Federation of Small Businesses
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The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK’s leading business pressure group representing some 195,000 members who run small and medium-sized enterprises. A 36-page members’ magazine, First Voice, is published six times a year focusing on key business and political issues facing SMEs, profiling members and sharing achievement and success.
In 2012 CW was approached to suggest ways to refresh and improve the layout & design, as well as content, to ensure that the printed magazine remained the effective mouthpiece for the FSB that it had always been – especially in the light of more online communication channels vying for a greater share of voice.
First we asked members for their thoughts and opinions…ranging from a focus group with national councillors to informal conversations with branch members at local networking events. Taking on board their comments and our own experience and insight into what makes engaging content, we set about making the magazine more relevant to individual members.
Owners of small firms want to know there is someone on their side fighting their corner; they want tips and advice on how to save money and grow their businesses; and they want to hear from other entrepreneurs so they can learn from their mistakes and successes.
Demand on space is phenomenal, so we apply a strict WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) test on all potential stories to ensure every article, however small, genuinely adds value to the reader…and wherever possible photos feature real members. The front cover image is always a member or business-related personality designed to attract interest.
With several issues, and an award from the Institute of Internal Communication, under our belt, the FSB’s head of publications Nigel Duncan says: “The quality of both editorial and design has noticeably improved and feedback from members continues to be positive.”
A recent online members’ survey which included questions on First Voice, revealed that nearly
90% said they read it and 66% were satisfied, be that slightly, moderately or extremely, with the content; and less than 10% slightly to extremely dissatisfied.
There is a clear mandate for the printed magazine to continue, but we are also taking advantage of online channels and social media to fully integrate member communication throughout the FSB.