That Was the Year That Was: Nikki Simpson, business manager, PPA Scotland

GOOD year, bad year? With 2014 drawing to a close, we ask Nikki Simpson, business manager at PPA Scotland: ‘How has it been for you?’

Briefly, what is it that you do?

I support the Scottish magazine industry and its affiliates through events, training, lobbying, promotion and helping with any magazine-related query or subject you can possibly think of.

Choose three words that sum up 2014 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Creative. Collaborative. Progressive.

In 2013, what was your biggest ambition for 2014, and to what extent did you achieve it?

I wanted our 2014 magazine festival and conference, Magfest, to grow into an absolutely unmissable event. It was a massive success, selling out to 200 of Scotland’s publishers, designers, advertisers, illustrators and editors. Our keynote speaker was Wyatt Mitchell, the first-ever creative director of The New Yorker – not sure how I’m going to beat that!

How has 2014 (so far) been for you, personally?

As the sole full-time employee of PPA Scotland, my personal and professional life are becoming one in the same – I wouldn’t want to separate myself from an industry I care so much about, but it does mean I’ve spent a lot of time scribbling to-do lists at four in the morning, although I believe that’s normal these days.

We moved house in January to a place outside of town, which has meant a proper office for the many magazines I’m lucky enough to receive. I’m hoping to get an office dog at some point in 2015.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc. that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

The Scottish Government’s procurement framework has been disappointing for our content marketing companies – it could have had a huge impact on their businesses had they decided to use multiple suppliers.

The instigation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation has been a challenging but very positive move for the industry.

We’ve seen a lot of publishers make great use of social media to re-invigorate their titles, as well as plenty of crowd-sourced content and crowd-funded launches.

And there’s a general feeling of optimism as publishers diversify and grow with the changes.

What are you looking forward to in 2015 – personally and professionally?

Personally – please see above comment re office dog.

Professionally – a bigger, better Magfest. Discovering new ways to build a stronger, more collaborative community of passionate people from all walks of magazine life – not just in Scotland, but internationally.