many article types and media: original research, point– counterpoint, expert Q&A, and podcasts.

Brady detailed the planning. First, a project team was organized. Many were involved in planning, but the actual steps were executed by only a few. She encouraged the audience to identify staff members that can carry out a particular task. Next, the team set objectives, including engaging current stakeholders, reaching out to new stakeholders who had an interest in women’s health, expanding social reach, disseminating content, and promoting the journal. Stakeholders included bloggers, social leaders, AACC members, and health-care organizations. The team produced talking points, press releases, provocative quotations and statistics on women’s health, a tweetup with the issue editor, and more. Timelines and execution plans were kept on track.

Teasers to pique interest began in December. The 3-week campaign launched on 6 January (with publication of the issue) and focused on one topic each week, such as cardiovascular disease, reproductive health, and cancer—which allowed specific stakeholders to be targeted.

Clinical Chemistry successfully engaged members who were active on social media to spread the word. A tweetup with Special Editor Ann Gronowski (of Washington University in St. Louis) created unique hashtags and controlled elements of the tweetup (such as planned questions) in case audience participation was low.

Nan Hallock, director of publishing of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, discussed a case study of the society’s paid advertising in social media. As did Brady, Hallock stressed process and planning: defining goals and objectives, using the right social-meeting platform, getting technical help when it was needed, setting budgets and defining target audiences, designing ads, and, most important, monitoring progress daily to ensure quick adjustments. Evaluating project success, both short term and long term, is also important.

Hallock imparted several take-home lessons. The biggest message: Facebook’s tools and the technical support provided by the Facebook representative were extremely valuable. Facebook offered an easy wizard, keyword suggestions, templates, and numerous statistics. LinkedIn was not effective, in part because its users tend to be “on a mission”, whereas FaceBook users are more likely to browse and be open to suggestions.

The campaign’s success grew out of several factors, including the team’s agility. Because Facebook was always changing, the team needed to adjust constantly. If reach was not growing, the team had to consider adding keywords, adjusting the intended audience, or increasing the focus on top-performing ads to accelerate progress.

Evaluating the effectiveness of such campaigns involves many factors. Hallock recommended using all available shortterm and long-term metrics, such as clickthroughs, percentage growth in “likes”, reach, growth of new members, changes in traffic patterns at the Web site, increased e-mails or calls, subscriptions, manuscript citations, and submissions. The data so far indicate that the campaign was a success: The society page “likes” increased by 22%, unique visitors increased by 40% for featured content, the eZine enjoyed a substantial increase in hits, and a reasonable budget was adhered to.

The tips, tricks, and success stories of this session made it clear that despite lean budgets and staff, the combination of careful planning, evaluation, agility, and determination can pay off in focused social-media campaigns.