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My Association Wish List - 6/2/2009 -

Consider these five insightful questions that association publishers should re-examine each quarter.

By Brian O'Leary

Putting aside the long form for a moment, here are five questions I'd love content-conscious associations to ask themselves at least once a quarter:

1.What's my book strategy?

Good publishers are adept at linking content and markets. Every association should have a book publishing strategy.

2.Do we really need to print this?

Print-on-demandmakes sense for many (likely most) associations.Creating inventory that becomes obsolete is so 1980s.Create a file and print it when you have an order.Seriously.

3.Is there a for-profit publisher who can help us here?

If you are not feeling up to speed on books, print-on-demand or content in general, ask for help.What trade publishers are strong in your space?Pick up the phone and ask for a meeting.

4.How important is it that we control this business?

If the for-profit publisher is interested, you're going to face a sticky question of control.Try to get your arms around that early.Serving members is not always the same as control.

5.What do we know that nobody else knows?

Associations do own one thing no one else can claim: a view of their membership and their concerns.The point of view provided from that perch is often untapped when it comes to content.Trade control for the ability to deliver insight—that's the real promise of association publishing.

Brian F. O'Leary is principal of New York-based Magellan Media Consulting Partners. Catch Brian's presentation titled, "Write Once, Read Many: Creating, Managing and Distributing Agile Content,” at the Association Media & Publishing Conference in Washington, DC on June 4th. You can also reach Brian at through LinkedInand on Twitter.


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