New Money: Content Upcycling
Marrying old and new resources can grow revenue.
With a heavy load of content work monopolizing staff time, ASIS International’s Teresa Anderson knew the organization needed to rethink its approach to creating and curating content.
“There was no strategy behind what we were producing,” says Anderson, vice president of editorial services at ASIS International, an association of security officials. “It was costly and not terribly effective.”
ASIS has several volunteer councils, whose members previously created content that staff would then edit and, typically, produce as white papers. With that method eating away at staff time, the group examined its content strategy. ASIS surveyed members and isolated the issues important to the industry’s future, identifying six core areas of content focus.
Now, ASIS staff members work with the councils to develop content on the core issues. They add these new resources to existing content to produce new knowledge “collections,” which ASIS sells to members.
Repurposing existing content “is the heart of the revenue piece,” says Nancy Green, FASAE, CAE, ASIS chief global learning and strategy officer. “When you’re able to take things that have already been created and direct costs are already sunk, we can package them differently and work with volunteers to add extra pieces. A volunteer might write a new piece, and then you can put a price on it.”
ASIS was initially concerned that the new process might alienate council volunteers who saw their topic areas dwindle, but the opposite happened.
“We started with revenue, and what we’ve been able to do is create member engagement,” Green says. “We have this strategy for content and members who are more engaged over time.”
Councils can still submit content on non-core subjects, but not in a way that monopolizes staff time. ASIS assured volunteers that white papers were not the only way to share content and suggested alternatives, including e-books and tip sheets.
“Our in-house design team created copy-and-paste templates, so they could take their content and put it in a template, and it would look branded and finished,” Anderson says. Staff encourages volunteers to share the resources they create this way in the ASIS online community, Connects.
The revenue bump has been small, but ASIS expects more. “It’s incremental,” Green says. “A 5 to 10 percent growth in revenue, that’s what year one looks like. If we are thoughtful, it will be scalable over time, and we’ll see multiples of that. I think It will be significantly more.”