ence. Think of your marketing as
more of a squirt gun rather than a fire
hose. Choose your targets and offer
them great value.
Mine other data from the association. Your association should collect
data on all activities your members
and other constituents have engaged
in with you. Use this to target your
offers as well. For example, if you
have a new report coming out on the
same topic as a pre-conference workshop held recently, do a special mailing to those attendees. These past
actions make some groups a highly
pre-qualified list for specific products
TREND No. 3
Several publishers have experimented successfully with participatory publishing
models. In this scenario, the authors interact with the audience for their work as
they write it.
This came to the fore with technology
publishers a couple of years ago, where
early drafts of a book were sold with the
promise of a final copy when finished.
Pragmatic Programmers, a computer programming book publisher, pioneered this
method with a book a on a hot new web
application framework, Ruby on Rails.
Early drafts were sold on their website,
and the authors wrote a blog tracking
their progress. The early buyers had first
access to content they desperately wanted,
and they submitted fixes and comments
that the author was then able to incorpo-
WHEN YOU LOOK
CLOSELY AT MUCH OF
THE ACTIVITY ON SOCIAL
NETWORKS SUCH AS
AND EVEN LINKEDIN,
YOU’LL BEGIN TO NOTICE
THAT THE CURRENCY OF
THE REALM IS CONTENT.
rate into the work. The book, when published, sold out its entire print run before
the ink was dry and had virtually no
errata. Quite an achievement for a technical book!
This participatory model works best
for hot topics that do not yet have many
extant works available. It can be a natural
fit for many association publishers since
membership organizations tend to have
highly participatory traditions.
To implement this kind of process, you
need to have a few things in place:
Automated draft publishing.
Pragmatic Programmers had automated their process of taking the
author’s manuscript and turning it
into a PDF that could be sold in their
site. This made pushing out new revisions quite easy to do. Developing
this capacity for your own publishing
efforts will enable this model of publishing, reducing the labor required
for each revision.
Authors who want to engage with
readers. Your authors for the project
must be willing and able to engage
with readers in public and private. If
the authors aren’t willing to let readers participate in some way, then the
publishing process won’t be very participatory. This is critical: Don’t try
this without full author support. You’ll
end up alienating a good part of your
membership and market if you
announce a participatory project and
then the author fails to engage online.
Social media capacity. Your author
and publishing staff should be social
media savvy. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook
and other platforms can all be key
components of getting the word out
about your project and engaging with
TREND No. 4
When you look closely at much of the
activity on social networks such as Twitter,
Facebook, and even LinkedIn, you’ll
begin to notice that the currency of the
realm is content. A primary activity for
many people on these networks is
announcing, sharing, and recommending
content from all around the web to their
contacts and followers. The most active
people are constantly searching for new
content that they think is valuable enough
to share with their network.
This is a great opportunity for association publishers. You have a membership
that already values you and your content
and are primed to share it if you plant the
right seeds. For those embracing open
access for scholarly publications, having a
sharing strategy for expanding the content’s
reach maximizes the value of your strategic
shift in allowing access to the content.
Here are the key things to consider
about the “shareability” of your content:
Do you have anything in public
worth sharing? If all of your content
is behind a membership wall, it will
not be shared in social networks. You
need to put some content out there in
the world in order for it to be shared
and the word spread on your association’s value.