Turning Yesterday’s Content Into Today’s Gold

One of my favorite SIPA member features continues to be MedLearn Media’s Compliance Question of the Week. There are weekly questions in six categories: Cardiology, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Radiology, Respiratory and General. So this does take some upkeep. There’s also a search function—”Looking for an answer?”—a Compliance Question Archive, and a simple SIGN UP button.

This week’s question for Radiology is: “For reporting MRA procedures, is it required to have 3-D post-processing stated in the report?” Hit READ THE ANSWER, and you get a succinct solution, with this sales addendum: “This question was answered in our Breast & Bone Density Procedure Coding Guide. For more hot topics relating to radiology services, please visit our store or call us at 1.800.252.1578, ext. 2.”

This is need-to-know content AND it builds up a comprehensive Compliance Question Archive. Their archives go back much longer than the patience I have to keep hitting “Older Posts.”

Archives can provide a useful resource for you and your audience. Here are other ideas that make use of archives.

Dig for historic value. Your institutional memory doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. There’s a good chance you have old publications with significant value, just sitting on shelves—print or digital—somewhere in a makeshift morgue. (I know I do. Who remembers Hotline?) It might be worth doing a little digitization work every once in a while to ensure that this info isn’t getting lost. Republish old ads and photos occasionally. We love nostalgia. “On this date: 1/15/1892,” Axios wrote, “James Naismith published the original rules of ‘Basket Ball’ in Triangle Magazine, a monthly journal published by Springfield College, where Naismith was a graduate student and instructor.” And if you’ve been doing this a while, 5 Years Ago on This Day or May 9 in SIPA History can make for a fun look back. (Hmmm, I should do that more.)

Use for gamification. We all like the occasional quiz—look at the ratings-bonanza Jeopardy Greatest of All Time that just took place—and your archives can be a great source of information for the questions for those quizzes. Education Week and Kiplinger both do a great job with their quizzes, and again the information piles up the more you keep doing them.

Look for evergreen content ideas. Spring Cleaning (of Your Email). Summer Reading Lists. Things to Be Thankful for at Thanksgiving.  At the start of our conferences, I’ll update and publish Making the Most of Attending Live Events and always hear from a grateful publisher who is sending someone new. Last year, a member told me about a post they had first used in 2013 offering reminders or ideas to try. “While it’s still highly relevant, it’s not exactly earth-shaking advice,” she wrote me. Yet the article received 144 likes and 45 comments from people sharing some of the advice. Five of those comments came in well after the post, so it was still resonating.

Use content from your online discussion or forum group—or your webinar Q&As. This has become one of The Washington Post’s biggest repurposing strategies. They will have one of their travel or restaurant or relationships experts do an online chat and then you’ll see some of that dialogue in the print newspaper. It actually makes for good, easy-to-read copy.

Take a quarterly look at what has resonated most. You have the analytics. Be transparent—let your audience know what your most popular posts were. We’ve been doing this for the last couple years and have received good feedback. Everyone is in a time crunch these days and is likely to miss an article here or there. It also brings attention to the moments where the content really sparked interest and revenue-generating ideas. “People forget about 90% of what they read after 12 weeks,” said Luis Hernandez, editor in chief for InvestorPlace Media. “Check your analytics and repeat your most popular posts every quarter.”

Make access to your archives a valued commodity. In 2012 Harvard Business Publishing made the decision to open archive access to subscribers on and haven’t looked back. “We heard people recognized [back] issues by covers, so we started posting images of covers [to help them find key content],” said Emily Neville-O’Neill, director of product at HBR. “We saw a 20% increase in subscription revenue right away.”


Education Week’s Winning Online Summits

Two weeks ago I wrote about’s Zoom On In, a 20-minute virtual lunchtime session they do to focus on a specific topic. Last week, I’m told that they got 250 listeners signed on! Lesley Ellen Harris also co-presented a SIPA webinar about Zoom On In on Jan. 16. (Watch it here.)

Another SIPA member, Education Week, puts on a more elaborate show, but still free and with that same engagement goal in mind—with some profits mixed in.


“Education Week Online Summits are an ideal way for busy educators to access timely information about a range of critical issues in K-12 education easily by using their phones or desktops and integrating their learning directly into their usual workflow,” wrote Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live & virtual events, for Education Week, in his 2019 SIPAward-winning entry last year.

“This cross-departmental partnership led by the editorial team’s deep, rich content in a multitude of K-12 areas provides learners meaningful continuing education from experts in the field and practitioners in schools,” Cibellis wrote.

The video-friendly Online Summits take place monthly—in fact , the next one, titled Getting Reading Right, occurs tomorrow from 1-3 pm. “In this online summit, Education Week reporters and their expert guests will discuss the science behind how kids learn to read, as well as explore original survey data on what elementary teachers and education professors know and believe about early reading.”

Here are some reasons for the Online Summits’ continued success.

Access to reporters. The Summit provides readers with a unique opportunity to interact directly with reporters, practitioners and experts. Attendees can participate actively as peers in reporter-expert-peer/peer conversations around niches within K-12 educational topic areas.

Comprehensive discussions. The topics are diverse and newsworthy because they come from editorial. For tomorrow, there are 11 speakers listed, with topics ranging from testing and assessments to literacy, social-emotional learning, and STEM education curriculum and instruction.

Discussion rooms. During the event, Education Week journalists and guests staff online “discussion” rooms on a host of topics within a broader niche. “Attendees” watch a livestreamed series of interviews with the reporters who “break it down” for them.

Takeaways. Who doesn’t love takeaways? The livestream provides key takeaways, learnings and insights that participants can download in pdf form.

A 30-minute video wrap-up. After the 90-minute topic discussions, there is a 30-minute wrap-up hosted by Education Week editorial folks. For the one tomorrow, associate editor Stephen Sawchuk will “close out the day with insights from the discussions they’ve had with you, the readers.”

Editorial people get positive exposure. The Online Summits provide a showcase for Editorial Week’s newsroom expertise and the deep, rich content knowledge they provide. By lifting the profiles of editorial people, it gives them more gravitas and followings for the rest of the work they do. People might want to attend in-person events just to meet them or subscribe to read their articles.

Low costs. Costs are limited to the platform itself, which is also used to produce their online job fairs, as well as the staff time necessary to produce the event, carry out discussions and respond to reader questions.

It’s unique. Education Week says that audience members would be hard-pressed to get this type of online learning experience in their field anywhere else—and especially for free.

They make money. The model has been “so profitable” for Education Week that their newsroom submitted to the sales and marketing team an FY2020 roster of new topics (and some updates on former topics) for them to budget against. Tomorrow’s Summit is sponsored by Istation and texthelp. Microsoft is also a sponsor. And “development of independent content for this virtual summit is supported in part by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.” There’s a line at the bottom: “Would you like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities?” That leads to an EdWeek Marketing Solutions page with a summary of all previous Online Summits.

Added resources. More information is available in the form of Resources for attendees.


Turning Sessions Into Workshops May Provide Even Better Experiences

At our Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) in Hollywood, Fla., in November—or as some now refer to it, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood— Amanda Yarnell and Jessica Morrison from American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News, told their story and then had attendees collaborating and thinking.

(Members can listen to recordings of all the BIMS sessions here.)

The session was titled How to Re-Org Your Newsroom Around Product Without Breaking It. “In the past, “we didn’t really have an approach,” Morrison said. “We didn’t have a product mindset. What we did have was years and years of institutional knowledge inside people’s heads. We had a traditional style and a legacy newsroom that was the opposite of product thinking.”

After more description of their journey, Yarnell and Morrison divided the people into teams and had them choose roles and then prioritize newsroom activities. It was engaging and elicited some riveting and thoughtful discussion.

I thought of this again after seeing an article from ASAE this morning titled Attendee Engagement Tactics for All Budgets. Here is their number one recommendation:

“Integrate project-based, design-thinking workshops into your conference content. If your participants are engaged in discussion and idea-sharing, they will retain 50% of the information after the conference. If they are building solutions to real-world problems in small groups, they will remember 90% of the information. Small groups prove most beneficial if they include a blend of different mindsets and personalities within them. For some of my previous events, we’ve had attendees take Predictive Index and DISC (dominance, influence, steadiness and consciousness) behavioral assessments and used their results to form the small groups.”

This reaffirms the excitement that Yarnell and Morrison created and turns the electricity one notch higher. Of course, to do what they suggest, you would need the names of those in your session well ahead of time so you could get more information. But maybe it’s worth it. It’s almost the editorial equivalent of setting up customers and vendors at your events.

This isn’t just happening in our world. At our Corcoran School here in Washington, D.C. this week, GW University sent this out: “Join us for a lecture with [artist] Chantal James, of Rio de Janeiro, which will include a discussion and hands-on activity reacting to her project on decolonization.” And then I just received this: Paper Source invited me to a Valentine Card Making Workshop at their store next week. And they’ve tied it into the new film Emma. (Playing off of popular culture raises a whole other topic for another day.)

At BIMS, Dan Grech, founder and lead instructor of BizHack Academy, also quickly moved his attendees into groups for a hands-on marketing workshop. “The goal of today’s (very short) session was to generate peer interactions around shared areas of concern and opportunity,” he wrote to the group after. “You all collectively have the answers…” I heard good feedback from this session as well.

Workshops can also add to the networking that attendees are hungry for at your events, helping to build relationships among them that they can enhance later on. Achieving ROI from events is not just about attending the event as much as it’s about growing those relationships post-event. Perhaps that can lead to online discussion groups where attendees and speakers can continue the conversation, share resources, and recommend related online learning programs. Grech, for one, would hope this happens.

And speaking of speakers, doing an occasional workshop does give a session more of a beginning feel to a topic conversation, rather than an end. Instruct speakers to end their session with a “call to action” or “next step” for attendees. During the closing general session, announce a learning challenge. You could center it around a new approach to a thorny hot topic or the first steps to developing a new habit.

If it can get your audience moving and working together, all the better.


Personalization, Sustainability and Apps Stand Out in 2020 Event Trends

“Experience is not something that you try to emulate. It’s part of your design. It’s part of your culture. One of the most valuable things a destination or a venue can offer is their support in incorporating their uniqueness and culture into that experience, and that extends to professional services and expertise.”

That’s from an article on today’s Event Management Blog (now a part of Skift) from Julius Solaris. I recently visited Bob and Joseph Coleman of the Coleman Report at an event they did here in Washington, D.C. for their small business banking audience. The happy hour mixer, which preceded a full-day event, took place in a very impressive law firm office. As the Event MB article said, the venue enhanced the uniqueness and culture of Coleman’s event. People were smiling, interacting and felt comfortable and important in a top DC building near the White House.

I’ve seen a lot of event trend articles lately; here are some that I believe apply to SIPA members:

Gamification remains popular. In their 100 event trends for 2020, The Event MB Studio team found that 10% of the apps they analyzed listed gamification features as part of the app. “Drive traffic through the exhibit floor by rewarding points for connecting to sponsors’ booths; let people win rewards for acing a quiz on the keynote. Leaderboards and awards have proven particularly effective, as attendees compete against one another for more recognition as well.” Our BIMS event had a very popular engagement leaderboard with a 2020 registration as the prize.

The new job: event technologist. “Event technologists will be largely responsible for planning and implementing the technological strategy of their organization’s events programs,” wrote the Event MB team. “They may be involved in sourcing the technology, and will probably be the point-of-contact for tech suppliers. Event technologists will need to be problem solvers with a strong penchant for data collection and analysis. Event technologists will take event and organization KPIs and translate the data gleaned from their tech stack into ROI reports.”

Diverse speaker lineups. There’s no excuse anymore for a speaker lineup that lacks women or young people or people of color. I find that it just takes a little more digging—a look at your LinkedIn connections and their connections, or going through the week’s headlines in your niche—but it could be well worth it because a diverse speaker lineup should also diversify, and increase, your attendees.

Better analytics dashboards. “For 2020, I see an appetite for aggregated analytics dashboards,” said Adam Parry, editor, Event Industry News, in an article on the site G2Planet. “These dashboards pull data from multiple sources such as CRM’s, registration solutions, marketing platforms, and social media. They will help whole organizations make data-driven decisions rather than basing them on historical experience or opinion.”

Tracking onsite engagement. “The biggest tech trend will be analyzing attendee behavior as part of an integrated event management pipeline,” said JT Long, content chief, Smart Meetings, in her response. “[That pipeline will] track activity from interest to registration, emotional responses, engagement with content, and learning over time after the event to inform better future content and create lasting relationships with the company and other attendees.”

Sustainability. Event organizers are looking for apps that reduce their paper consumption and waste, doing away with the need for big programs. You’re seeing more vegan choices for meals and snacks. Look at past years’ budgets to see what areas you over-used and which were on par with your budget. Identify which area you want to target and track the biggest impact.

Even more personalization. As I mentioned yesterday in the story on workshops, some organizations are reaching out to attendees before a conference to help them set up a personalized agenda—and even to know which groups to put them in at a workshop. A recent study by Salesforce found that 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. And delivering personalized experiences drives customer loyalty, with 70% saying a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.


How Informa Jazzed Up a Report to a Profitable Tune

In 2018, the Informa Pharma Intelligence editorial and marketing teams collaborated on the release of its annual white paper analyzing the evolution of pharma R&D for the past year. But this wasn’t your typical medical or scientific report. It was more music to their audience’s ears.


“Using the evolution of music as the backdrop for the 2018 report, the team set the trends in therapeutics, diseases and company pipelines up against everything from present day pop charts to the birth of jazz,” wrote Informa on their 2019 SIPAward-winning entry for Best Editorial and Marketing Collaboration. “Additionally, the team created webinars, an infographic, additional articles, a supplement, and even an accompanying Spotify playlist based off the white paper to ensure its life extended beyond the initial launch and provided value for Pharma Intelligence clients throughout the year.”

Indeed there is a list on Spotify called Pharma R&D Annual Review 2018 with 23 songs such as U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You and Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory. And the cover of the Annual Review features images of headphones, a concert and a microphone.

Subheads in the report play off the music theme:

  • Plenty of debut singles, but the middle-eight is sounding a bit flat;
  • Novartis is still top of the pops;
  • New technologies call the tune;
  • Despite inharmonious times, Pharma keeps on rockin’ and rollin’.

The report and webinar acquired more than 875 client downloads and registrations resulting from Informa Pharma Intelligence email campaigns and website visits. And this engagement resulted in big revenue for Informa Pharma Intelligence from leads.

What jumps out at me here, besides these high notes, is the collaboration. That spirit of working together and sharing knowledge is also at the heart of SIPA’s new-and-just-about-ready-to-roll Executive Councils. Fortunately, there’s still time to sign up here.

The Councils—with some built around executives and others key topics—will consist of 12 niche publishers who meet by video conference 11 times a year, plus once a year for an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with SIPA’s annual conference in June.

“It’s so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day dealing with in-house fires,” said Stephanie Williford, CEO of EB Medicine. She looks forward to “forcing myself out of the weeds at least once a month to focus on the business instead of in the business. She also has the unique perspective of having been a member of Vistage, a peer network group.

While that membership has allowed her to “take a high-level step back, hear from the outside and focus on strategy and big opportunities,” it has been with people who don’t know her industry.

“I am really looking forward to taking that same council idea but doing it with my industry,” she said. “They’ve lived and understood your same exact challenges and will have unique insight and perspective. There are shared real-life experiences. The other thing I like is that you don’t have to leave your office to get this value.”

The last line of Informa’s winning entry sums up the value of collaboration. “[Our] clients rely on [our] expertise to make decisions in their respective industries, and while Ian Lloyd has been the well-known author of the report for some time, it’s a task unable to be achieved without incredible interdepartmental cooperation between analysts, editors, marketing and content teams.”

That same cooperation and collective spirit should turn up the volume for any SIPA publisher. Check out the Executive Council landing page here where you can ask for further information and learn the benefits and costs involved. We’re very excited that this idea has finally come to fruition for SIPA.