TRENDS, in partnership with Qrisp Media, has released this analysis, designed to allow association social media decision makers to benchmark their levels of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity against peer institutions. These comparisons can be made overall and by association size and subject area. Any association that purchases the report will be added to the survey data and will receive a customized Social Media Summary Report. Details here.
Archive for the ‘Communications News’ Category
The biggest challenge for an association publication is how to provide information that is relevant to the industry, reliable to the public, and maintains journalistic integrity.
Association communications professionals joined other media practitioners in a panel discussion of the future of news at the Activism + Media + Policy Summit, last week in DC. The discussion was moderated by Huffington Post’s Peter Cherukuri.
Jim Barnett, in-house advisor to AARP Bulletin, discussed the rise of the nonprofit model in journalism. “As legacy models are crumbling, nonprofits – new and old – are jumping into the business and they’re doing news,” Barnett said. He asked the question that many critics of association news outlets are asking: “How can we have [objective] news within an advocacy organization?”
“An organization has to decide immediately: do you want to support journalism,” Barnett said. If the answer is yes, Barnett acknowledged that associations face the same issues the rest of the media industry is succumbing to, including funding challenges and organizational politics. He suggested that “the case for philanthropy [should be] attached to a mission for journalism” that furthers the association’s purpose. He also stressed the importance of reporting on issues that might contradict the association’s interests, to maintain credibility.
Chronicle of Higher Education editorial director Jeff Selingo suggested that part of the new industry model is a decentralized news organization, which is heavily reliant on contributors and freelancers, and in which news and commentary is shared across multiple platforms – a scenario with which many association publications are familiar.
Referring to mobile devices, Journal Register Co. social media director Steve Buttry said, “The tools of publishing are in everyone’s hands, so the community is creating content.” He said the job of the publication editor now is to gather content from the community and determine what to do with it, though industry professionals are still trying to work out the vetting process.
Barnett emphasized that, particularly for advocacy organizations, such as associations and nonprofits, transparency is increasingly more important. “Technology is accelerating the need for transparency,” he said. “People are willing to see you as a source, but they want to know where you’re coming from.” He added that it is permissible to have multiple voices write on behalf of one association, but authors must identify who they are and their interests in an issue.
Buttry added associations must concentrate on reporting within their own public service or industry niches, while localizing bigger stories to make the issues relevant to the audience. “Cover your slice, and cover it well,” he advised. Establishing the association’s publication as an authority on a specific issue or perspective will create credibility and position the organization as a reputable source on the issue.
Selingo had tips for organizations looking to monetize content. He proposed that some content be free – 40% in the case of The Chronicle for Higher Education – such as opinion pieces, which disseminate the association’s stance on a specific issue to a broader audience. Teaser articles to promote data-driven content also should be in front of the firewall, as should breaking news, which is likely available for free on other sites, anyway. But hefty data and survey results that are valuable to industry professionals should be kept behind the pay wall, requiring subscription or some other pay-to-view model.
All of the panelists agreed that organizations need to ensure content is good, trustworthy and not available elsewhere.
With the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)’s decision to approve the .xxx domain, a whole new realm of possibilities as it relates to domain name registrations has been opened, and associations — like other groups – are beginning to weigh the possibilities as it relates to their members.
For many associations, though alluring, generic top level domains are cost-prohibitive. The official price for a generic top-level domain application is $185,000, but National Restaurant Association CIO David Matthews admonishes associations to consider that appropriate consultants should be sought to help with filing the applications, which can add another $200,000 to the application price tag. Once one considers the possibility of dispute and auction fees if multiple entities go after the same domain, and takes into account that there will be a minimum charge of $25,000 per year to maintain the domains, the cost of registering top-level domain names alone may out-price many associations’ budgets.
Still, the possibilities available by registering a top-level domain name could prove invaluable for associations that can afford to make the investment. A top-level domain name could do wonders for an association’s brand and reinforce the organization’s prominence in the industry, or it could draw more attention to the industry as a whole. ICANN’s initiative will introduce new top-level domains in generic terms (such as .architecture), which will enable distinction for the industry overall, as well as for brands (such as .aarp), which will increase visibility of the association itself. Some associations are considering moving to register the domains with hopes that there will be a way to monetize them in the future. For some, it is a question of infrastructure, says John Nicholson, an attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. For others, he contends, it is more a matter of capitalizing on the opportunity before someone else does.
Software and Information Industry Association president Ken Wasch remains skeptical, calling ICANN’s initiative “a solution in search of a problem. I think it will go down as one of the biggest blunders ICANN has ever made,” he says.
Among Wasch’s primary concerns is how associations will be able to recoup the cost and monetize domain registrations. He suggests that perhaps associations could create a standard by which all groups seeking to register with their new specific domain should comply, but says that this will not offer real value, and certainly not enough to justify the cost of generic top-level domain name registration. Wasch worries that the cost of registration will prove to be a tax on members, who will inevitably bear the many burdens associated with the investment.
Generic top-level domain registration was among the topics discussed at the recent TRENDS Live annual technology update in Washington.
The tremendously popular Association TRENDS All Media contest, which generated 447 entries from 158 organizations last year, is now open for entries! This year’s categories have been completely revamped, and organizations can enter monthly magazines, journals, other periodic communications (daily/weekly or monthly), direct marketing pieces, CD/Video/Podcast/PSA, Advertising kit, exhibitor sales kit, convention promotion package, convention program, promotional items, membership promotion kit/campaign, directory, book/manual/catalog, annual report, commemoration/tribute, educational program, social media, or website for judging.
The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet is holding a hearing on “ICANN Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) Oversight Hearing,” at which ICANN’s Kurt Pritz is testifying. The hearing, happening now, has sparked an outcry from pro-intellectual property advocates. Excluding Pritz, all other witnesses are strong supporters of trademark interests.
Venable’s Jacqueline L. Patt, whose practice is focused on intellectual property protections, with a heavy emphasis on Web-based communications, says “The real impact of the [generic top-level domains] program will be in the additional burdens it creates on trademark owners in protecting their brands online. There is a potential for an increase in infringement of brands under the new gTLD program, and, as a result, associations will have to be even more diligent by monitoring the gTLD process and taking action when necessary to protect their brands.”
For more information on how intellectual property laws impact your association’s communications efforts, register for “Intellectual Property on the Web: Proactive Approaches to Compliance and Safeguarding Your Organization’s Communications.”