Our customers’ publications, training materials, and event-related content are significant assets for their organization. However, migrating these assets to the web for online consumption can pose significant challenges, especially if you’re looking to generate some revenue from it. There are many different ways to serve up digital content to your users, so it’s helpful to have a plan in place for how you will be offering access to your intellectual property.
Here are nine of the questions we ask our Digital Publishing Platform customers that you can answer to assist yourself in this task:
- Are you going to offer free access to everyone, or will some or all of your content be gated (either as a benefit of membership, and/or if purchased)?
- What will you provide access to? Everything? Blocks of content organized by year or topic? Content types (ex. Presentations, videos, technical papers, publications, manuals, etc.)? Chapters? Or is access given on an a la carte basis? Or will you give a number of these options to your users?
- Will access be given depending on the user’s role (such as attendee vs. member vs. non-member)? Or if you’re selling access, will you provide discounts to certain roles, or offer up coupon codes?
- Once access to content is provided, is a user able to access it “forever”? Or can they only access the content for a set duration (ex. five days, 30 days, one year)? Or does access get automatically rescinded on a certain date (ex. 12-31-2014)?
- Do you want to offer preview access to pieces of your content, either by exposing something like an abstract, or the first three pages of every document, or by allowing users the ability to view up to 10 pages of anything they want before they lose access?
- Do you need to provide accounts to organizations, where you would limit account access either by number of concurrent users logged into a single account, or limit login only to those that come from a certain IP address range?
- Will you only allow the content to be accessed via your site, or will you also allow for digital file downloads?
- Will you allow for your gated content to be searched by search engines like Google, so people can more easily find your content on the internet, even though they might be prompted to pay before they can access it?
- Perhaps the most difficult question: What makes sense for your audience and what are they looking to achieve? Do you need to research/survey this further?
As part of this exercise, assuming you are offering different levels of access, it can be helpful to put together a table that lists your different offers and content blocks. Such as:
- Full site access for 365 days for members, $499
- Full site access for 365 days for non-members, $999
- Access to all Continuing Education resources for 30 days, $199
- Access to an individual publication until Jan, 1, 2013, $249
- Access to 10 papers of the user’s choosing for 180 days, $69
Obviously, this can have varying levels of complexity from organization to organization, but when you’re trying to monetize your publications, training materials, and/or event-based content in a digital publishing platform, having a good plan in place is 90% of the work.
Have you successfully followed a plan to get your content online and accessible to your audience, or did your attempt fall short? Or are you looking to migrate your content and you still have questions? Please let us know in the comments.