12/2/2019 | 3 MINUTE READ

How Reader Engagement Drives Great Coverage

Employee Spotlight Profile
Tim Pennington, Editor
Products Finishing


Tim Pennington, Editor, Products Finishing and Mike Paxos

Tim Pennington, Editor, Products Finishing Magazine talks with Mike Paxos, President, Lustrous Metal Coatings, during a shop visit.

There is a huge misconception among our readers that, as editor of Products Finishing, I must be an expert on the surface finishing industry. While I can hold my own at times, I have found over my almost decade of covering the industry that the true geniuses of this manufacturing technology are the readers themselves. That is why I take every opportunity in my workday to talk to Products Finishing readers or visit them, if I have the chance.

I’ve been to trade shows and conferences in cities all over the U.S., but I never skip the opportunity to schedule a quick visit or two with a finishing shop, even though I may not be writing about it for an upcoming issue. Or, if I am on a writing assignment, I will try to get inside the doors of one other shop while I am on the road, never missing the chance to see how processes are working and to get inside the mind of a shop owner, who also happens to be a reader.

For me, the best I can do to serve our readers — and this is the case for most all editors who work at Gardner Business Media — is to get into the field and learn at every opportunity. I never come away from a visit without taking a nugget or two or three of wisdom and insight from the shops I visit, whether it is discovering what new processes and technology the shops are utilizing these days or, better yet, finding out what the surface industry’s focus will be in the years to come.

That is what reader engagement is all about: getting to know what drives readers, what motives them, where their concerns lie, and what the road ahead means for them. It is about aligning our editorial focus and functions in tune with our audience, and then delivering to them only the most important and relevant content about their industry which they may not be able to find anywhere else.

Engaging readers is a full-time editorial function. Products Finishing does it a lot, and we think we do it well. We have developed several reader-centered initiatives and programs over the years which we feel have brought us closer to our audience and, likewise, brought our readership closer to our publication. Programs include the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey to find the best shops in the industry; the annual 40-Under-40 recognition program to recognize the brightest stars of the finishing sector; initiating the National Surface Finishing Day so that those in the industry can celebrate their place in the manufacturing cycle - with internal staff as well as with the community and customers.

I never miss the chance to learn from our readers, and I also never skip the opportunity to engage them. Maybe after almost 10 years, I am becoming an expert at something.

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Tim Pennington, Editor
Products Finishing

About the Author

Tim Pennington, Editor, Products Finishing

Tim Pennington

Tim Pennington is Editor of Products Finishing magazine, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to joining the magazine, Tim held reporting and editing positions at several major newspapers. He was a reporter and editor in the news and sports departments at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Post. He was also an NFL writer for USA Today covering the Cincinnati Bengals. Tim left the newspaper field and joined several marketing and public relations firms before joining the PGA Tour as the marketing director of a Champions Tour event in Cincinnati. After serving as community relations director for a large Ohio city, Tim re-entered the publishing world when he became editor of Products Finishing, a publication which has served the finishing industry for more than 80 years.

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