Balancing the cuteness of puppies with hard-hitting advocacy to shine a lightweight on animal struggling and encourage folks to drive significant change takes actual content material experience.

Emily Hamlin Smith, senior editorial director of the Humane Society of america, and her group have performed that with their quarterly print journal All Animals and different digital content material. This 12 months’s editorial protection of the society’s rescue of practically 4,000 beagles from a breeding facility earned a finalist nod for Greatest Use of Images within the 2023 Content material Advertising and marketing Awards.

And All Animals received Greatest Nonprofit Publication this 12 months and in 2022, 2021, and 2020. All that award-winning work earned Emily a nod as a 2023 B2C Content Marketer of the Year finalist.

CMI spoke with Emily to study her content material technique, the beautiful use of visuals within the journal, and the necessary position print nonetheless performs in an more and more digital world.

It begins with a unified group

Along with the five hundred,000-circulation journal, The Humane Society powers content material on, a hub for animal welfare teams, pet professionals comparable to shelter employees and veterinarians, wildlife rehabbers, and so on. The editorial group additionally has arms on the society’s exterior communications, email campaigns, social media, and extra.

Emily oversees 5 senior editors who’ve a specialty space. For instance, one primarily handles All Animals content material, whereas one other oversees Her group additionally contains two devoted writers.

“All of us collaborate throughout issues,” she explains. “The objective of that’s to maintain everyone engaged in all the work, and it additionally helps us have a consistent tone throughout all of our communications as a result of we’re all on the identical web page.”

Telling the animals’ story

The society sends All Animals journal to donors who give a one-time present of not less than $25 or month-to-month recurring donations of not less than $10. The objective is to indicate donors how the society places their contributions to work by the lens of particular person animals.

“I believe that each animal has a narrative, identical to each individual does. They’ll’t inform it in their very own phrases, in order that they want us to do this for them,” Emily says. “You are able to do it in a number of methods, both by phrases or visuals, and I believe that if you put the 2 collectively, it may be extremely highly effective.”

Combining words and visuals lets the @HumaneSociety tell incredibly powerful stories on behalf of animals, says @Emilyrhsmith via @DawnPapandrea @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Telling the animals’ tales can create an emotional response that triggers the viewer’s response to the call to action – to immediate readers to maintain donating.

Turning footage into greater than a thousand phrases

The story of the beagle puppy rescue, which concerned over 120 shelters and rescues in 29 states, lived on all the Humane Society’s digital channels and the CEO’s weblog. It additionally had immense media pickup, together with protection from The New York Instances to The Washington Submit.

When the print journal went into manufacturing, Emily and the group confronted a problem – giving one thing new to the readers who additionally adopted them on their digital channels. They achieved that by visually telling the story of all the rescue with many beforehand unpublished photos.

“A part of that function was a two-page unfold picture of the canines being loaded into an air transport. We may actually give that huge image perspective of what it took to deliver this historic transportation challenge collectively,” Emily says.

In addition they shared the story of 1 animal within the rescue. “Fin was the final canine who got here out of the power in Virginia. We had been capable of observe up with him in his new dwelling and sort of shut the loop for the supporters who had been following us on digital channels,” Emily says.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of america, with Fin after he was faraway from the breeding facility. Photograph credit score: Meredith Lee/The HSUS

The rescue story additionally concerned greater than the work of the society. “It was our shelter and rescue companions; it was volunteers. We needed to provide a complete have a look at what they made potential, and our objective with that’s to make the supporters really feel like they had been part of it, too. As a result of we’re not in a position to do this work with out their assist,” she says.

The problem’s visible storytelling method made an impression on readers who donated greater than $57,000  by way of the journal’s enterprise reply envelope alone. “They tell us that the story opened their eyes to the truth of testing on canines, one thing that many individuals aren’t conscious occurs in america,” Emily says. “It was a primary instance of what can occur if you collaborate as a complete group, and everyone brings their concepts ahead.”

The @HumaneSociety received over $57,000 in donations from the envelopes in one issue of its #print magazine All Animals, says @Emilyrhsmith via @DawnPapandrea @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Making the case for print in a digital world

The shuttering of so many print magazines annually naturally weighs on the thoughts of a print journal editor. However Emily says All Animals nonetheless proves its worth. Management buys into the content material tactic as a result of they hear from donors who say the journal resonates with them.

One donor made a $1 million bequest due to what she noticed within the journal about how the society used the contributions. “She knew that she was placing her funding and her legacy in good arms. We had been all smiling ear to ear for weeks after we heard that as a result of that’s what we need to do,” Emily says.

Nonetheless, Emily doesn’t take their success without any consideration. Her group ensures that each journal problem counts by prioritizing the society’s key campaigns. In addition they do readership surveys commonly to gauge donors’ responses to their work. Among the many findings: Greater than half say they’ve modified one in all their consuming habits due to what they’ve learn. Many say they now take the time to search for cruelty-free cosmetics. And 80% say they share one thing they learn with a good friend or member of the family.

“After we can illustrate that to the decision-makers on the group, it actually exhibits our worth and the way the contact factors that we now have by the journal prolong far past that envelope that’s inside. That individuals actually join with it,” Emily explains.

Digital content material continues to be essential to preserve totally different viewers demographics engaged. The society will launch a digital model of All Animals this fall. Emily says, “As we see how that performs, then we’re going to start out taking a look at how folks work together with it. Can we add some more interactive features that make it just a little bit extra thrilling and engaging than simply flipping by a PDF?”

Mixing advocacy, journalism, and repair

Emily doesn’t imagine in counting on shock worth or anger to encourage folks to behave. “We need to be displaying the truth of the state of affairs, but additionally displaying the donors how there’s hope and the way we’re serving to and the way they’re serving to. A few of these photos are actually powerful – canines in cages on farms or in a market – however we need to make certain that we’re balancing that for readers with how these canines are getting a second likelihood at life,” she says.

That’s why every problem incorporates light-hearted, feel-good, and victory tales just like the beagle rescue, together with the more difficult reviews on subjects like animal testing in cosmetics or the canine meat commerce.

The again of the journal provides readers service content material, too. They’ve printed options on the best way to make adjustments in your yard to assist defend city wildlife, ideas for caring for a pet, and recommendation on serving to out of doors animals comparable to group cats.

“I need to give them a approach to assist, whether or not that’s writing a letter to their lawmaker or sending in a donation. I need to make it possible for we’re inspiring folks, educating folks, after which giving them an motion step,” Emily says.

That matches her private content material philosophy: “Inform a narrative, interact, educate, after which give one thing to do to make them part of the answer.”

Attaining on a regular basis content material victories

Although the Humane Society editorial group has earned some wonderful content material wins this 12 months, they’re extra motivated by the smaller wins, like one-off emails from readers or feedback on a narrative. Emily says, “That doesn’t translate on to {dollars} at that second, however to me, offering that consciousness, the inspiration, and the schooling is step one to bringing them into the group’s work. That tells me that we’re doing our job.”

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute


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