From now until the 43rd SIPA Annual Conference June 3-5, Wednesday's SIPAlert Daily becomes THE ROAD TO 43. I'll offer takeaways from the speakers and sessions, take a glimpse or two back—it's a good time to dust off the old Hotlines—point out some special events, and have a little fun.
The best thing I heard all week...
"I'm excited; the whole staff is excited. If you go to the SIPA conference, come up and ask me. I'll let you know how things are going. It has been an exciting journey so far."
That was Lynn Freer, president of Spidell Publishing, speaking yesterday on an excellent SIPA webinar titled How to Harness Social Media to Diversify Your Subscriber Base with Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring. (The webinar will be posted for members shortly.)
"Come up and ask me." That's the essence of attending a conference. We can lay out the sessions, schedule amazing keynotes (see below), roundtables, etc., but it is that informational intimacy that can't be duplicated. And Freer captured that.
The biggest takeaway from Huff yesterday was that "social media should be built around a specific plan, with a goal in mind, and how to measure it. Make it a true process in your business rather than an experiment."
Freer spoke about where the money came from for the new campaign. "There had been some direct mail campaigns we'd been using and determined that we were losing on," she said, "not a single bite. So we took the budget for those and put them into social media—social platforms and Google Ads."
"That's what we're seeing with other clients, too," said Huff. "That direct mail is not performing like it used to."
At SIPA Annual 2019: Make More Money, Huff will lead a session titled Lift Your Event Attendance By 50% Using Multi-Media Marketing Tactics, and Freer will present How 3 Publishers Became Award-Winning Podcasters. I'll be writing more on yesterday's webinar and giving a link.
Artificial intelligence explained in dog years
"When someone learns what I do I often find myself explaining why despite what they may have heard, [artificial intelligence] is not becoming conscious and taking over the world." That's from a recent article on Medium titled Demystifying Machine Learning With Your Dog by SIPA Annual 2019 keynote Vlad Eidelman, VP of research for FiscalNote.
Eidelman then explains AI in as clear terms as I've ever read, using dogs of all things. "If you want your dog to do something on command, you start by getting her to do it, and then saying something or showing her something at the same time and giving her a treat... Ask any dog owner, however, and they'll tell you it's not over yet.
"A large part of the misinterpretation of machine learning is that we use the word—learning—as shorthand to represent what the algorithm is doing," he continues. "Learning comes with all sorts of baggage that presupposes certain things. It's easier if we replace it with computing, or counting, or something else that explicitly denotes that what's happening is a math operation."
He then gives an example, changing
"It learned how to recognize faces"
"It solved for variables in a math equation based on the co-occurrence of pixels and an arbitrary human provided label."
It's a long article that was first published on a site called machineopenings.com and quite worth the read. I can't wait to hear Vlad live on June 5.
In our content-remains-king department, 32 years ago...
Hotline featured an interview with Austin Kiplinger, then publisher of Kiplinger Washington Editors. In the interview, Kiplinger said this about renewals:
"If there is a 'secret' to success in our business, it's the recognition that the key to profitability over the long-term is not how many you can bring in the door, but how many you can convince to stay with you for a while... Certainly the key is the quality editorial product. Everything else is secondary to that."
He went on to say that the telephone has been very effective for them. "I believe the 'annoyance' factor we all feel about telephone solicitations is greatly reduced when you receive a call from a publication to which you have subscribed."
He added that they did not offer premium gifts. "It's my belief that, for us, things like solar calculators and tennis-racket covers are inappropriate as they distract the reader from our product and service."
Austin Kiplinger died at age 97 on Nov. 20, 2015. After 99 years of family ownership, Kiplinger was sold earlier this month to U.K.'s Dennis Publishing. SIPA Hall of Famer Denise Elliott (a SIPA Annual 2019 pre-conference workshop presenter) is the new CEO.
Last week's quiz asked what the attendance was at the 3rd NAA (a previous name for SIPA) Conference? The answer was 260.
Here's this week's question:
What percentage of podcast listeners stay tuned for all or most of each episode?
Look for the answer next Wednesday!