12 of the Best Ideas from the 2006 SIPA Conference

Online Publishing Tips from SiPA

Early this week, more than 570 publishers gathered at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, for the Specialized Information Publishers Association’s (SiPA) 30th Annual International Newsletter & Specialized-Information Conference. This year’s theme was: “Get Creative! Right-Brain Thinking for Publishing Profits.”

The Grand Finale was a wrap-up of the best ideas from the conference, and here’s what I was able to jot down as each Track Chair rattled off what they thought were the most fascinating ideas.

  1. It’s fair to assume almost every publishing organization is struggling to increase productivity amongst editors. We now expect them to write Web copy, audio conference copy, etc… Consider calling your editors “content generators.”
  2. “Demanding” increased productivity from your editorial staff is not the most effective way of getting the job done.
    Try referring to this change as “job enlargement” and make them realize that you aren’t just asking them to do more work, you’re giving them opportunity to learn new skills.
  3. Don’t forget the power of sponsor white papers.
    They typically contain extremely valuable, relevant content for your readers and can be a great lead agent for generating email addresses. Don’t forget to track all the new names!
  4. If you’re running conferences, don’t forget the power of your vendors.
    Remember to evaluate them, keep vendor contact going by continuing to promote them year-round and have your attendees evaluate their experiences with your vendors.
  5. How do you find, hire and keep the best employees?
    Thank them, pay them, inspire them and allow them plenty of networking opportunities.
  6. An idea for direct mail copywriting that can also be applied to landing page copywriting: set a bar for entry.
    “The Secrets Contained in This Program are Too Powerful for a Novice.” Also consider adding “Do Not Bend” to the outside of the envelope, even if the envelope’s contents could, technically, be bent.
  7. A really “out-of-the-box” renewal idea: consider having your readers name their own price.
    If you’re going to lose them, you might as well ask what they’d be willing to pay to get another year of your publication. Even if they say $1. Honor it. Just make sure they only get that offer once.
  8. Don’t forget the power of RSS feeds and blogs.
    RSS feeds are a great way to reach a larger audience and blogs are great for search engine optimization. Remember to train your readers to use the RSS and to optimize your blog postings for the search engines.
  9. Consider paying for testimonials.
    They really are that powerful.
  10. Supercharge your guarantee language.
    Specifically state: “Unless you get you will get your money back.”
  11. Don’t forget the power of using audio and video on your website.
    We’ve seen lifts as high as 37 percent on landing pages that use audio or video to enhance the message.
  12. With “job enlargement” comes a lot of tension in the newsroom.
    Introduce the power of humor to your organization. Consider performing a number of skits mocking your leaders at your next company get-together.

Our congratulations to the 2006 conference committee, led by Nancy McMeekin of Oakstone Publishing, for putting together a stellar program.

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