TOB Goes Paperless
Norah Black—Director, Marketing & Communications, IBAO 
L ike everyone else, we too have had to adapt. But we’ve been discussing and doing so much of it lately, it no longer feels like adapting. It feels more like repositioning and for the most part it’s for the best—streamlined, more cost effective, broader reach. This magazine is a good example.  Last year we started discussing how to build a true online experience. At the time we were using basic hosting software—essentially just an online PDF like many “digital” publications are—but we were positioning the product as a digital experience.  Earlier this year we spent time reimagining the magazine as a true online product, rethinking advertising, design, responsiveness, SEO, analytics. It ended up taking a lot more creativity and resourcefulness than we’d anticipated to transform a traditional magazine into a digital–first experience.  But the pandemic forced our thinking—photo shoots were no longer an option, neither was printing and even if it were, there was nowhere to send our magazine with brokerages closed or generally understaffed. It seemed a waste to spend on a product we weren’t sure our members would see.
So we built a new platform that accomplishes our objectives despite what the future of the workplace might be.
This isn’t the first new iteration of this magazine. We’ve reintroduced it as a newly designed product at the beginning of every new year. Its editorial scope has expanded beyond industry news to include
lifestyle content
relevant to both brokers and non–brokers. And in 2018 we moved the publication’s production entirely in–house.  The constant hasn’t been the platform but the celebration of our members’ successes, building on our member value proposition and experience. We’re now just able to do it on a much larger scale.  Our digital version of this magazine has been our most widely read—now easier to read on desktop and mobile, and more shareable on social media, which has become a key promotional element in light of our recent focus on recruitment. Because the new publication is set up as a subdomain of rather than a third–party URL, magazine traffic now contributes to IBAO’s online visibility and increases performance on search engines.  Over the years, digital publishing has progressed. So has TOB. I’d like to say our print edition will resume once more brokers are working from their offices. I miss the glossy covers and the anticipation of receiving that first box of magazines at our office, flipping through pages to see how everything appears as a collection. But maybe this is what the product’s become, and we’ll continue to reposition the product from here, instead of back there.  It’s repositioning, not adapting, and for the most part it’s for the best.
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