Gareth Roberts joined the M&IT team in September 2016 as editor of the magazine and meetpie website, bringing more than 20 years of international journalism experience to the role. Now, six months into the job, we caught up with Gareth to find out how things are changing at M&IT and how mia members can get involved.
Since taking over as editor at M&IT, what changes have you been involved with?
There are going to be significant changes in 2017, especially with regards to our online presence and our social media platforms. M&IT magazine celebrates its 30th anniversary in March, it’s a big milestone and the magazine has had an incredible journey and sits in quite a privileged position in the market. It’s my responsibility to make sure that the magazine never loses momentum and constantly maintains its relevance.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2017 that you can share with us?
We’re celebrating the magazine’s 30th anniversary throughout the year – follow the links on Meetpie.com and join the fun. We’re also giving away lots of prizes so keep on clicking.
What type of content are readers of M&IT most interested in seeing?
Trending issues shift from week to week, but the core issues remain the same: new venues, event technology, destinations, people profiles, surveys and special reports. Reader feedback is hugely important to us so we’re always open to hearing what people think of our content. The internet (and smartphones especially) has changed the way people read and access content; there is far more engagement than there used to be, people react quickly and share stories through their own social media challenges. Our job is to keep the conversation going.
Are you looking for different types of content for meetpie.com than for the print magazine?
Yes, the print edition of the magazine is bi-monthly, (we run 6 editions a year) so it’s not the place for breaking news, our features are planned months in advance but we’ll keep the front section open right up until deadline. Meetpie.com runs daily news updates throughout the day. We’re interested in anything that’s relevant to the industry, especially stories whose impact will be felt across multiple sectors such as the Trump travel ban. Our readers like surveys that highlight changes in the industry and also people stories, who’s doing what and why. The UK MICE industry is incredibly vibrant and we like to illustrate this as much as we can so send us photos! We’re more likely to run a story that’s accompanied by great photography, and by great photography I do not mean a headshot of your CEO.
What’s the best way to catch the attention of the editorial team at M&IT? What makes a great story?
We’re always on the lookout for great stories and disruptive ideas. You can call or email us anytime. We attend lots of events so feel free to introduce yourself it’s always great to meet people and put a face to the person at the end of the phone. What makes a great story? Well you do, your company, your event, if you think it’s worth shouting about then give us a call. We’re also interested in your ideas and opinions, if you don’t like the way things are going, get in touch, let’s do something about it.
Are you happy for venues to pitch story and feature ideas and if so what is your preferred way for venues to make contact? (email/phone).
Definitely. But make sure you’ve read the magazine, think about what you want to talk about, is it really relevant? Where do you see your story sitting in the magazine, is this a news story or is it a feature? We get a lot of calls from PR agencies offering us ‘exclusive’ interviews with CEOs and Sales Directors but we need a hook to hang the story on. There are quite a few outspoken people out there with barely contained egos – this is great, it’s what makes the industry so much fun – but we still need a hook to hang the story on. Imagine how it’s going to look in print or online where it’ll attract instant feedback.
If you could offer one piece of advice to a venue wanting to appear in M&IT or on meetpie.com, what would it be?
We’re basically a conduit to our readers, our readers represent the industry, buyers, suppliers, agencies, PR firms and of course venues themselves. It great that you’ve won an award but it doesn’t necessarily make great news, that’s for your in-house newsletter. Choose your moment, what’s happened recently that’s worth talking about? If your venue has expanded and you’re winning new business then sure, let’s talk about it, or point us in the direction of satisfied customers who’ll do it for you. And don’t forget to send us photos.