Partnerships build and strengthen community
Connecting with brands, media partners and others whose audiences overlap with yours can sprout meaningful engagement for everyone involved. That’s why Mochi features a page promoting Asian American podcasts and helps some Asian American businesses advertise their products. But Giannina says Mochi is selective about the brands they work with, to ensure that the products speak to their readers. The magazine’s partnership with Parents Are Human, a bilingual card game intended to start conversations between family members, is an example of the ideal type of brand partnership. Mochi Magazine collaborated with Parents Are Human’s founder, Joseph Lam, by creating content on Youtube, IGTV and an in-depth article about the card game.
“What we provide is hard to find these days where everyone is looking for link insertion or affiliate links. Not that we would be opposed to affiliate links; it's just that we would be very intentional about it and at the end of the day, whether or not the reader was to purchase the product, their consumption of the content alone would benefit their understanding of ways of being and showing up as Asian American,” she explains.
In addition, Giannina says partnerships with like-minded organizations have been a “win-win.” She explains that Mochi’s relationships with National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Asian American Justice + Innovation Lab (AAJIL) and AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day, for instance, have helped the publication two-fold: exposing Mochi’s audience to the important issues that these groups are all about and finding new readership by way of these connections.
On working with a volunteer staff
Mochi has made the most of its volunteer workforce. Staff has always worked virtually — members are located all over the country, from Hawai’i to New York City — and includes people of various ages, which according to Giannina, makes the team “a really cool snapshot of Asian America.” But she says that making the magazine on top of working full-time and, for some, taking care of family members, is a challenge. That’s why Mochi pulled back on its publication schedule to better fit what they could actually commit to — it now publishes four issues a year.
"For the last couple of years, we were trying to keep up with the big content machines, but our staff started feeling completely exhausted and burnt out by that,” Giannina says. “We still do articles outside of our issues, but being able to target an issue publication date really allows us to boost that high-quality content to its fullest. At the end of the day, I believe in working smarter, rather than harder — and as a Taurus, I love getting my rest in — so it's been quite exciting to see how this new publication strategy is working out for us.”