B2B Writing in a Crummy Economy

Photo: Tonie AuerBy Tonie Auer
DFW Chapter President

Just last week I was part of a conference call informing me that the publication I’ve been writing for since October 2005 has virtually eliminated all of its editorial staff. Now, what had been handled by more than a dozen staff writers and editors along with a stable of freelancers is down to two editors and three freelancers.

I managed to dodge the bullet – again. This was the second round of layoffs since October. A few months ago, several editors I’ve worked with since 2001 were laid off, as well. And, just a few weeks ago, a regional business journal eliminated its staff and expanded the duties for existing editorial staff at a sister publication.

I’m wondering how thin can editorial staffs be stretched before the end-product is done irreparable harm. There are only so many hours in the day to complete the work. Yes, most of these publications are cutting back and the issues are much thinner than they’ve ever been. At what point will readers simply say, why bother?

In a time when we’re all competing for the all-mighty dollar, what will keep these readers from deciding their subscription money is better used in some other fashion? We’re already seeing this when it comes to various meetings. I, for one, have cut back on my professional development to save a few bucks.

What are editorial staffs doing with reduced manpower, fewer trips to trade shows and smaller budgets to continue putting out quality products that readers want to read? To borrow a phrase, inquiring minds want to know. If you have a few comments, feel free to post them here. If you have advice to share and want to create a blog post, email me at tonieauer@gmail.com. B2B publishing plays an important role in helping those industries we support and I don’t want to see it become another casualty of this economy.

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