Entries by Erin Peterson

Avoid This Mistake With The Second-Most Valuable Page Of Your Publication

Don’t waste highly valuable print real estate. Every month, I pick up a few new magazines from the newsstand to see what kind of stories they’re doing, what unique approaches they’re taking, and what I can learn from them. But when I picked up a copy of REI’s Uncommon Path magazine — a beautiful and […]

How Can You Make Your “Difficult Profiles” Amazing?

Today I’m excited to explore one piece of “common knowledge” about profile writing that is 100 percent wrong for higher ed communicators. I’ll start the story in one of my favorite places: writers and editors conferences. When I was younger, my favorite part of these conferences were the keynote talks. Amazing writers — Susan Orlean, Jacqui Banaszynski, Malcolm […]

Research That Shows Exactly How To Improve Your Difficult Profiles

Recently, I’ve been reading a *lot* of profiles about incoming college presidents, chancellors, and heads of schools. I have plenty of opinions on these profiles, but they could generally be summed up this way. These new leaders are clear-eyed about the challenges their schools face! They’re ready to listen to their constituents! They’re excited to […]

Will Your Readers Love Your Story? Find Out With A “Performance Pretest.”

When I was an editor at an alumni magazine, one of the most frustrating experiences I dealt with was never knowing whether or not the brilliant story idea I had was going to resonate with readers. Would a story generate lots of congratulations, letters, and other feedback? Or would it barely create a ripple? The […]

“I Wanted A Magazine That Would Make People Say, ‘I Don’t Want To Throw It Away.’”

One of my favorite things to do every year is talk to the winner of the Sibley Magazine of the Year. This year, I was thrilled to talk to Maria Henson, who is editor of the knockout Wake Forest Magazine, a three-times a year publication for alumni. Henson, a 1982 Wake Forest alum, has been at the […]

Harvard makes the case for a class notes section as long as “The Grapes of Wrath”

As a former class notes editor, I couldn’t possibly be more excited to share this interview and some incredible resources with you. Here’s the scoop: Many years ago, I served as the class notes editor for an alumni magazine. It was grueling, thankless work. I carefully transcribed cursive notes from alumni who were 3,000 years […]