Putman Media's Hallstrom Engages Audience With IWIM and Podcast

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“[Taking that leadership role] really was the most important moment in my career because I was able to prove to other people, to myself and to other women that you don’t have to know everything or have grown up in a certain function to take a new job. If you surround yourself with experts and establish yourself as credible professional, you can move forward and lead.”
 
That quote comes from Joyl Silva of Pfizer—she is a 2020 honoree in Putman Media’s wonderful Influential Women in Manufacturing (IWIM) program, now in its third year of honorees—in a  on the IWIM site.
 
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IWIM is run by Erin Hallstrom, digital and content strategy director for Putman Media. She will be speaking about this successful program and all of the other roles she takes on at Putman—including their Food for Thought podcast that she created and did the whole set up for—at our Editorial Council Meeting, Thursday, Oct. 15, at 2 pm Eastern. Register .
 
“I went to Best Buy and ordered a mic, talked to people to set it up. I do the editing, post-production, transcripts, interviews,” she told me. “You name it. I’m the one who likes to dive in and get involved.”
 
IWIM succeeds in so many ways. I went to check the  today and found that new blog post. They’ve been featuring a different honoree each week—sometimes two—all in excellently written posts. Hallstrom writes most of them but did get some help with Silva’s from colleague Meagan Parrish. It’s a great idea—20 companies get to celebrate the accomplishments of one of their own.
 
“I feel small when I look at all [these women have] been doing and all they do for their companies,” Hallstrom said. “You can see how excited their companies are. I just get excited that someone enjoys it.”
 
Hallstrom runs the judging, which had slightly under 100 nominations this year. As someone who coordinates the SIPAwards judging, I can say that is no small feat. They’ve received a formal proclamation from the governor of Illinois, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) wrote a commendation. “All of this… we just wanted to honor women making a name for themselves,” she said.
 
In fact, IWIM won a SIPAward for Best Product Launch/Relaunch Success in 2019. When we talk about member/subscriber engagement, what can be better than recognizing—and energizing—an entire faction of your audience that has mostly gone unnoticed? If a publisher or media company can engage women like Silva, then good outcomes will take place.
 
“I’m writing the e-book compilation now,” Hallstrom said. “We’re giving [the honorees] a treatment that we haven’t done in the past... We had a sponsor the first year. Last year a lot of companies were interested. We’re not sure. All the parts didn’t quite come together.”
 
As for the twice-a-month Food for Thought podcast, Hallstrom said that all the Putman brands were encouraged to start their own. (Because she still had a couple hours to fill in her day, she even started a personal podcast as well.) 
 
The podcast “gave all of us who worked on it a taste,” she said, pun perhaps intended. “It’s a different avenue for people to hear us. The food processing vertical is where I’m most involved. Everything this year has imploded and exploded [in that vertical]; there’s so much to talk about. We launched in early summer; the original intent was for the senior editor and I to hop on a call once a month to chitchat [but then] people have become more and more interested in it. We publish a story, then this is the story behind the story. It’s still building audience.”
 
There’s no stopping her now. “We’re going to produce a lot more podcasts because we’re going to be stuck inside again this winter.” Hallstrom checks the clicks that the podcast gets so she knows what resonates. She said that “adding the transcripts became a huge thing.” (I’ve been preaching that for a long time.)
 
“We’re definitely using all the different routes” to engage their audience,” she said. “People can hear about or learn about us through so many avenues now. SEO is my strong suit. I usually try to optimize [everything]. This has been a lot of fun.”
 
What hasn’t been as much fun is not seeing all her colleagues in person occasionally. “The people I’ve been close to, we haven’t seen each other. ‘I miss you guys.’ We still have conversations, of course…”
 
She didn’t have to finish that sentiment. Register for the  and ask Hallstrom how she does all of this. Personally, I can’t wait. Maybe she’ll even tell us the name of her personal blog then.


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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director鈥