It was October 2015 in the lounge of a Las Vegas casino when the conversation first started. At least that’s how I remember it.
A number of us from Human Capital Media’s publications were in Sin City for the annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition. It was a Sunday morning, and my boss, HCM Editor-in-Chief Mike Prokopeak, and I were killing time watching the Chicago Bears on a nearby TV. The conference would begin later that afternoon, and our rooms weren’t ready yet. The Bears were awful, so we turned the conversation to back to work, which felt like a weird thing to talk about on a smoky casino floor at 10 a.m. on a Sunday.
At the time, the two HCM publications we were there to represent at HR Tech were Workforce and Talent Management. For the better part of the previous two years, I worked as the managing editor for Talent Management, a publication that aimed to cover the human resources industry from more of a forward-looking, strategic point of view. And for its near-decade of existence, Talent Management was quite successful in fulfilling that mission. We had tens of thousands of print subscribers and many times more in monthly web visitors online. Readers I would commonly run into at conferences like HR Tech, whose parent company publishes a Talent Management competitor, HR Executive, would often compliment me on how much they enjoyed the magazine.
Still, as the conversation went on, it was clear that Talent Management was on its last legs. The talent industry, Mike and I agreed, was changing. Businesses were placing more emphasis on talent. Yet most publications in the industry were still writing about it primarily for an HR audience. We felt like there was an untapped opportunity. It was time to do something different.
What that something would be wasn’t at all clear back then, but in the weeks after we left Las Vegas our plan slowly came into view. We were going to completely re-brand Talent Management, with the idea that the topic of talent deserved more of a business-first focus and the audience focus would be mostly business people, not just HR professionals. We were going to change its name, cease publishing in print monthly and push forward with a new, all-digital enterprise. We decided to call it Talent Economy. We started our rebranding effort in January; the official launch date would be around Labor Day 2016.
This week marked the first major milestone in Talent Economy’s brief history. Sept. 5, 2017, was our one-year anniversary. I don’t want to spend too much time celebrating ourselves, because that’s not what this is all about. It’s about you, the reader, first and foremost.
For those of you who have ever worked for a startup, I have a newfound respect for you. Of course, rebranding a magazine and starting an entire company from scratch aren’t the same, but there are elements that share some commonality. We started our planning process for Talent Economy in January 2016, and now that we’re in September 2017 I still feel like we just got ourselves off the ground. In that time we launched a new website, designed and printed a year’s worth of our quarterly journal, produced a podcast, created a video series, and, just this week, launched our first in-person event, Talent10x, which by all objective measures was a success. Hopefully there will be many more to come.
Since launching last year we’ve more than quadrupled our web traffic, established our new brand and created a different type of conversation around talent. We’ve helped change how business leaders and career HR professionals think about talent and the role it plays in business.
To be sure, we have a long way to go. This first year marked a milestone for Talent Economy, but the next will continue to bring great challenge and opportunity.
The first big change, coming this October, will be a complete digitization of the quarterly journal, with an entirely native web and mobile experience. As a journalist, I will always have a love of print, but our new digitally enhanced journal will allow us to maximize our ability to serve more readers all while continuing to complement our efforts on TalentEconomy.io. We will also move to create even more video and audio content, with redesigned web channels to make distribution of that content more consumable for readers where and when they want it.
I want to thank all the people at HCM that helped make Talent Economy happen. Our Associate Editor Lauren Dixon has been the backbone of our content team with her weekly stories and contributions to the quarterly journal. Our copy editor, Chris Magnus, has ensured that every piece of content we put out is clean and serves our readers. Our former art director, Anna Jo Beck, was instrumental in shaping the design and vision of the quarterly journal and the entire Talent Economy brand, while our current art director, Theresa Stoodley, continues advancing that design and vision.
Meanwhile, our digital and production team, led by Lauren Lynch, designed and built our fantastic website, as well as helped us create and build our email newsletter subscriber base, which continues to grow each day. Finally, none of this would have been possible without Mike, our editor in chief, Kevin Simpson, HCM’s chief financial officer, and John Taggart, our company’s president and co-founder.
And, of course, thank you, our readers, for supporting us in our first year. Here’s to many more to come.
Frank Kalman is Talent Economy’s managing editor. To comment, email email@example.com.
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