EngagePhase 2017 Year in Review

We have had an amazing year laying the groundwork for EngagePhase, the new publishing service tracking the emerging global community engagement and public participation industry.

Below is a quick look back at what we have accomplished and what lies ahead.

To celebrate the start of our year two, we have a special year-end offer for you. Scroll to the bottom for details!

2017 Milestones

We launched the website in January. The very first issue of EngagePhase Weekly – our premium industry newsletter – went out in March. Thanks to the active participation and generous feedback from our more than 100 early adopters, we were able to successfully conclude our private beta phase in early September as scheduled. Paid subscriptions quickly started to pick up from there, surpassing 100 subscribers on a paid plan by late December. In late November, we announced the launch of our first group plan, giving the entire Engage 2 Act membership easy access to the newsletter. Meanwhile, work on the backend to improve our content aggregation and processing flows has continued on a week-by-week basis, culminating in the hiring of our first intern in mid-December.

For the full list of key events, check the milestones page.

Industry news coverage

At EngagePhase, our focus is on tracking the global community engagement and public participation industry and to monitor how it is evolving and maturing over time. Some of the questions we’re particularly interested in include:

  • Who are the key players (people and organizations) shaping the industry?
  • How is this work being marketed, advertised, funded, reported, recognized etc.?
  • What are the key market forces driving adoption of participatory governance practices?
  • How is the practice evolving internationally?
  • What are the important innovations and emerging trends?

At the beginning of 2017, it was clear that following the industry overall wasn’t really straightforward. That’s why during our first year, we put the main effort on content aggregation and curation. The idea:

  1. Identify a wide range of relevant international industry news sources and follow them via a custom-built aggregator
  2. Curate the most relevant bits and share them with our subscribers via the EngagePhase Weekly newsletter

On the curation side, here’s a high-level overview of what we’re tracking at the end of 2017:

  • 50+ blogs (individuals and organizations)
  • 200+ people and organizations on Twitter
  • 10+ Twitter hashtags (covering feeds from English, German, French, Spanish and Italian language areas)
  • 30+ email newsletters
EngagePhase content items per issue 2017
EngagePhase content items per issue 2017

On the curation side, here’s a breakdown of the 500+ news items we were able to share over the course of the first 41 issues of EngagePhase Weekly:

  • Industry News (118)
  • Conferences & Events (87)
  • People on the Move (55)
  • Tools & Resources (54)
  • Digital Engagement (46)
  • Competitions & Awards (30)
  • Around the Globe (28)
  • Conference & Event Recap (22)
  • Thought Leadership (20)
  • Making the Case (12)
  • Research (12)
  • Books (10)
  • Analysis and Opinion (7)
  • Market Trends (1)

Add to that dozens of professional development and training opportunities (both online and offline) plus dozens of job openings from around the globe.

Funding strategy

At the Center for Applied Community Engagement, the parent organization behind EngagePhase, we are bullish on community engagement and public participation. We believe that this industry is indeed forming and that over the coming years we can expect it to grow significantly both in size and in terms of the impact it will have in places all around the world.

Our goal with EngagePhase is to create a publishing operation that has the capability to give this field the attention and the visibility it deserves. Providing the kind of coverage we have in mind will require sufficient and sustainable funding. In order to be successful, we need to come up with a model that will provide us with the necessary resources to do the job.

EngagePhase Weekly total paid subscriptions by month
EngagePhase Weekly total paid subscriptions by month (as of 2017/12/29)

For the time being, we’ve settled on paid subscriptions as our main income stream. In 2018, we’ll likely experiment with additional sources of revenue, incl. online events, premium content and possibly advertising.

We have a few other ideas swirling around regarding additional products and services. Eventually, the paid membership might focus on only the high value-add premium pieces while we move the EngagePhase Weekly newsletter – which, after all, is only one of several potential components – back into the free column.

We are committed to working closely with our subscribers to figure out which path might be best. Our public beta is set to continue for another few months, so anything is possible at this point.

Getting ready for 2018

All in all, we find ourselves in a very good starting position for 2018! Here are some of the things on our agenda for the first half of the new year:

  • continue to improve the quality of the weekly newsletter,
  • start recruiting a network of international correspondents,
  • explore opportunities for creating original content, and
  • host a first online learning exchange.

Special year-end offer

We hope you’ll join us! To celebrate the end of our first and the beginning of our second year, we’re giving away 25 annual subscriptions at the price of only $20.18 for the first year (that’s 30% off the regular price of $29/year). Simply apply coupon code “happy2018” during checkout to secure your discount.

See you in 2018. Happy New Year!