John Byrne, editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com, hosted a dinner for 10 readers who “made significant contributions to its Web site last year,” Folio reports. Anyone who’s ever checked out this guy’s twitter feed knows that this is not the first step he and BW.com’s taken to build reader engagement online. As an example, he gives out T-shirts via Twitter to BW.com’s best commenters.
Is the strategy working? Unclear. According to parent company McGraw-Hill’s most recent earning statement, ad pages for BusinessWeek‘s global edition were down 16.1% for 2008 and 19.6% for the fourth quarter, and BusinessWeek published 13 issues in the fourth quarter of 2008 versus 14 in the same period last year. But in the same statement, the company says: “”In 2008, growth in information services and products helped produce a 4.1% increase in revenue to $954.8 million for the Business-to-Business Group, which includes the following brands: Aviation Week, BusinessWeek, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction, and Platts.”
Our wonder is when this stuff will become a standard part of the job description. Everyone’s looking to turn their staff into jacks-of-all-trades.