My Media Day: Denise Connelly, director, DC Publishing

DENISE Connelly is the director of Glasgow-based magazine publishers, DC Publishing, which produces four, free ‘lifestyle’ titles: parenting title, Family Life; student magazine, Source; teaching title, Teachers’ Re:SOURCE; and UK-wide disability magazine, Enable.

She submitted this on Wednesday, September 26.

What exactly is it you do?

That’s a tricky question. As the director of a small publishing company, I’m involved in every aspect of producing our publications. In basic terms, I oversee my staff and ensure that our magazines are running on time, to target in terms of advertising revenue and that they’re the best they can possibly be.

I work closely with our advertising sales director, Rachel Smith, oversee editorial and deal with all of the ‘behind the scenes’ activity too, such as organising the distribution of the magazines.

What did your working day yesterday comprise of?

Yesterday was ‘back to work’ after the September weekend so there was a lot of catching up to do. I started the day with a meeting with our advertising sales team to see where we were, what sales were going to be coming in and to discuss different angles they can take with their sales pitch.

As we produce free magazines, advertising is hugely important, which is why I’m constantly working with Rachel to make sure our team is the best.

Once that was done, and the team were geared up with some nice incentives in place, I had a sit down with our assistant editor, Lindsay Cochrane, to see where we are with editorial – what’s been written, what hasn’t, what needs set up, all that kind of thing.

Together, we made a wish list of celebrity interviewees for Source and talked about some of the features we’re working on in Enable and some future ideas.

We also had a quick look over the websites. We’ve recently relaunched Source and Enable online, and we’re looking at ways in which we can utilise them, both as a sales tool and to keep our readers up to date with the latest news.

We also had a recent graduate in on work experience yesterday, so myself and Lindsay spent some time with her, talking her through how the business works and setting her up with some tasks for the day. We regularly work with young people wanting to get started in magazines – our small team provides the perfect environment to learn about every step of the publishing process, and we always have odd jobs that need done and articles to be written.

I then headed back to catch up on my emails and check out the news. I always like know what’s going on with each of our target markets, and the industry generally, so I know we’re on track with our content. While doing this, I made sure I kept an ear open to see what the sales team are up to and to hear of any sales coming in.

In the afternoon, I had a catch-up with our designer to discuss where we are with the next run of magazines, as we’re in the middle of the production run for each at the moment. I had a few changes I wanted made to some already-designed pages and a couple of pretty exciting ideas I wanted to run over with her.

I took some time out to catch up with some contacts in PR to discuss future collaborations, and to talk about some ideas I’d had for each of the titles. We’re going to be busy over the next few months.

I then got sent through some designed pages, so I took some time to do a first proof before passing them on to Lindsay – I read every single thing that goes into the magazines, nothing gets in there without my approval.

Before the end of the day, I caught up with our accounts department. Then I had to run to pick up my daughter from her after-school film club.

How different or similar was it to your average working day when you started in post?

It’s completely different. When I started the company five years ago, I was working alone and doing every single thing myself from a freezing cold warehouse in Cumbernauld. Now, I’ve got a fantastic team around me in a lovely office just off Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square.

In the beginning, I had one small magazine, Primary Life, which went into North Lanarkshire schools. With that, I was selling advertising, writing the magazines and even distributing it myself out the back of my car. Now, we’ve got magazines which are going out right across the UK and I’ve employed people to do what I used to do, giving me time to plan for the next step. I am still involved in all the things I used to do in some way – apart from the delivery part.

How do you see the job evolving?

Every day presents new opportunities, and I hope we can continue this way. DC Publishing has really grown since its launch, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tuck myself away in an office and not know what’s going on. I’m always going to be involved in how the magazines are run.

I’d really like to see DC Publishing evolve as a brand and grow – we’ve started this by venturing into digital to raise our profile and using Enable to stage a recent social media campaign.

We had Stephen Fry tweeting about us and we were trending in London. That being said, I’ll never go web-only. I’d also like to use the company to help more young people to get involved in publishing. We took Lindsay on straight from university after she contributed to Source as a student and she’s now assistant editor on all of our magazines.

I’d like to be in a position where I’m helping more young people get started and establish themselves in this way.

What gives you most job satisfaction?

Feedback from readers is fantastic – I love hearing from the people who read our magazines. Getting to the end of a magazine and seeing the finished product is another perk of the job – holding it in your hands for the first time makes it all worthwhile. And working with my team every day and seeing them develop and succeed also gives me a lot of satisfaction – especially when there’s a full sales board.