Have you ever wondered what we have been working on?
Here is a case study of one of our most recent projects: writing and editing an entire magazine devoted to social work.
You can flip through the digital edition of the magazine below but for more information about how we worked on this project, keep reading…
Type of work
Magazine production, content planning, journalism
Social work practitioners, Directors of Service (Children’s and Adults)
Digital (via issuu.com) and in print (posted to every Local Authority in the UK)
May – July 2018
A Brief Overview…
We were asked to project manage the production of the next issue of Social Work News, a quarterly social work magazine produced by Sanctuary Social Care.
As part of the brief, we were required to create a detailed page plan, write or co-ordinate each article and liaise with Sanctuary’s in-house design team regarding the final artwork and proof-reading stage of the magazine production.
Our main objective was to establish an educational yet enjoyable publication which demonstrated a positive side to social work. This approach helps to differentiate Social Work News from it competitor publications, which are often news-led and offer a more critical look at current social work practice.
The aim was for the magazine to reflect the ‘voice of the profession’, with each article demonstrating a true understanding of positive social work practice. Thanks to the candidate database at Sanctuary Social Care, we were able to approach social work practitioners from across the UK (and at all stages of their careers) and encourage them to get involved.
As reading magazine articles can be claimed as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity (under the rules set out by the HCPC – the regulatory body for social workers in England), it was important that each individual article had a distinct purpose and could pinpoint practitioners to further reading or additional guidance thanks to clear calls-to-action.
Each article would also need to be re-purposed as a standalone blog for the sanctuarysocialcare.com website throughout the duration of the magazine lifespan.
Our measurable objectives were as follows;
- To create a 28-page magazine
- To reflect the points of view of at least 10 social work practitioners
- Exclusive interviews with at least 3 separate organisations within the social care sector
- To deliver a mix of articles suitable for practitioners working across Children’s and Adult services
- To deliver a final magazine ahead of the July-September magazine lifespan
- To remain cost effective and under budget.
- To achieve a readership of 2,000 readers over a min. three-month lifespan (July – October 2018)
Our strategy for creating the content in a timely fashion was to make use of our existing contacts within the social work profession as well as utilising the contacts secured by the in-house team at Sanctuary Social Care.
The priority was to create a comprehensive content plan which could be used as the basis for the magazine pagination. The plan not only included content ideas, but also expressed clear deadline targets and costs, allowing us to stay on track at all times.
An overarching theme of “social work within the third sector” was chosen to complement the magazine pagination, which allowed us to approach a wide range of charitable organisations to demonstrate additional support and resources available for social work teams.
After the plan had been approved, we were able to start contacting relevant personnel from a wide range of high-profile organisations including Cafcass, the National Deaf Children’s Society, Volunteering Matters and the NWG Network.
We also made significant use of the Sanctuary Social Care database to encourage practicing social workers to share their thoughts and opinions with us. Thanks to a targeted survey which was distributed electronically, we were able to receive the viewpoints of 50+ practitioners – the largest response rate ever recorded in the history of the magazine.
We were up against tighter than expected deadlines due to two bank holidays plus pre-planned annual leave, so knew we would have to work efficiently in order to meet the required deadlines. Therefore, contributing organisations were offered the choice – Marley Bird could either conduct an interview and write the resulting article, or they could submit some information in full which would be sub-edited by the Marley Bird team.
Not only did this allow contributors to feature in the magazine at a time convenient to them, but it also helped us to provide Sanctuary Social Care with more favourable production costs for the magazine as a whole – increasing the value for money offered.
The magazine was completed on schedule and was officially published on Monday 16 July 2018.
To compare to our measurable objectives, we delivered the following:
- A 32-page magazine (a special summer, bumper edition)
- Interviews with five high profile organisations with links to the social care profession (Cafcass, National Deaf Children’s Society, NWG Network, Volunteering Matters, Independent Safeguarding Service)
- Shared the views of 16 different practitioners (from a response rate of 50+, the largest ever received)
- The magazine was delivered under the estimated budget
The Stats Speak for Themselves..!
The target readership of the magazine is 2,000 readers throughout its three-month lifespan.
Readership is measured by the online tracking available via the publishing channel, issuu.com.
Within two weeks of the magazine launch, the publication had officially been read over 1,600 times – over 80% of its target readership!
Further offline readership (quantity is unknown) is achieved via print editions which are distributed free of charge to each local authority across the UK.
What the client says….
“We commissioned Marley Bird to produce Social Work News magazine on the strength of their understanding of our target audience and the proven quality demonstrated by their other work for us. The project ran smoothly and on time due to the clear planning and regular communications from the Marley Bird team. This ensured project landmarks were met, allowing for the design and print process to follow on schedule. We are delighted with the finished magazine, which has been well-received by our readers who have provided lots of positive feedback!”
Andrew Pirie, Marketing Director, Sanctuary Personnel