LinkedIn Gives SIPA Another Venue for Discussion

SIPA’s LinkedIn Group Attracts Good Conversation

You might not be aware that SIPA has a big following on LinkedIn. The group is under “Specialized Information Publishers Association” and there have been interesting discussions of late. A question was recently posted by Molly Joss, owner of the Seybold Report in Philadelphia. “We deliver one of our e-newsletters as a PDF e-mail attachment. We are thinking of sending an e-mail that points to a PDF for downloading—want to track number of forwards. Any suggestions?”

Becky Rice, director of marketing and communications at InsideNGO in Washington, D.C., asked if Molly had ever considered online newsletters that allow for tracking—views, forwards, Facebook likes, etc.? “My most recent organization moved from PDFs to an online digital platform that allows for this. A sample of the magazine can be found here.

Tom McKenna, principal and publisher of Shamrock Publications in Kalamazoo, Mich., wrote that he was very impressed with his first pass on mygazines.com. “I have been researching several alternatives for publishing digital versions of an upcoming law mag in West Mich. and there are a number of good ones, at varying prices. The mygazines is a bit pricey for the newbee but probably worth the investment. Any other input from members would be appreciated as well.”

And this being a SIPA enterprise, more feedback he did get. Paul Smith, the MD at Ctrl-Shift in the U.K., said, “…just to flag the blindingly obvious—have you thought about the impact on current subscribers? You are sending me my newsletter to my inbox and I can simply click on it to open it. If I have to now go to a website and download it, this is, at best, making it harder for customers and, at worst, you might see readership plummet. Indeed, if I wanted to forward a pdf version of your newsletter, I’d download it and then send it as an attachment to an email to a colleague (with a covering note saying you should read the item on p. 3 or whatever)—which would then stop you from tracking this pass on anyway! Sorry this seems a bit of a gloomy outlook but it points to thinking about the precise need to know about pass-on.”

Joss responded that yes, she has been “concerned about frustrating the paid subscriber—at the same time, I know that some subscribers have set up auto-forwarding systems that forward our newsletter to dozens, if not hundreds of people in their organization! Since we have group and site-licensing arrangements, I want to do what I can to make sure some groups aren’t penalized because they decide to be honest while others knowingly violate the subscription agreement.”

Lindsay Konzak, editor at Modern Distribution Management in Boulder, Colo. (and a recent Member Profile on these pages), said that, “We do exactly what you’re proposing—pointing people to a link to download the pdf. We make it very obvious with a pdf icon in several spots on our Table of Contents email, and a title of Download this Issue in PDF. It works just fine for us and is easy to track. All of our articles are also online of course, so many people prefer just to read it on the website.”

And finally, Smith responded that all may not be so easy. “…simply putting [the pdf] on your website as a downloadable file isn’t going to solve the problem because all a user has to do is download it and send it to a distribution list (or even simply put it onto a shared drive/intranet and tell people). In one of my companies, we had this problem and we sort of solved it via customer service—in calling our customers and speaking to them we always tried to understand their usage and found, in a small number of cases, that the companies doing this didn’t even realise that this was a breach of contract.

“[This is] a great upsell opportunity and be ready to be heavy-handed it about it. Most corporate buyers won’t baulk at paying more if it keeps them legal. If that’s not an option for you, I would start thinking about the approaches that Lindsay and Becky speak about—rethinking where your content is stored. Can you do an email newsletter that requires the user to click through to the content on your site? Or an e-zine with tracking by page? Both of these will quickly identify individual users who seem to be reading the same content 100s of times.”

Join SIPA’s LinkedIn group today.

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