Online Publishing of Association Content – A Game of Hide and Seek?
A few days ago, a speaker contacted me and was looking for a specific paper to reference/cite in a paper of his own. This particular paper was published as part of the 2006 conference proceedings of one of my clients.
(Luckily, we had it archived on DVD in our IT room!)
Later that day, and unrelated to the original call, I had another speaker contact me, hoping that I could find a paper that was presented at a medical client’s conference in 2009.
Two calls in one day?!
This seems like coincidence, but I think it’s not an accident association members and conference attendees are looking for and cannot find educational content associations produce and publish. These two phone calls got me thinking about how associations could be making their content more “findable” and “discoverable” on the web.
These events were very interesting. A recent Omnipress survey showed most associations have large amounts of educational information, yet for many, once the content is used once, it’s stored and becomes inaccessible or difficult to locate. It may be on their server, out of print or otherwise not findable or searchable by Google and other major search engines association members and conference attendees rely on for information.
Publish Your Content in a Central Hub
What about taking association’s educational assets (conference proceedings, journals, seminar materials, webinars, etc.) and making them available in one online destination hub? Some people may call this an archive, digital publishing platform, online platform, knowledge center… I’m calling it an Online Content Solution for Associations!
This digital solution makes materials more discoverable, findable, searchable and creates marketing possibilities. Associations, such as the Transportation Research Board, who have given this online content strategy a shot, have seen dramatic increases in traffic on their site. The launch of their digital publishing platform saw mass traffic, and even over time there is consistent pattern of website traffic that TRB leadership is very pleased with. For your association, this increased traffic could very well convert non-members into members, and provide greater retention while serving as an added revenue stream.
When CONTENT is more discoverable and findable, your ASSOCIATION more is discoverable and findable.
Don’t make your content count to twenty and expect people will find it. Put it out there, and tell everyone where it is.
And if you’re worried about giving it away for free… no worries. A good digital publishing solution should offer many access control options without compromising findability.
What do you think- is that part of your strategy? Are you leveraging your content to meet your goals?
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