Digital Publishing Innovation and David McKnight
Category Archives: Knowledge Strategy
Member Engagement through Content Strategy.
End silos, coordinate efforts across all groups – marketing, membership, publications, events.
Building on Online Publishing Platform to engage and monetize information.
Don’t build what you want…deliver what members want.
Provide eBook solutions without all the conversion costs and distribution revenue sharing required by Amazon and other major Online Proprietary Solutions.
O’Reilly – Tools of Change for Publishing: “A level of unmediated control that empowers publishers (Associations) to be responsive to market feedback, and encourages them to take ownership of user relationships. These are exactly the habits that publishers need to develop in order to build successful digital businesses, and exactly the habits Tizra does a great job of supporting.”
Tizra’s web-based publishing platform
by Joe Wikert
Full Post here
As fall hits full swing some of you may be thinking about year end planning and searching for a way to turn over a new leaf (or old one). Yes, I may be bias but I feel that addressing the opportunities of the information your association gathers and publishes should be a major focus to drive member engagement and overall growth of your association – including revenue.
I’ve centered this blog post on a post by Joe Pulizzi, published Oct 13, 2012. Word for word, in italics, with my comments (DM) – not in italics. I think this is critical for association to learn what an expert in the marketing industry is thinking but also to demonstrate how association can excel at Content Marketing. Based on the strength of your community and content, Associations can outperform more traditional publisher and the for-profit world. To do so you need three things 1) A Content Strategy 2) Devote resources, but more so an organized team effort, to make the strategy happen 3) a publishing platform or content management system (PubCMS)
Let’s begin with Joe’s post “7 Content Marketing Strategies for 2013” click here for a direct link to the post.
1. Watch “Content 2020″ from Coca-Cola
Every time I present at an event, I give the attendees a homework assignment: to watch Coca-Cola’s two-part Content 2020 whiteboard video series. Content 2020 is Coke’s “Jerry McGuire” mission statement on moving the organization from creative excellence to content excellence. Coca-Cola has been a marketing leader for a long time, and here the brand again proves that it is more than qualified to play with the big boys.
(DM) Your first thought might be “Sure, how is out non-profit going to compete with Coke and all of their resources”… well the answer is you don’t. The point here is to learn and find ways to compete differently. Innovation isn’t always about something new – actually most of the time it’s about taking ideas and making what you do better.
2. Develop your content marketing mission statement
I’ve surveyed about 1,000 people over the past month, asking each if they have developed an editorial mission, or content marketing mission statement, for their content strategies. Easily less than 5 percent had something like this prepared.
This is a major problem. How can we execute a content strategy if we don’t have a clear vision for why we are developing the content in the first place?
Every person that touches the content marketing program should know, by heart, what the mission of the content strategy is.
(DM) For an Association this requires that you first clearly understand what your members need – events are a great way to keep that pulse. Then the second part is as explained before – creating focus from your whole team – events, marketing, membership, publications – to effectively drive thought leadership throughout your organization.
3. A new mindset: Become the leading informational provider for your niche
Brands aren’t taking their content seriously enough. Sure, we are creating content in dozens of channels for multiple marketing objectives. But is your organization’s mindset focused on being the leading provider of information for your customers? If not, why isn’t that your priority?
Look, our customers and prospects can get their information from anywhere to make buying decisions. Why shouldn’t that information come from us? Shouldn’t that at least be the goal?
(DM) I have yet to find an Associations that doesn’t have deep knowledge and thought leadership on the staff and in the membership – own it, command it and in doing so – go big.
4. Utility is key
I absolutely love the Charmin Clean Bathroom App. If you are desperate to find a clean bathroom nearby, and this app provides the answers for you, what do you think the odds are that you would buy Charmin the next time you go to the store?
What if you used Kraft’s iFood app to help you make your next home-cooked meal?
Small businesses find regular answers to their operational challenges at AMEX’s Open Forum. Take a hard look at your content and see if what you are producing is actually useful for your customers. Is it making their lives better or jobs easier in some way?
(DM) This should be an area of strength for Associations, as your staff should have a deep understanding of what keeps your membership up at night. At the end of the day it’s not how technical or academic you can be but are you address today’s needs, solving problems, and improving member’s lives.
5. Define and answer your customers’ questions
This is so easy to do, yet most of us don’t do it. Do you have a system in place to compile the questions your customers are asking and post your answers to those questions on the web? The content opportunities that spring up from customer service and sales alone can support your content marketing strategy.
(DM) I heard a CEO of a marketing agency answer the question – “How do you know which social media tools to use and what customers (members) want to talk about” His answer “Ask”.
6. Employee involvement in content marketing
Take a look at these two projects:
These are two great examples of successful content initiatives that have helped to grow business, were developed from the ground up with a limited budget, and were driven almost entirely by employee content.
(DM) Get examples and an area Associations can excel at because Association not only have staff but membership to help get involved – speakers, though leaders, industry partners. Dozens of people talking and sharing about a topic can create enough buzz to dominate a topic and make it viral.
Andrew Davis’ new book Brandscaping discusses how content partnerships can work. Essentially, a brandscape is a collection of brands that work together to produce great content. I’m starting to believe that this is critical to the evolution of content marketing, as more brands struggle to manage the content marketing process.
It’s true that many brands struggle with finding the funding for content marketing projects. Why not work with non-competitive partners to develop amazing and compelling content for a similar customer?
(DM) Another strength of Association’s is that you already have process and events in place to enable co-creation. It’s critical you tap into these sources and share this wisdom far and wide. I didn’t say free just wide – there is a way to do both – call me.
OK, I hope this post empowers you to know that with a little strategic planning, the right tools and executed well – your Association is in a strong position to dominate thought leadership in your industry. Yes, publishers and corporation are racing to build their own community. They see the value your association has built. But you have the community and now it’s time to leverage that in new ways to drive growth.
Will a Content Strategy be a focus at your 2013 Strategic Planning? Call me, I have a lot of old leaves in Wisconsin..and come spring – new ones.
One of the most important aspects of embarking on the “investment” of digital publishing is to clearly understand how the solution will impact things like relevance, member value and new forms of revenue. For some all three may be critical. For other associations one or to may be more important. Here are three ideas of HOW to impact – relevance, value and revenue.
#1 Central Repository
Many associations are rich in content but poor in organization. Content tends to be fragmented and leads to content silos (LINK). It becomes hard for members, let alone the rest of the world, to find information and often there is no way to cross reference related content coming from multiple sources (i.e. conferences, publications, research, journals, Newsletter, any written or recorded content).
By building a central repository – a data warehouse or knowledge center, you bring value to your members and a central tool for your staff. You can continue to have other webpages for events, publications, marketing, etc and link back to your central repository. A central solution allows:
1) Standardized workflow distribution
2) Enable readers to search multiple sources of content quickly
3) Create new products based on topics and offer readers very focused content that meet their needs
These things are critical to enable your members or others to find relevant information fast. It may also add new forms of revenue because people will pay to get access to just the information they need.
#2 – Delivering the Most Relevant Content
We live in an age of information overload. Yet it can be critical we find a way to focus on the important information that impacts our career and world the most. Digital publishing offer Associations new ways to help address this challenge and create value never before possible.
If your association adds value by making sure it collects and gathers content on a daily basis or you have members that have very different needs for the information you collect then this approach to ePublishing may be something worth exploring.
By using meta-data to index and categorize your content, then combing with information in your Association Management System that identifies what your members are interested in. Plus the right Content Management System – one designed for ePublishing – you can create a web platform where each time a member logs in they are presented with the most relevant content based on their needs.
The site becomes very dynamic; content is changing as often as you enter new content. Your members can more quickly focus on relevant content making the most of their limited time.
One tip is in your meta-data, you create a one or two sentence description of the content – a “news” summary or headline that to allow your reader to decide if they want to invest more time in that piece of content. As your site manager watches what content is getting the most attention they can build bundles of content and share that as a new way to help members discover relevant information.
This solution in an “engagement” solution and does require active participation by Association Staff. When deployed and operated well – this can be come a destination site for frequent visitors by members and possibility non-members too.
#3 – Discoverability and Access Control
Associations controlling access to content has been the standard – it’s how associations protect the value of membership. The ideas expressed by some of “free access”, “freemium” if you would, as a way to grow, has some merit – but is that sustainable? Controlling access is important but the challenge is being able to manage multiple types of access and have that access change over time (for example charge for last years conference content, restrict this years to attendees only and open up content from two years ago to all members or even the whole world.
Institutional or company access is also a new area of opportunity for Associations to license content to library’s or large organizations willing to gain access to a larger chunk of content.
So access control is key, but for some Associations it’s also critical they find ways to reach a much greater audience. If membership is declining are there ways to still reach those not willing to pay for membership, but still see value in a portion of your content. What about being more open to discovering other groups that you haven’t connected with that would also be interested in you content.
SO the opportunity is to use an ePublishing Content Management systems that allows you to think more strategically about your content, provides a variety of ways to organize and control access to content and be flexible to change that access as time or events change. Your in-house publisher may very well be your key resource toward membership growth and new revenue.
How are you doing in the race for relevance? If one of your association’s main value prepositions has been the collecting and sharing of information, but you haven’t embraced innovations in digital publishing, your relevancy is fading fast.
The pace of technology advancements in publishing can be overwhelming. However, it is disruptive environments like digital publishing that create opportunity for innovative thinking and solutions.
Associations have advantages with which to leverage these innovations. They have great, often member- created content and well-defined processes for gather- ing it. They have established communities built over time, something every publisher and organization is racing for. Many associations are now considering an investment in digital publishing as part of their
growth strategy. The right plan of action can protect or grow an association’s relevance, revenues, membership and value. Each is quantifiable and should be part of a digital strategy ROI.
So what are others “doing” to meet this challenge? Here are three stories at different points on the paths to exploring digital publishing solutions.