It’s All About Balance
By Bill Roebuck, Editor & Associate Publisher
Balance. It's something we deal with every day, in our work and our personal lives. Balance is critical when it comes to machinery and equipment maintenance, of course, and that's probably something y...
Balance. It’s something we deal with every day, in our work and our personal lives. Balance is critical when it comes to machinery and equipment maintenance, of course, and that’s probably something you know a lot about.
Nevertheless, you might not know how we use balance in publishing, and I thought you might like to read about it. For us, balance relates to each issue’s editorial content, from the number of industry news pages and product news pages, to the selection of feature articles, case histories and columns.
As with machinery, getting balance in an issue of a magazine can be tricky. We strive for a 50/50 ratio between editorial content and advertising pages, for example. Moreover, we also try to balance editorial content equally between what we call ‘departments’ — news and products pages, for example — and features and columns.
Although each edition includes special themes — in this issue it’s harsh environments and pumping systems, among others — we try to avoid alienating any particular group of readers by also including a variety of additional content.
That’s because we see such a diverse range of interests among our readership. Although we mail more than 18,000 copies of the magazine per issue, an independent study tells us that with a pass-along readership of 3.6, there can be as many as 64,000 who take a look at each issue. That’s a lot of people to please, and why we try to balance our coverage with a lot of difference topics.
Our main areas of focus regarding products are mechanical, electrical and fluid power, along with related how-to advice and management subjects, all aimed at helping our readers — no matter what their specific job function — to be better and more productive at their work.
We’re know we’re not always completely successful in achieving a fair balance on every topic, since we must deal with the limitations of issue size (though we pack plenty into each one; this issue would be well over 100 pages in total if printed in a more typical 8×11-in. magazine size). And if your particular field of interest isn’t covered in this issue, there’s a good chance it will be in the next.
However, if we’re not covering a topic you’d like to read about, just send us a quick note and we’ll look into it right away. Like maintenance itself, this magazine readily evolves, as it has since it was launched back in 1985.
One example of that evolution is the introduction in this issue of a new column, The Business of Maintenance, written for us by an expert in the sujbect, Len Middleton (his credentials can be found as part of his article on pg. 32). This topic resulted from feedback from readers who wanted to learn more about the dollars and sense of maintenance and needed help justifying their budgets and future plans to management. Step-by-step, over time, that’s the kind of information Len plans to impart.
Maintenance management topics like this are a nice balance to the technical articles in each issue, such as those from award-winning technical editor Lloyd (Tex) Leugner (by the way, you can read about our latest awards in the Industry News section on pg. 8).
So although balance isn’t easy to achieve, it’s something we’re always working on, just as we expect you are too.