Future Directions Handbook
Publications in an initiative can be used as a vehicle to draw more interest in your program. Various publications can be developed, including technical newsletters, articles, Q&A’s, and podcasts for use in drawing membership to the initiative’s Technical Community.
eNewsletters are online publications typically consisting of four high-quality original articles that positions the initiative and IEEE as a thought leader in the technology space that inspire active discussion among the IEEE community and invite new volunteers to participate in the initiative.
The following is an overview of the Newsletter and underlying processes from the 5G initiative: Newsletter Overview Slide Deck
- Editorial Board
An Editorial Board must be created to assist in drafting the Newsletters. Appointing an Editor-in-Chief (EiC) with good connections is ideal. The EiC identifies the strategic direction of the newsletter and provides final approval on articles for each issue. The Editorial Board also requires a managing editor (ME). The ME is responsible for maintaining and tracking upcoming article contributions, assigning and guiding editors through the editorial process, ensuring articles are in compliance with editorial guidelines, ensuring each edition is complete and ready for publication, and facilitating the Editorial Board meetings to ensure the review process is completed on time. A program should be established by the current EiCs/MEs to assist in bringing in new EiCs/MEs. Create a deep editorial board; there are always times throughout the year that members’ participation drops due to work commitments, vacations, so the editorial board should have as many active members as possible.
The content of the articles included in the Newsletter should be original, timely, and offer forward-looking commentary on the particular technology. The content should be practical, not too technical; less technical than an Xplore paper. The articles should also fulfill the following guidelines from previous newsletters: 800-1200 words, abstract, citation of sources, keywords, photo of author(s), bio of author(s). 1-2 graphics are also recommended, though they are not necessary. All content will be peer reviewed by the Editorial Board. Ensure that the articles are not advertising vehicles; they should focus purely on content. The content itself should highlight industry issues; industry wants discussion and solutions to technical problems. Articles are more successful when content-driven in this way. Include articles that start at the introductory level, but that can later be developed into a full journal article.
- Editorial Calendar
Develop an editorial calendar considering the following:
- Determine the frequency of Newsletters; do not be too ambitious on the number of issues per year, especially in the beginning. It is critical to allow time for the pipeline of articles to develop.
- Consider having themed issues, such as a particular topic, event, region, society, vertical per issue.
- Determine the appropriate mix of content (all original or some reprint).
- Ideally, have each member of the board write one article per year and solicit one article per year.
- Solicitation of Articles
The Editorial Board should maintain ongoing outreach to personal contacts to solicit articles for the Newsletters. Use other channels as appropriate to call for articles as well – promote regularly on the portal, community letters, social media, etc. Create a dedicated flyer to be circulated at conferences/events. Engage volunteers who are already contributing in other areas, such as hosting webinars, participating in Q&As, giving talks, etc.
- Review Process
When creating the Newsletter, utilize a shared google drive to store articles, bios, headshots, etc.; this should be accessible by all editorial board members and organized by the ME. When tracking articles include the following information for each article as it moves through pipeline:
- Source: e.g. invited/written by editorial board member, general submission (used to track necessity of further outreach for authors/articles)
- Status: in review with editor, being updated by author, final, etc.
The Newsletters reside on the initiative web portal. Have the webmaster assemble a draft of the Newsletter and provide a preview to Editorial Board (typically one week before distribution). The webmaster also manages the e-mail marketing tool (Constant Contact, MailChimp). Each issue will be distributed via email to the initiative Technical Community. Use social media and initiative banners/announcements to promote the newsletter as well. Try to engage Collabratec users in a discussion on the newsletter articles.
The following shows an example of a promotional flyer for the 5G initiative: 5G.
eNewsletters are a major source of traffic to the initiative web portals. Once the Newsletter has been released measure its performance. The following metrics should be reported by the webmaster one month after an issue is released:
- Email opens
- Open rate
- Article pageviews on portal.
Once you have established an ongoing Newsletter, you can use best of the best articles to publish a compendium. To organize the articles, divide the initiative into domains or topics and select the best article in that domain based on web portal and Google Analytics. This can be used as a promotional tool to engage current and future technical community members. Ads can be placed in the compendium to generate revenue.
An example of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter Compendium can be found here.
Technical Community Update Letter
The purpose of these emailed letters is to provide updates and the latest information, opportunities, and calls to action to the subscribers of the Technical Communities. It is typically released on a monthly basis and should contain news items regarding activities within the initiative. Use the following guidelines to assist in drafting the update letter:
- Types of information: current activities, call for papers, upcoming events. 4-5 bullet points with links to relevant information.
- Prioritize the initiative’s content.
- Meant to act as a gateway to the portals and encourage people to click the links to learn more.
- Must adhere to the IEEE communications and style guidelines. All letters are reviewed by BDRS before sent.
One option to increase readership is to have a volunteer (either a different one per month or the same on each month) choose 3 articles in xPlore on a particular topic which will be offered to the reader complimentary for 30 days. The volunteer can choose to write an introduction to these three articles.
In addition to the Technical Community Update Letter that is sent to the entire initiative technical community, a New Member Welcome letter should be sent once a month to new members of the Technical Community. Generally, this contains a welcome introduction by the Chair of the initiative, and the activities from the previous Technical Community Update Letter.
Flexibility in the eNewsletters and Technical Community Update Letter
The implementation of the Technical Community Update Letter and the eNewsletter can be flexible for each initiative. Some initiatives send out both an eNewsletter with technical articles and a ‘newsy’ Technical Community Update Letter, while others merge the TC Update Letter with the eNewsletter to offer both technical content and updates to news events in the same email.
Formal Publications (Journals, Transactions, Magazines, Letters)
Creating a journal or magazine is a complex, lengthy, and unpredictable business process. As such, it may be best to review existing titles that can be supported rather than creating an entirely new publication. Alternatively, an initiative can sponsor Special Issues in existing publications.
IEEE Talks Initiatives
Q&A articles with subject matter experts are published on the respective initiative’s web portal. This is a great source of original content. Consider having multiple volunteers partake in one interview. Try to tie in the initiative’s activities, such as a webinar or link to a newsletter article, where people can learn more. The should be socialized using the Technical Community Letters, social media, banners, initiative mailing lists.
Short audio interviews by volunteers discussing tech trends, experiences, or answering a question. Very open ended. Promoted on portal, iTunes, and Google Play.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Serving on an IEEE Editorial Board
As an Editorial Board member for an IEEE newsletter, news bulletin or blog, etc., volunteers are required to help identify authors and invite article submissions, as well as review articles and provide edits and direction to the authors. IEEE volunteers’ expertise and industry insight will help ensure the quality and integrity of the publication, and Editorial Board members will be at the cutting edge of new developments in a given industry. You can choose a leadership role by becoming Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor, or serve as an active Editorial Board member.
- Authoring an article and/or recruiting authors for an IEEE Initiative Newsletter
Volunteers add value to an IEEE Initiative by writing and submitting articles themselves, or communicating the opportunity to author articles to their peers and encourage their support. The commitments to contribute an article for an IEEE online newsletter or news bulletin are relatively easy to meet and the author receives widespread recognition through the online publication itself as well as through the promotional activities surrounding each issue. Depending on the outlet, articles are around 800-1,200 words long and editing support is provided. New information and new perspectives are encouraged on all areas of the technology/industry topic including economic drivers and the societal impacts, practical implementation, security, privacy, policy and international advances.