Online Publishing of Association Content – A Game of Hide and Seek?

Published by Tony Veroeven | Topics: Content Strategy, Online Publishing

  • Pin It
  • Pin It

Finding association’s educational content online should not be 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?


Free White Paper: Digital Publishing Platforms


About Tony Veroeven

Tony, who is an Account Manager at Omnipress, believes that life is all about the attitude you choose to have, and his positive outlook shows in all of his interactions with customers and co-workers alike. His great attitude is paired with a solid background of 20 years experience of serving clients and building relationships.

Tags: , , , ,



October 24th, 2011Terrance Barkan CAE says:

Tony, you are spot on. Associations generate so much really valuable content and yet it is often very difficult for members to actually find it. You have also really hit on one of the most important and often underlooked aspects, Search – SEO ( or as you put it, Findability).

When members or prospective members need to find information, they often go straight to Google or another search engine, even when they are trying to find information that they know id on the association website. Why? Because it is faster and easier to do an online search than it is to try and navigate a website.

It is so important today that association have a data and resource depository that enhances Search and makes it easy for members and/or prospects to find what they need.

This is an area where associations are missing the boat when it comes to how they are using or leveraging social media.

Kind regards,
Terrance Barkan CAE, Chief Strategist – T: +1 202 294 5563 | | | Google+:

FREE Resources on International and Social Media Strategy at: / / click on “Request Info”

Managed Online Communities (free to join)

For LinkedIn Group Managers and Owners –

For Social Media Legal Risk management –

For Association CEO’s Only –

Twitter: tbarkan


October 24th, 2011Tony Veroeven says:

Thanks so much for the comment and extending the discussion.

What some association folks haven’t discovered (yet) is that (as you mention) they should expose the content to Google so that the public and members alike can find the materials.

Are you finding that many associations are fearful of exposing their content to the public for free so they don’t water down membership value? –(a valid concern)

They should make certain that any digital resource or online library can do both:

1. The ability to expose all metadata, content, text and other searchable info to search engines, making the association more relevant.

2. The ability to protect member value by not giving the content away for free–through integration with a member database.


Twitter: tonyveroeven

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge