Archive for November, 2014

Meet the Team- Joe Lawrence

Monday, November 24th, 2014

rsz_11This week’s interviewee has been with PeKu since the very beginning with a little time off in the middle of his tenure. Joe Lawrence started writing for PeKu in July 2008. He wrote for us on a number of topics, including politics and parenting, until January 2011. At that point, he took a two and a half year hiatus to focus on his family and career. We were delighted when he returned in September 2013. Since that time he’s been writing about fitness, and next month he will return to writing about parenting. I’ll stop the intro here and let Joe share some insights.

MPK: You wrote for us from July 2008 through January 2011 and returned in September 2013.  Did you write on your own during your hiatus?

JL: I did write quite a bit during this time away; however, most of it was academic. I took this time to pursue my Master’s in leadership and management and that consumed my creative juices. Although, writing is a passion of mine and I was able to draft many articles on leadership, faith, and aircraft production principles that I have not posted anywhere.

MPK: n 2008 you wrote “MMA Is Boring” on Buzzer Eagle, which received many comments. Do you still participate in or watch MMA?

JL: Martial arts was my first true love. I have been studying many differing styles since I was four years old. I still follow MMA and just about anything else involving martial artists. I do not practice MMA at a club, but I used to train with a team to help them with their stand-up before my daughter was born. Once my children are big enough to get involved in martial arts, I want to join a school once again.

MPK: You have mentioned that you are a member of the US military. How do you find time to do that, be a father and husband, and write?

JL: Good question. I am still trying to figure this one out! When I am at home, I try to give my undivided attention to my family and refuse to talk about things going on at the base. My wife and I still share a few events from our day, but just the highlights. We try our best not to let work stresses bleed over into our time together. Being a member of the profession of arms is quite demanding and I have spent almost two years of my five-year old daughter’s life in varying deserts or military schools. I know at anytime I may have to leave again and want to make sure my family knows how much I care about them. As far as finding time to write, when you really love something you can make it work. I actually do a lot of writing on the note app of my phone while I am waiting on a meeting to start or when standing in line, etc and then add the finishing touches later. It is amazing how much you can do during these little breaks. I have written about five chapters of a fiction book this way, numerous Bible study articles, and I am working on a manual to consolidate the wisdom of my military mentors for my team.

MPK: Your current assignments include My Fitness Tunes and Your Parenting Info. Do you like one more than the other?

JL: No. I have always been a huge fan of the whole person concept and rarely pick favorites. My Fitness Tunes forces me to remember all the unorthodox routines I have been privy to over the years thanks to the military and 30 years of martial arts. It is fun to re-live those times and dust off these routines to keep my fitness regimen fresh. Your Parenting Info allows me to share my experiences as a parent of a five- and almost two-year old. This is the one area of my life where I still feel very inexperienced myself, and it is fun to learn from others and share what worked for me with someone who may be facing the same challenges.

MPK: What fun fact would our readers be surprised to learn about you?

JL: I am not sure if this is a “fun” fact, but many people are surprised to learn that my wife, Brie, and I have been together since high school and actually were able to make a long distance relationship work while she was in college and I was traipsing the globe as a flying crew chief on my cargo aircraft. We have gone through a lot together, and I am still madly in love her!

Some Projects Are Like Snow Globes

Monday, November 17th, 2014

snow globeNovember saw great change to our editorial calendar. Eliminating eight publications will do that.  Along with the removal of tens of articles, I also made some small tweaks to make sure that our articles were geared toward our female audience.  Columnists’ assignments were changed, a couple new topics were added, and sections were realigned.

When November began, I watched as the team adapted to the change. I watched our publications and our readers’ reactions.  With everything moving along smoothly, I decided that it was time to implement even more change to our publications.  If we are going to be a whole new PeKu, then we need to do that across all of our publications. Thus, I decided to dive into each publication and determine what we did well and what we could do better.

As I worked on the editorial calendar for December, I made a great number of changes. New categories were created.  Old topics were removed. Different styles of articles were added.  As I got ready to publish the calendar for the team, it occurred to me that the work on this calendar was like a snow globe.  I shook the calendar quite a bit, there was snow flying everywhere, but now as everything was settling, I thought it looked amazingly beautiful.  This new PeKu is glittering and bright.

Of course, the beauty of a snow globe is that I can shake it again.  I can make other changes, and it will astound and amaze again.

The transition in November has been nice, calm. I am excited to see the beauty of our calendar in December. I think it should delight.

Version Y- Questions & Answers

Monday, November 10th, 2014

PeKu Twitter profile pic 400x400We are now one week into our female-focused orientation at PeKu. Thankfully, the transition has gone well for the team.  Our writers are producing terrific articles for their new assignments (as well as their pre-change ones). Our editor has mastered the new editorial calendar and all of its intricacies.  Our marketing team is busily promoting PeKu (and Peku the penguin) to our audience. And of course, our engineering and design team has all of PeKu looking great!

With everything going smoothly, I am excited to write about this change and answer questions as promised last week.

Q: Why did PeKu decide to focus on the female audience?

A: I look at the stats for PeKu all of the time.  In September, I was reviewing our numbers, which were still solid, but I did notice a trend. The publications with the biggest numbers and the most interaction were the sites that were the most female-centric.  I thought about it- I could keep building 21 good publications, or I could pivot and build 12 fantastic publications.  It truly felt like a lightbulb moment to me.

Q: What do you envision changing in the coming months?

A: I plan to spend a decent amount of time refining the editorial calendar. Instead of trying to be a little bit of something for everybody, I now will plan on making a calendar that is focused on an audience half that size. I also look forward to creating article series that run over several weeks and among a handful of our publications. I also hope to create more engagement with our audience.

Q: What was the best thing about this change?

A: I was able to brainstorm and envision a whole new PeKu.  It was great to expand my mind and consider all different things that PeKu could be and how we would get to that point.

Q: What was the worst thing about this change?

A: Letting team members go.  In the past I have had to remove team members, but those were due to issues. This time I simply had to let people go because there wasn’t as much work.  Although we work remotely, I feel like I know a good portion of my team, and it was hard to say goodbye.

Q: What will happen to the 9 dormant sites?

A: For now they’re just hanging out. All of their material is available for reading and viewing.  My writers spent time and effort to create excellent content.  It seems only right that for now their work stays where it can be seen.

PeKu, Version Y

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

rsz_peku_penguin_printIt’s a whole new PeKu today, and honestly, I don’t know what version number to call it.  We transformed from Wasabi Media Group to PeKu Publications in November 2012, so I guess that was version 1.  Since that time we’ve made tweaks and changes to PeKu.  We have changed our tagline (version 2?); we’ve removed a few sites (version 3?); we’ve reorganized our sections (version 4?).  During all of those rebrands and relaunches, I didn’t bother to number the changes.

However, this change that we’ve made is huge.  I have been working on it behind the scenes for the past two months.  It feels like it deserves to have a name.  Since I don’t know exactly what number we should give to it, I have decided to call it Version Y.  How did I come to choose such a name?  Y is a reference to the direction in which we are headed.  PeKu has changed from being a little bit of something for everyone to a publishing company that is focusing on the female demographic.

In order to make this happen, we needed to let nine of our publications become dormant and switch our attention to the twelve that best align with our female audience.  It also means refining the editorial calendar, finding more opportunities for collaboration among the twelve.  While the biggest change took place today when we published new articles on a lot fewer publications than usual, there will be many more changes in the coming months.

As you look at today’s set of articles on the PeKu homepage and notice that there are only twelve boxes instead of twenty, know while that we may have reduced the quantity, our goal is to improve the quality.  Take a peek at what we’re publishing- it’s the same great, original content but with a bit more of a flair toward the female.

Return to my Editorially Yours column next Monday as I answer a series of questions about this transformation and give a little more insight into what to expect.

 

PeKu Targets Female Audience Through Rebrand

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Manchester, NH- PeKu Publications is rebranding itself into a publishing company aimed at the female demographic. PeKu will continue to provide original, world-class articles, tips, and videos that aim to inspire and engage this new target audience. As part of this rebrand, PeKu is trimming its offerings from twenty-one to twelve publications.
The content on the twelve sites fits within five female-leaning sections: Family, Fine Living, Healthy Living, Home & Garden, and Style. These five sections will integrate with each other by providing articles on common themes.

According to CEO and Editor-in-Chief Michele Pesula Kuegler, this tighter focus allows for a more consistent reader experience. “With twelve publications that are focused on a similar audience,” she said, “I look forward to seeing the synergy we can create within the PeKu community.”
Also included in the rebrand are redesigned websites and social media accounts, with a soft-launch rollout of these designs occurring during the month of November. PeKu is also launching a brand new Twitter account (@PeKuPenguin) that will significantly increase fan engagement. In addition to the new account, PeKu has resurrected accounts for three of their publications—Parched No More, Think Tasty, and Your Parenting Info. These four will supplement the corporate PeKu Twitter account.
Readers can access the all of the publications and new content by visiting pekupublications.com.

About PeKu Publications

PeKu Publications is an emergent Internet-based publishing company, which is home to 12 niche properties, featuring content in 5 unique channels. For more information about PeKu Publications go to http://www.pekupublications.com or contact Michele Pesula Kuegler at michele@pekupublications.com.

Inspire. Inform. Engage.