Publishing Placement: Connect Communications

As an aspiring publisher, I jumped at the chance to do a placement at Connect Communications. Connect are an agency specialising in producing print and digital communications for clients ranging from Edinburgh Airport to BAE Systems. The placement I undertook was a joint project with one other student from the course, designing a huge piece of market research.

Due to the confidential nature of this work, I can’t go into many details – but it was fascinating seeing how an agency like Connect are looking to expand their business into areas of publishing I would never have considered. Not only were the skills I learnt during this process really useful for an aspiring marketer, but there was also lots of opportunity to get advice and insight from all the staff in Connect’s Edinburgh office, who come from a rich variety of backgrounds. I learned about areas I previously hadn’t considered, including the importance of advertising sales, and spent a lot of time picking up magazine layout tips and tricks.

Connect Mag Cover
Part of the cover & spread we created – and a backup career as a magazine covergirl if publishing doesn’t work out?

Alongside our database research project, the other placement student, Alessia, and myself also worked on producing a mock magazine feature. We researched and wrote a spread about the graduate job market, and our own aspirations for our publishing future. This was then laid out, giving us a lovely – and personal – portfolio piece. We also wrote a short blog about our experience that was featured on Connect’s website! My experience at Connect really opened my eyes to the huge range of jobs available in publishing, and the variety of working for a range of clients at an agency like Connect.

My experience at Connect Communications

The decision to move to the UK and more specifically to Edinburgh to begin the MSc Magazine Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University, allowed me to learn a lot and have new and inspiring experiences. One of these has certainly been the placement at Connect Communications.

Between February and March, I spent, along with Isobel, five weeks at Scotland’s largest corporate publishing and creative communications company, which produces hundreds of magazines and manages to handle the great amount of work with passion and dedication every day. During my time at Connect I had the chance to have an insight of the publishing world and a real work experience. Continue reading “My experience at Connect Communications”

Connect Publications: An Insight into Contract Publishing

Connect Publications is a leading contract publisher in the UK, creating print and digital publications for businesses, membership organisations and charities. Their clients include BAE Systems, Rolls Royce Marine, FMC Technologies and the Weir Group.

Connect’s main office is in Paisley, but I was based at their smaller office in Leith, where I was working with Daniel Lambie, Head of Development and Client Services. Having told Daniel that I had some experience in marketing and an interest in design, he developed three projects for me to work on while I was with the company.

Firstly, I was tasked with developing a brand for a series of educational events that Connect is planning to run in the coming months. I researched similar events being run by other companies, and looked into how they were marketing them. Over a few weeks, I designed a logo for the events and chose the name ‘Connect Conversations’.

Secondly, I was asked to research ideas for an infographic about Connect and the world of contract publishing. Daniel was keen to have a simple, eye-catching graphic for Connect’s website that quickly explained to potential clients what services they could offer. Together we came up with an idea for the ‘anatomy’ of Connect, featuring the different services relating to various parts of the body.

A selection of Connect's publications, across print, web and digital platforms
A selection of Connect’s publications, across print, web and digital platforms

Finally, I was asked to help with the making of a new video for Connect’s website. The current one features magazines that have since been rebranded, so Daniel wanted to create something up-to-date and different. I drafted a script and storyboard for a new video, which will be filmed by other members of the Connect team soon.

The Leith team were friendly and welcoming, and I learnt a lot from them while chatting over lunch as well as in the office. Unfortunately, I finished my placement before these projects came to a close. However, the input I made was both interesting and informative for me, and I really enjoyed my time with Connect. I look forward to seeing the finished products!

Working With Connect

Working With Connect

Project manage a digital app that could be used to promote Connect at pitches and garner new business.

Connect’s Paisley Office

A fantastic sounding job. I looked forward to making tea for this genius designer and shadowing them to see how they overcame all the myriad challenges of this exciting and demanding project. Wait. I’m the project manager? I felt for the genius designer, out there somewhere lamenting the loss of an excellent opportunity to a panic struck student who felt he was in way over his head. That’s me!

I was swiftly put at ease by my supervisor, who was dedicated to ensuring the placement was valuable to me and had me working stage by stage on the planning, design and implementation of the project. In other words, a microcosm of a new product launch, with me at the helm. Oh dear. We would use Adobe DPS, a program I had developed a good understanding of over the course of developing our Publisher’s Inc app, so at least I had some experience to draw on for the project.

My days at Connect were split between 5 days writing and planning the app in Edinburgh, and 5 designing it in Piasley. Each office was incredibly different, with Edinburgh housing up to 6 members of staff, and Paisley over 20. With weekly visits to the former, I saw the development of projects that spanned the duration of my placement, and every week magazines ready for shipment arrived, diverse as Connect’s range, and proved excellent opportunities to discover new ideas. Calling the team friendly and helpful is a cliche, but from the first day I felt so welcome, so included, and as much a friend as a colleague.

My week in Paisley, complete with 2 hour commute each way (or 3 with One Direction’s sinister influence) was as exhausting as it was fulfilling. My first couple of days felt like an all-star tour of the magazine industry, with top designers and editors clarifying exactly how their brand was to be represented, what suited the company’s business and how best to implement these ideas.I even had the services of a professional voice actor to help me design the app!

I feel I have accomplished a lot in my time with Connect so far, and learnt even more. As we progress towards the completion of the app, I can’t help hoping to be involved with many more projects like this in my career, especially if the people are as kind and knowledgeable as those at Connect.

Internship with Hi Magazine and No.1 Media

Hi Magazine
Permission given by No.1 Media

What a year this has been! I was fortunate enough to have been accepted into the first year of the MSc Magazine Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University. As a result, I have been exposed to such amazing opportunities over the past few months.

One of the most significant parts of this course is the opportunity to complete a work placement which allows us to gain some practical experience from within the industry. I found it hugely beneficial to be able to gain this experience, not only from within the UK magazine publishing industry but also from within the Irish magazine publishing industry.

Along with other colleagues of mine I completed a two week placement with Connect Communications, a contract publishing company in Glasgow and Edinburgh. After that I was then able to spend a period of time in Ireland working for No.1 Media Group in Cork.  I am now a regular contributor to one of their titles Hi Magazine which is Munster’s Social and Wedding Diary. I am delighted to be a part of this magazine as it is helping to promote and support local people and businesses in Munster.

I find it refreshing to see magazines such as Hi Magazine adapting and progressing in the current Irish market. They have now launched a new website for Hi Magazine which allows for people to read the entire magazine for free online. They are the first social magazine in Ireland to offer itself free online to its readers. Some might wonder why they would do this but the answer is simple, they want to reach out to the thousands of people who have an affinity with Munster and who may not be able to buy a print copy from stores. My job with Hi Magazine is to track down some of these people who have gone abroad to work and study and then I profile one person for every issue.

Hi Magazine stands out as a magazine that really cares about its readers and what matters to them. From each copy of Hi that is sold in shops, 10 cent of every issue will go to cancer support services throughout Munster. While this is just a small contribution, it is also an additional way of raising awareness.

The power of magazines becomes increasingly more evident.

All the Way to Paisley for Connect Communication

A long and adventurous trip to Paisley was the first step to my placement at Connect Communications, a contract publisher established in 1999, that is responsible for more than 300 publications.

I started on a cold day at the beginning of January, but was welcomed by the warm atmosphere of the Paisley office.

Working on a market research with Valerie and Alex and, in the meantime, getting some practical experience with editorial and subbing, was challenging and stimulating.

I used to hate speaking on the phone. I still remember how nervous I was the first time I picked it up to make a call for our market research… “Hi, there. I was wondering…”. It was scary, at first, but then it turned out to be so much fun.

Connect gave me the chance to make a contribution to different projects and magazines, from Talent Scotland to Premier Living to Nationwide Bowler. Besides, I was fascinated by the quality of Unfiltered, a magazine produced on behalf of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which was recently turned into a very interactive App.

My experience at Connect was great. I felt part of the team and gained confidence. Moreover, I realised that a work in publishing can involve a great deal of writing. I am grateful I had chance to spend two weeks at Connect, where I learned so much.

I am looking forward to starting a career in magazine publishing after my master, and put into practice what this experience taught me.

To find out more about Connect Communications, visit their website:


Connect Communications

Connect Communications
Image courtesy of Connect Communications

On a blustery day in March, I began my placement with Connect Communications. Connect Communications is a contract publishing company that is responsible for work on more than 300 separate publications. My experience with Connect solidified the notion that the magazine industry is a busy one, but that the employees of Connect really enjoy the work they do.

Currently operations run out of two different offices, one in Paisley and one in Leith. I worked at the Leith office during my placement, although I did have the opportunity to check out Paisley for a day.

My first day at placement, I felt so welcome, like I’d been working alongside everyone for years. With only six people based at the Leith offices, I was able to learn a lot about everyone working there and share experiences of my own. And I was fortunate to be in a small environment because I always received help when I had questions or needed assistance on a project.

Between editing pieces and writing my own, I was busy… which I was thankful for because I loved being involved. One of my first assignments was on Unfiltered magazine, where I attended (and participated) in a whisky tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I would never have been presented with such a unique opportunity prior to my work experience. And I know my family and friends back in America are jealous that I got the chance to try a few whiskies and call it work.

Another highlight of my placement was taking a day to go out to the Paisley office. The Paisley office houses nearly 30 staff members and acts as the primary base for the editorial and production teams. Going to Paisley was important for my learning experience, I was able to see the office working to deadlines and was handed copy to proof through the day, it made it feel like I was a part of the team. After going to Connect, I realised that this type of experience validated my aspirations to work for a publishing company after graduation.

Connect gave me the chance to get involved in so many of their current magazines and projects, from market research, editing, to learning video production. I now have a plethora of skills that will help me in the future when looking for a job. And who knew when I signed up for a publishing programme that I’d end up enjoying the journalistic side of things? While at Connect, I conducted several interviews for their magazines. Instead of being behind the scenes, I was writing the content. I’m very grateful that they allowed me these kinds of opportunities.

I learned so much within such a short amount of time and I felt like everyone at Connect was keen to help me make the most of my stay. I acquired a great deal of knowledge about Connect Communications and the publishing industry while developing skills for the future. I’m looking forward to being able to get a job after graduating from Edinburgh Napier to put these new skills to use!

For more on Connect Communications visit their website, Like their Facebook page or send them a Tweet!