The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association hopes to open up new content areas and draw new audiences with the purchase of an industry magazine.
Sometimes you plan, and sometimes a great deal just falls into your lap—and you have to pounce on it.
The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association experienced the latter earlier this fall when it purchased O&P News Magazine, a for-profit magazine published by Slack Inc.
“We were not in the market, but we were impressed that when O&P News became available for sale on reasonable terms that we could accomplish more of our communications agenda with two publications than we could with one,” said AOPA Executive Director Tom Fise.
AOPA currently publishes the monthly O&P Almanac, offered in both print and digital formats to its members, but O&P News will allow the association to broaden its horizons, in terms of content and audiences.
For example, Fise said that AOPA has a lot of quality presentations that are given at its meetings, but they aren’t published anywhere. Iterations of those could appear on the pages of this magazine, “so they’d be memorialized and published and available for people who want to cite them.”
In addition, Fise is also interested in seeing this new magazine tackle the business issues of the profession, as well as reaching out to audiences that AOPA’s O&P Almanac currently doesn’t entertain, specifically those in the referral community, such as physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, among others, and those interested in the science or education surrounding prosthetics and orthotics. “Any dialogue that we can establish with those communities makes a lot of sense,” he said.
But he also said that the new publication is very much work in progress. AOPA announced the asset acquisition in mid-November, and AOPA’s magazine staff will publish the first issue in January.
According to Fise, AOPA thought that its magazine staff were “capable of expanding to generate two publications a month,” but that it’s a strategy they’ll be open to fine-tuning in the long run. “We’ll know better in three to four months where we need refinement and shoring up and where we don’t,” he said.
For this venture to be successful, Fise said that it’s been critical for AOPA to be open to new possibilities—and revision along the way. “We knew that it didn’t make sense to go into this with the idea that we were going to continue the O&P News enterprise as it had been going with all of the structures and staffing and topics and everything else because we didn’t feel like we could succeed with that,” he said
Rather, the association is using the magazine as a leap pad to do something different, including highlighting different content areas and reaching out to a broader network of readers who are allied with the O&P field but aren’t themselves producers.
Since it’s only been a few weeks since AOPA purchased the magazine, the association is still working on creating its measures for success, but Fise did add this: “If we were two years down the road and looked back at this and said, we’ve made the association of AOPA more visible to a broader audience; been able to inform people about our meetings, products, and advocacy; and that’s resulted in a more cohesive orthotic and prosthetic field, then I think we’d be saying we had a success story.”