SIPAwards winner shows how ‘social’ can bolster webinar audience

The first-place winner in last year’s SIPAwards for Best Social Media Success Story came from Mary Bart of Magna Publications. (The deadline for entering the 2014 SIPAwards is this Friday, April 11.) I was happy to see this morning that the Facebook page for Magna’s Teaching Professor, which increased its likes from 621 to 1584 in 2012, now has 3,948. Their success continues to build.

We’ve talked before about the importance of finding the right social media for your audience. What social are they on? But that audience can vary even within your subject, depending on event and product. The Teaching Professor has found that their audience responds to inspiring (and humorous) photos and quotes on Facebook, in addition to links to their blog posts and conferences. For Faculty Focus, a website for effective college teaching strategies, Twitter drives the most traffic. They now have 5,978 followers, 2,000 more than the end of 2012. Bart posts almost every day.

Magna also has had success with LinkedIn. In spring 2012, they created a private, invitation-only LinkedIn group for paid attendees of a two-part online seminar. Parts one and two were broadcast months apart, with a pending court decision in between. They encouraged the 145 people signed up to discuss the issues among themselves and submit questions for the presenter to answer during the live seminar.

Following the first one, the presenter provided the group with written responses to all the questions he didn’t get to and returned to offer updates whenever there were major developments. Leading up to part 2, they did it all again, soliciting questions, answering them during the seminar and then returning to close out any remaining or follow-up questions. Group members were very satisfied with the interaction and access.

This seems like an excellent way to sell—and provide extra value for—a webinar series. Not only is your audience taking part in the seminars, but they are getting access to a special group that they couldn’t get otherwise. Then in the period between the webinars you could send non-subscribers a look-what-you’re-missing email.

The SIPAwards give you a chance to earn accolades for the quality work you do. For us, it’s a chance to find out and share what members are doing. Social Media Success Story is one category we could use more entries. Best Use of Video and Best Website are two more. If an aspect of your website is accomplishing something of note—a landing page that’s converting, a confirmation that’s upselling, a Q&A page that’s getting noticed, even ads getting lots of clicks—we’d like to know.

Other categories? Many of you conduct webinars; we want to see the marketing plan you’ve used for successful ones. And did you launch any new products last year? If so, did those have a winning marketing plan? Best Investigative Reporting used to be one of SIPA’s most-entered categories, but my guess is that most publishers no longer have the time and money to do strong investigative pieces. If I’m wrong, please show me. Are you taking advantage of mobile, whether it’s an app you created or a special design? Again, we’d love to see.

The deadline is Friday. A new automated system makes entering easy. Check out all the categories. Said one past winner: “Winning after being judged by a jury of your peers is very satisfying in itself, but frankly and perhaps more important, is that the award is a distinction that has helped me build credibility with clients, which is important in this extremely competitive field.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline

SIIA Announces Education Finalists for 2014 CODiE Awards

SIIA today announced the 146 finalists in Education categories for the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards. These finalists represent applications, products, and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

This year’s program features 31 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models. Winners will be announced during a special awards dinner at the nation’s leading education technology conference, the Education Industry Summit, in San Francisco on May 13.

This year’s finalists are breaking ground with new business models and innovative products. We are pleased to recognize the best in educational technology with these 119 products. I look forward to honouring them all in May at the Education Industry Summit.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program. Educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. The judges are responsible for selecting the CODiE Awards finalists, and SIIA members then vote on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners.

Details about each finalist are listed at For more information on the Education Industry Summit, attending the CODiE Awards dinner, and to see a full schedule of events, visit

2014 CODiE Awards Education Finalists
[Read more...]

Content Exchanges Could Offer Subscribers New Value

Yesterday, I made mention of a partnership agreement announced last week between The Washington Post and six daily newspapers: The Dallas Morning News, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Toledo Blade, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These entities will soon be able to offer the Post’s range of digital products as added value for their own premium subscribers.

Could this type of content-sharing arrangement work for specialized publishers? Could SIPA members gather at the upcoming SIPA 2014 Conference, June 4-6, to discuss who among them it would make sense to partner with in this way? So if you publish content on hospital technicians, you could partner with a health care publisher. If you cover government regulations on food, you would talk to a publisher on nutrition and healthy eating. If you publish information on events in a certain region, you talk to a publisher covering other issues in that region and so on.

“What you want to do is create the kind of value that makes the customer say, ‘Switching out of this will cause me to lose a lot of value that would be expensive to get otherwise,’” said Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO for The Dallas Morning News.

Not only would that added content be expensive to get otherwise, but having it one place would be a bonus to your subscribers. The idea would be to expand your audience. Providing links is one thing, providing more quality content quite another. Maybe it would help SIPA as well recruit new members through a quality content exchange program.

A look at the schedule of sessions for SIPA 2014 shows new collaborations taking place each day. CIO/CMO - The Hot New Romance; The Editorial-Marketing Partnership; Technology Vendors: How to Pick the Right Ones. There is no better place than the Annual Conference to network with colleagues and hear thought leadership from innovators in the field.

In a CNN interview, Washington Post President Stephen P. Hills said, “This program is a way for us to work with…print and digital partners…to both add value to their subscriptions and expose The Post to a wider audience than ever before. We thought the idea of allowing people in other markets who are subscribing to that premium product to get [our content] for free would give us the best of both worlds which is to keep a large paying base and also expand that base.”

Note the word “premium.” I don’t think the type of subscription that Hills is referring to would be just a Sunday-only or limited web access. From the point of view of the six newspapers, the Post partnership gives them a reason for subscribers to upsell; it gives them more value for their dollar.

Hills was asked if he’s worried about losing potential paying audience. “Although there will be people who pay us today and would pay us in the future who now will get it free, the added benefit of the scale we can achieve very quickly will help us,” he said. “We think that exposing the broadest number of people to the kind of journalism and content production we have, will end up in the very long-term being very favorable for us.”

The “long-term” view apparently comes directly from new owner Jeff Bezos, who Hills said has given them a new “time horizon” and “competitive advantage” because of that. The Post may soon open up the program to other providers of high-end digital subscriptions, including Amazon Prime, which is increasing to $99 a year from $79, Amazon said last week.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline


Innovative Policies, Developer Content and Data Tools are Key, According to Education Officials at SIIA Mobile Learning Forum

SIIA this week hosted a successful meeting with education policy makers to enhance dialogue with developers of moble learning and other educational technologies. Discussions helped SIIA members better understand how public policies, funding and regulations are impacting their K-20 education customers, and provided education and government officials with an better understanding of the industry’s role, questions and concerns. Among the clear conclusions from SIIA’s Education Government Forum on Mobile Learning: Educators and students are looking increasingly to deveopers and service providers for adaptive, mobile content as well as data analytics as the engines of instruction and the platform for student learning.

The conference agenda included:

  • Keynote presentations from Rich Crandall (Chief, Wyoming Department of Education), Robbie Melton (Tennessee Board of Regents) and Kathleen Styles (CPO, U.S. Department of Education);
  • Review of federal and state K-20 policy trends from both analysts and officials;
  • Discussions about the migration to mobile learning; and
  • Updates on pending regulations and funding shaping the market, includingthe E-rate, student privacy and Common Core State Standards and assessments.

Among the takeaways:

  • Leading educators are turning increasingly to mobile devices to personalize learning and meet student needs anytime/everywere — They are looking to developers for interoperable, adapative and aligned content and tools; and they are looking for flexible public policies to support that innovation including the E-rate.
  • Safeguarding student data privacy and data security are critical — A regulatory framework is now in place, and policy must not get too far ahead of the problem and unintentionally restrict data-driven learning.
  • Common Core State Standards and assessments are moving forward — Implementation is hard work, but educator and public support remains strong as does their need for aligned instructional resources, assssments and data-driven professional development.
  • Costs and quality remain primary concerns in higher education — Public policies are pushing toward an outcomes-based model built around transparency and flexibility, while entrenched interests and undefined competency metrics stand as barriers to reform.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

SIIA Invites Education Industry Executives to Present at 11th Annual Education Industry Summit

SIIA today announced it is accepting speaker applications for the Education Industry Summit, to be held May 12-14 at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. Articulate and experienced executives and leaders from education firms, education institutions, platform companies, and those on the cutting edge of education are invited to apply.

The theme of this year’s Education Industry Summit is “Meet @ The Cutting Edge.”  Speakers are invited to present in:

  • Interactive Labs where attendees can learn how 3D printers work and are being used in the classroom
  • Lightning Rounds with fast-paced information about new learning games and global partnerships
  • Pitch Fests where companies share successful business plans, marketing strategies, and five-minute pitches
  • Roundtable Discussions to delve into hot topics with industry colleagues
  • Panel Sessions to dig into a topic more thoroughly with an appreciative audience

The goal of this event is to showcase what ed companies can do to help build the infrastructure, products and services to support the changes that schools want and need. The Education Industry Summit is a vehicle for established companies and emerging innovators to learn successful strategies and tactics on what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a mobile-rich classroom.

Executives interested in presenting at the conference may apply online here.

WHO: Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
Education Industry Summit
May 12-14, 2014
The Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

Making Content Marketing Profitable and Scalable

Content Marketing is not an easy business, nor is it easy to make a profit from it. You have to stay current and understand both today’s market and all the latest techniques to get ahead of the game. But when you do it right, the upside is tremendous.

That’s why SIIA/ABM/SIPA have teamed up with digital media intelligence firm StrategyEye to offer a seminar, on March 27 at the AMA Conference Center in NYC, that gets to the heart of what content marketing really is and how to execute it profitably. This seminar puts brands, B-to-B publishers, B-to-B agencies and cutting edge content and analytics specialists in the same room to share their stories and best practices.

Sessions include:

Why Brands Want It and What They Expect from Partners

  • GE executive director of global brand marketing Linda Boff will share why one of the biggest brand marketers in the world is putting so much emphasis (and dollars) into content marketing and what they want to see from media and agency partners.

Speaker: Linda Boff, Director of Global Brand Marketing, GE

Go-to-Market Publisher Strategies

  • How business-to-business media and information are capitalizing on content marketing, from identifying the opportunity (bigger marketing spend, deeper relationships, enhanced generation) to organizing themselves to sell and deliver content marketing solutions to how publishers price and sell those solutions profitably.

Speaker: Jessica April, Director of Business Development, Reuters News Agency and David Foster, CEO of BE

How to Create a Winning Content Marketing Campaign

  • Two content marketing agency specialists share case studies on creating successful content marketing efforts, from how they zeroed in on client objectives to identifying audience, reach and message to leveraging the results of the campaign.

Speakers: Jonah Bloom, Chief Strategy Officer, Co-founder, KBS + Content Labs at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners; Tom Stein, CEO, Stein IAS

Building a Content Marketing Workflow

  • Using examples from campaigns with brand and publisher partners, Jeremy will run through the formula that StrategyEye has developed for efficient and effective content marketing –how to pick the right topics, how to get the content mix right and how to convert audience interest into tangible leads. Whether you are a publisher looking to promote your own premium content offer, a brand looking to build authority with your target audience, or an agency making it simple for your brand clients, you will leave this session with a good few useful tips!

Speaker: Jeremy Phillips, Co-Founder and COO, StrategyEye

Reaching Audience — How do You Magnify Your Content?

  • Having shaped your content, you want it to be as discoverable as possible for the maximum audience impact. In this session, Kevin Selhi will explain the power of content amplification networks – how to most efficiently match audiences to content, generating new revenues and increasing audience engagement for site owners, while enhancing relevant audience reach for content marketers.

Speaker: Kevin Selhi, Partner Development Strategist, Outbrain

Postcards from the Edge

  • Content Marketing is a very fast moving space, with a growing series of VC-backed startups pushing the boundaries of what is possible – from content and audience analytics, to advanced social media engagement tools, to native advertising techniques blurring the boundaries between content and advertising. Before we move on to the round tables, we would like to show you some of the very latest developments – our panel of recently VC-backed startups will describe their innovations and where they see the industry going next.

Register Now | Learn More

Iyana Moore is the Marketing and Membership Content Intern at SIIA. She is a recent graduate of Stevenson University, where she studied Business Communication.

Understanding Content Marketing and Making Money from It

Content marketing is one of the hottest opportunities for both marketers and media, but how is this really any different from “custom content” or “branded content” strategies that have existed for years? The difference today is what content marketing can accomplish, thanks to digital delivery and social media, customer understanding via audience data and modeling, and the fulfillment of lead generation.

SIIA/ABM/SIPA have teamed up with digital media intelligence firm StrategyEye to offer a seminar March 27, in NYC that gets past the buzzwords to understand what content marketing really is and how to execute it profitably. This seminar puts brands, b-to-b publishers, b-to-b agencies and cutting edge content and analytics specialists in the in the same room to share their stories and best practices. Understand the opportunity and the go-to-market solutions behind content marketing.

During this unique event, we’re pleased to bring you the “best of the best” in terms of speakers, companies and topics — to help you understand today’s opportunities and the go-to-market solutions behind content marketing. View the exciting line up and register using the links below:

Register | Schedule

For more information:

About this event contact Petrina Hicks at or 212-661-6360.

About the registration process contact James Gerald at or 202-789-4478.

About sponsoring this event contact Heather Cejovic at or 212-784-6363.

Iyana Moore is the Marketing and Membership Content Intern at SIIA. She is a recent graduate of Stevenson University, where she studied Business Communication.