Entries by Erin Peterson

How Does A Print Magazine “Earn Its Keep” Right Now? Here Are 3 Ideas.

There’s no question that times are tough for higher ed these days. Some colleges are closing their doors for good. Others are mapping out layoffs, furloughs, and other drastic cuts. What happens this fall? It’s anybody’s guess. In the midst of these big changes, your magazine might be on the chopping block. At the very […]

The Exact 3 Messages To Share With Your Alumni Readers Right Now

What does your audience actually want to read these days? What stories can you tell that will feel like a welcome shift from the daily deluge of bad news? These are questions a lot of schools are asking right now. It’s not just that we don’t want stories to feel stale when they arrive on readers’ […]

A PSA On That COVID-19 Headline You Want To Use + Should Your Mag Go Online?

Last December, before everything got terrible, I groused privately to some friends that 2020 was going to be a year of bad headlines. I was already seeing a slew of “2020 Vision” stories, and I was pretty sure I’d see a million more. Obviously, that seems like a petty concern right now.  (Hindsight is ALSO […]

Avoid A Tone-Deaf Story. Here’s One To Try.

Recently, a Capstone client shipped a story back with a note to change the piece’s introduction. Written in pre-coronavirus times, the opening paragraphs felt glib. You might be experiencing something similar as you work through your editorial lineups. This concern isn’t likely to go away in your upcoming issue or the one after that. You’re going […]

COVID-19 Coverage: They Won’t Remember Late. They Will Remember Bad.

As you plan your institution’s COVID-19 coverage, here are some of the things we’re telling schools to think about for their upcoming issues. 1. You might miss your deadline. That’s okay. This is painful for me to say, because I am an anxious deadline meet-er. But let’s just be clear about the situation we’re in: […]

More COVID-19 advice, fix the worst page of your mag, and a work-from-home tip

I’m hearing so much from everyone about the coronavirus coverage on your campus! Thank you for sharing your stories with me. 1. Feedback and questions about coronavirus magazine coverage I want to share a few responses I got to my newsletter about coronavirus coverage. (If you missed it, it’s here.) First, here’s a note from Kirstin […]

Consider this template for your magazine’s COVID-19 storytelling

To say our lives have been upended over the past couple weeks is an understatement. As I write this, my kids — who have at least the next 20 days without school — are acting roughly like this: Lots of us are trying to figure out how to think about coronavirus storytelling for our magazines, […]

Case Study: How To Do A Story Only You Can Do

When I was just starting out in alumni magazines, one of the things that was drilled into my head was the importance of doing stories that only your institution could do. But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean featuring stories that include only faculty and alumni from your institution? (Sometimes, yes.) Does it […]

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 […]