Gardner Award Winner for New Media – Publishing, Blogs
LM Contributors + Staff, North Coast Media
by Jill Odom
We asked Marissa Palmieri, editor, Landscape Management, the following questions about the LM Blog:
Please briefly describe your winning project.
The LM Blog features a rotating set of weekly contributors. It’s designed to share information readers seek in a less formal way than typical news and feature stories. In 2017, LM's handpicked bloggers covered the following topics:
- Government Affairs - Up-to-date government and regulatory information from consultant and former state association executive Gregg Robertson.
- High Performance - Posts on strategy, leadership and other points of interest from former contractor and consultant Phil Harwood.
- Profit Power - Consultant, peer group facilitator and former contractor Jeffrey Scott shares sales, marketing and management information.
- Leading - Bill Dellecker, a longtime landscape company leader, shares leadership lessons he's learned along the way.
In addition to being featured on the LM website and in the weekly LM Direct e-newsletter, blog posts are posted on social media where readers often comment on and share them.
In 2017, several posts garnered notable interest, including a Government Affairs blog post about the labor shortage, which received several comments and a letter to the editor that we ran in our print publication.
What were your main objectives in developing this project?
The LM Blog goes back before my time as editor (2012). It used to be published as a standalone Blogspot blog, but we moved it into our WordPress framework when we got a new website in 2013. The “old” LM Blog covered news of the weird and feel-good stories about landscape contractors. It has evolved over the past five years as just another way to deliver the information our readers seek—albeit in a more conversational format than a news item.
What influenced your approach?
Several factors have influenced our approach: reader feedback about the type of content they’re looking for, web metrics showing us what does well and our contributors’ opinions about what’s important, based on what they’re hearing in the market.
Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.
I’m fairly convinced the judges were impressed with not only our content’s quality but its consistency. Many B2B publishing sites have blogs, but they are not always updated regularly. The LM staff committed to posting at least weekly on the LM Blog several years ago, and we lined up our contributors, just like we would do for a print column or department. The result is a well-executed section of our website that readers appreciate.