Entries by Erin Peterson

Behind-The-Scenes: How To Hone A Broad Topic To Create A Killer Story

One of the challenges editors tell me that they face is turning a broad topic into a clear, focused story that their audience wants to read. How do you go from a big idea to an angle or approach that feels compelling and fresh? I want to show you how Capstone thinks about this process and […]

How to make 2020 your big swing year

My team and I work on a lot of magazine consulting projects these days, and there are many things that we hear again and again as we work with clients. They worry that their magazines don’t feel fresh. They feel stuck. They feel constrained by their templates, their time, their administrative mandates. They’re tired of doing the […]

Steal these ideas for your publication

Here’s a roundup of some of the most inspiring ideas I’ve seen lately. 1. Learn from this incredible profile. I love the recurring Master Class profile from Fast Company’s print magazine. It’s a beautifully packaged glimpse into an unusual career. The profile above is of Aki Carpenter, a museum exhibit designer known for her work […]

5 Pros Share Secrets To Finding Great Photographers Anywhere

Maybe you need a photographer for the story of an amazing alum who lives halfway across the country — or halfway around the world. Maybe you’re just looking to shake things up and get a different perspective on your own campus. How do you find a photographer who’s going to get your school and your […]

3 Myths About Alumni Magazines You Definitely Need To Ignore

When I started out in alumni magazines, I learned lots of smart things about writing good profiles, creating packaged features, and making a magazine that was beautiful and compelling. But I also internalized a few truly terrible ideas that it took me years to unlearn. I was not smart. In fairness, one of the big […]

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

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 engaging magazine in almost every respect — […]

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 […]