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ACCESSE17 Conference Takeaways: Publications a recurring theme

The annual CESSE conference (Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives) has historically been focused on high-level strategy, so when we headed up to Quebec City for this year’s I wasn’t sure I’d be hearing a lot about publications.

But I was surprised at how many discussions—both in the sessions, and in the hallways—revolved around issues that publications really are central to.  The issues themselves are nothing new…
  • Recruiting, engaging and retaining members
  • Building organizational branding and identity
  • Finding effective value propositions for members and prospects at all points in their careers
  • And of course, adding revenue streams
What’s new is that we’re seeing more and better ways of using publication content to address them.  

For example, associations can recruit, engage and retain members by meeting readers where they are, making it easier to find publication content in Google and social media, and reducing the barriers to sampling, with metered paywalls, rather than strict access denieds.  

If you do it right, some of that traffic converts to publication sales and new memberships.  And more of it converts to awareness that your organization is the place to go for information that is both relevant AND credible.  

Another example: repurposing your publication content in continuing education, courses, leveraging existing materials to create offerings that deliver educational outcomes, and can be adapted to each waypoint in the member’s career journey.

A conversation I had on the flight up neatly captured the challenge.  The woman sitting next to me told me she’d recently started her career as an occupational therapist.  She’d had a student membership in her organization—the AOTA—while in school, but hadn’t renewed when that lapsed.  She clearly felt bad about it, and was aware of the research and other valuable contributions the organization made to her profession, but felt she could get the information she needed to do her job from colleagues, and yes, Google.  

Fortunately, AOTA recently started working with Tizra, and hopefully next time I happen to sit next to an occupational therapist, she’ll be reading one of their digital publications.

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