Association Publishers Make the Case for Digital
A report from the SNAP conference.
“I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way,” he said, reciting a line from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society.
During the workshop, entitled “What’s Next?: Creating the Association Publication of the Future,” attendees shared thoughts on design, content and evolving demographics and how they might recreate their publications if they could relaunch today with a clean slate.
“Print is old,” said one attendee. “We need to learn how to funnel content to the Web in a timelier fashion.”
When asked, about half of the 80 or so attendees indicated that they produce a digital version of their magazine. Only about 10 said they have a blog on their Web site.
“We’re so happy you went digital,” said Greg Fine, director of communications and executive editor of Forum magazine, about the reaction he received from younger members of his association after the magazine launched a digital edition. “They said, ‘We read the digital edition to determine what articles in the hard copy we really want to read.’ I thought to myself, ‘Wow, what a cool experience.’ That was completely not the experience we expected to get.”
Making the case for digital
The digital conversation continued during a late morning session, “Going Digital: Expand the Reach of Your Association Magazine.” Elise Swinehart, assistant director with the American Chemical Society, which publishes 36 journals and a weekly magazine that has 138,000 subscribers, said that after partnering with digital producer Texterity and creating a pilot program for its international subscribers, the society found that about 40 percent of the 10,000 people who renewed opted to receive the digital edition of the magazine.
Producing digital editions has been an efficient cost-saver for the
“That’s some pretty significant money," Vick said.