Why Do Associations Publish Conference Content Online?
It’s no secret. Associations today are constantly looking for ways to cut costs where ever they can. Unfortunately for members and attendees, these cost-cutting “savings” often times occur in annual meeting planning.
Many associations are now getting rid of conference materials such as printed conference proceedings in three ring binders and session handouts on flash drives, and instead offering this valuable association education to members and attendees online. But is this the right solution?
Saving Money By Putting Conference Materials Online
Let’s face it. If you’re dealing with multiple printing and fulfillment vendors, timely conference content and a younger tech-savvy members and attendees, printed conference materials can be expensive.
Here’s a few ways print gets pricey:
- Producing and shipping printed conference material is costly.
- Print production doesn’t work well with last-minute changes.
- Printed material can be dated. Appending late material is often ignored because of expense.
- The disposal of overproduced conference programs and schedules is a waste.
- Event staff dreads handing out on-site materials.
- Younger attendees seem to prefer the convenience of accessing content online.
- Managing multiple printers and/or fulfillment houses is challenging.
- Having to spend valuable internal association staff time on shipping printed content is inefficient.
Is Online and Printed Conference Materials the “Perfect Combination”?
Regardless of costs, there is a time and place for print, and a time and place for online.
Omnipress Veterans, Christopher Uschan and Dan Loomis recently wrote in article,
The Explosion of Online Content: What Associations Need to Know, where they discuss the different types of association content and where a combined print and online content strategy is possibly the new standard.
In the article Uschan states, “In the end, there is no one way solution. The combination of print and online is critical to the attendee experience. Whether attendees are at home, in the office or at the conference; providing multiple formats allows them to consume content when and how they want it. Issues traditionally associated with printing should not prevent the production of printed content if this is the most preferred format. And likewise, associations may need to be thinking bigger than just putting this year’s session handouts online.”
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