How Partnerships Can Help Publishers Reach New Audiences

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IEEE GlobalSpec, an information and technology services source for engineers, is partnering with Nerd Girls Inc., a global movement dedicated to encouraging and inspiring girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Through the partnership, IEEE GlobalSpec will market a series of Nerd Girls media initiatives including newsletters, the Nerd Girl Nation web series, and content on Each will focus on topics including gender equality in STEM professions; science, technology and innovation; inspirational women in STEM; and mentoring and professional development.

Here are some takeaways from this type of partnering:

Reach a new audience. This is a great way to fill gaps in your content or events. In this case, IEEE GlobalSpec sees the importance to reach a broader audience, namely female engineers and students. Nerd Girls was founded by Karen Panetta, a professor and dean at Tufts University and an IEEE Fellow. She teamed with an award-winning producer and an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker to create media content and further develop the Nerd Girls brand.

Seek new ideas. The U.S. Dairy Export Council formed a content partnership with two other groups in their industry: the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association. Together, the three organizations' collaboration led to a new digital campaign called "got jobs? Dairy Creates Jobs, Exports Create More"—a takeoff, of course, on the famous "Got Milk?" campaign. So far it has been successful.

Align with a positive and relevant force. Giant publisher Meredith is partnering with the Association of National Advertisers on its two-year-old #SeeHer initiative, bringing their formidable resources to a campaign intended to eliminate bias and increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media and advertising. "Women influence or make 85% of all purchase decisions," says Alysia Borsa, Meredith's chief data and marketing officer. "As a company that connects and engages with 110 million American women, coming alongside SeeHer is the right thing to do socially and for the bottom line."

Fill in the missing gaps. My guess is that IEEE GlobalSpec conducted some type of content audit and saw where they were falling short. "With a comprehensive understanding of your audience and the types of questions they ask, you can better develop relevant content," said a report from communications firm Walker Sands. "After the audit is complete, marketers should focus on developing assets to fill in the gaps of their content marketing campaign."

Stay in touch with good people who move on. Panetta was an IEEE Fellow and obviously has stayed on good terms. "Through our relationship with GlobalSpec, we have been able to work with leading industrial companies to help us get the message out, engaging and empowering the next generation to achieve their dreams," said Panetta. Added Patrick D. Mahoney, president and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec: "This initiative is aligned completely with the values of IEEE GlobalSpec."

Expand your knowledge and tools. About a year ago, Connie O'Brien, chief marketing officer at U.K.-based Tungsten Network, partnered with the Institute of Finance & Management (IOFM)—a division of Diversified Communications—to "develop a diagnostic tool called, a 20-question survey around the whole cycle of the e-invoicing process."

Asked about the lessons she's learned from this partnership, O'Brien said, "The primary lesson throughout my whole career is to just listen, because not only is there great information with long-term resident knowledge that we've never captured in other places, but the storytellers are in our office—the people who are on the sales front line, the people who are talking to the customer on a regular basis. So really being sure to listen and make sure that those nuances are getting picked up.

"We talked to our customers," O'Brien added. "We have a lot of data that's at our fingertips based on various research companies, but we needed to hear more unfiltered data around what our customers were looking for."

Score one more for partnerships.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…