Six Steps to Distributing Content Online
Where is digital content heading? How do your members want to consume your content? Laptops vs. Tablets vs. Mobile phones. There’s a lot of opportunity, but no clear path to it all.
My first suggestion, take a deep breathe. Keep the focus on what should be part of your organization’s strategic plan for 2011… Move more content online and find ways to create and extract value. Start with what you have which is most likely a ton of PDF files, some native application files, audio and video files.
How to Distribute Your Content Online
Step One: Put a solution in place that gets that content online as fast as possible. Focus on usability and findability first. Then access control so you can capture the value in that content yet expose the content to the world. Many associations are already at this point.
Step Two: Begin to understand the type of content you create and how readers will consume your content. Research publications may be best left online so you can update the content more and give access as your readers want to pay for it. For publications that will be “read” cover to cover, begin to explore eBooks. “Cost-effective doing” is still better than standing around watching.
Step Three: Develop a content strategy. Steps one and two are action steps to get the ball rolling, and learn from the experience. Soon you’ll realize that planning is key to execution for your content. I would not recommend a consultant here. The key knowledge is within your organization. Start with identifying:
- Name of Content
- Type of content (research, news, learning)
- How is it collected
- Who are the stakeholders (author, readers, staff involved)
- What is the value
- Media (print, online, digital)
- How will it be consumed
Step Four: Focus on a Content Management Solution (CMS) that is designed for publishing. A common tool to improve user experience, and a solution that eliminates content silos, content in multiple locations and no way to interact (search, view, access) in common publishing platform.
Step Five: Distribution. This is the hardest step and because technology is changing very fast in the publishing industry, the way we share a book today will be different in just a couple more years. Chances are you may need help here. Your publishing vendors should help you not only with today, but they should be positioned to help you with tomorrow’s opportunities as well.
Step Six: Authoring. This step allows you to reduce costs and improve workflow. Before you can place requirements on your authors you need to ensure a CMS and distribution solution are effectively in place. Then your authors will want to work with you to be part of that content distribution machine you have created. Plus, authoring tools are improving, and in a few years many of the standards will be defined leaving a clear path for your authors to take and your ability to support them.
There is no greater opportunity for associations to grow than to better leverage and extract value from your content!
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