Video Interview with Maggie Williams, editor of Reward

Reward recently scooped the prize for Print HR Publication of the Year at the Towers Watson Excellence in HR Journalism Awards. The judges commended the new publication for its strong entry into the market with evidence-based stories and clear presentation of data to support its arguments. We caught up with editor Maggie Williams at their offices in London to find out more about the award win, what makes Reward unique as a publication, their relationship with PRs, and plenty more!

Tell us a bit about Reward:

Reward's a B2B publication aimed at HR directors of mid-sized companies, with the idea that it helps them to build and execute a good quality rewards and benefits strategy.

What makes Reward different to other outlets in your sector?

A lot of the other outlets in the sector that we work in are very news-driven, and they will tend to address all HR directors of all sized companies, and perhaps of a broader remit towards reward directors as well. We're very focused on a particular audience group that we've got, and we’re very much around practical information and ‘how to’ guides.

You recently took home the prize for Print HR Publication of the Year at the 2013 Towers Watson Excellence in HR Journalism Awards…

We were delighted since Reward is less than a year old, so it was a great win at such an early stage of our publication.

What impact has it had?

It pits us up against all of the other magazines in the HR area, which is a lot. It takes in both benefits magazines and general HR magazines, so to have got that prize in that market, we were really delighted.

How do you decide what goes on the cover as well as the content?

We don't really go for an awful lot of pictures of people on the front cover, intentionally so, as it gives the feel of a journal and draws attention to some of the most important detail within it. In terms of choosing content, it is partly topical, partly what we get in terms of feedback from our readers as to what they're seeing as some of their biggest challenges at the moment. We also have the idea that not everyone's going to be looking at the same aspect of their reward strategy at the same time, so we hope it's something that they will keep on the shelf and when they're doing their particular aspect of their strategy, they can pull it down and have a look in more detail.

Do you produce a features list?

Yes, we do. We tend to do it on an issue by issue basis rather than across the year, as we tend to find that content changes quite regularly. 

Does Reward work closely with PRs? What information do you find most useful from them?

Yes, we do work with PR companies, as well as directly with companies and HR directors themselves. In terms of the sorts of information that are most useful to us, we do a lot of work around bringing data together to show trends in data. We also really like case studies and anything that's about practical advice on building reward strategies.

Of all the press releases you receive on a daily basis, what percentage of them make it to publication?

That's an interesting one, because we don't do a lot of daily news on the magazine, so if you took a twenty-four hour period and looked at the number of press releases we got and the number that appeared on the website, it would be fairly small. But if you look over time – because we tend to look into analysis and trends as well as what's going on in business – then probably quite a reasonable percentage of them get used, but not all necessarily on the day that we receive them.

Does the Reward team work with freelance journalists?

We have a good bank of freelance journalists that we know who are very good quality in this area, but we're always happy to hear from new names if they'd like to get in touch with us. Generally, we build our own features list in-house so we're looking for people who are happy to write a feature that we've driven rather than necessarily looking for new ideas.

Describe a typical day at work…

Depends on what sort of day it is really… Close to deadline, like any other editor, I spend quite a lot of time in the office, subbing and preparing pages and making sure they're ready to go, but in between those deadlines I get out of the office a lot more; go and talk to our readers; go and talk to the people who are producing the solutions that they want to know about, and generally just understanding the market and making sure we're doing the best job that we can for our readers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety! We're not just about print, we're also about doing videos ourselves. For the online side, we do a lot of very large events – we've got one coming up next week. So, there's a lot of variety involved. There's also the opportunity to really dig into depth in some of the technical areas that we go into. It's a great mix overall.

Do you tweet? If so, why?

I do tweet. It's a good form of publicity for us, particularly as a new magazine and a new brand. We want to make sure that we're as well known as we can be, and twitter is another great channel for doing that. So, it forms part of a broader plan of how we promote our content.

If you could time travel, what time would you go to?

Well, I'm a really big music fan, so what I'd like to use my time travel for is to go back through history and see a lot of great bands when they were really at their prime, and know how people understood them at the time…. and then steal all their best tunes!

Maggie Williams can be found tweeting @pensionsmaggie.

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