Congratulations to Architects’ Journal who are the winners of Digital Editorial Team of the Year: B2B
Your Elevator Pitch
In 2018 the Architects’ Journal (AJ) pursued a simple digital strategy: to engage subscribers. Our editorial team of 12 – who also produce a hefty 34 print issues a year – has become adept at interpreting data and translating those insights into must-read articles. And we were amazed by the results this strategy has delivered. Purely by focusing on content, we have succeeded in bringing more subscribers to our website, more often. One practice director recently complained that our website can be a bit slow during lunchtime, because all his staff are reading our stories – what a nice problem to have.
Set The Scene
As designers, architects are at the start of the construction food chain, and so are especially vulnerable to economic uncertainty. Couple that with the prospect of Brexit and a third of architectural staff coming from the EU, plus a profession reeling from the repercussions of the Grenfell tower disaster, and you have a profession on the edge.
Delivering growth in engagement and subscriptions revenue in such a challenging market – including navigating the threats posed by free competitors, having no budget for commissioning online content and our parent company EMAP changing ownership – is testament to the hard work of our journalists.
Tell us the story
We have been able to use our reach to conduct extensive surveys on hot topics such as the Race Diversity Survey (our first ever), Women in Architecture and Student Survey. These exclusive surveys have ensured that our brand has a vital role as a campaigning voice in the profession. The AJ’s strong social community, with 270,000 Twitter followers, is proof that this is a B2B brand with strong influence.
The AJ has a reputation for fearless investigative journalism. One long-running campaign has been led by Managing Editor Will Hurst, who uncovered the murky procurement process of the doomed Garden Bridge project. Will is working with leading MPs to hold those responsible for the loss of £50m of public money to account. In June, News Editor Richard Waite exclusively broke the story that the architectural witness appointed to the Grenfell inquiry was not in fact an architect. This resulted in the inquiry terminating his role. More than 8,000 people read Richard’s story and it was picked up by both The Times and The Guardian.
Deputy Production Editor Simon Aldous goes above and beyond his core duties to pen our unique weekend round-up which offers an insightful, pithy and irreverent counterpoint to hard news and buildings coverage. Simon works closely with Head of Engagement Mary Douglas to identify which stories have performed well that week and incorporate reader reaction. Mary is responsible for leading the team on all digital matters, and for instilling a digitally-focused mindset in a historically print-focused editorial team.
2018 was our best-ever year digitally: there was growth across the board, but particularly among subscribers (+23% users YoY). Subscriber page views were up by 28% YoY and sessions by 27% YoY. We hit some new numbers in 2018, surpassing 9m page views and 2m users for the first time. This growth exceeded all expectations and continues apace in 2019.
The AJ provides a vibrant community hub for an architectural profession under pressure. That continued digital success has translated into subscription revenue growth: engaged subscribers renew. With an increase of 9.8% individual subscription orders in 2018 vs 2017, and corporate subs revenue up 10.3% YoY, the total AJ file size increased by 2% YoY. ‘The AJ keeps me very connected to the profession,’ says AHMM, one of the UK’s biggest practices. Subscribers are up, revenue is up, output is up – the AJ editorial team is packing a serious digital punch.
The Digital Editorial Team of the Year: B2B is sponsored by UKOM.