As an association publisher, you are responsible for so much more than just a bunch of pieces of paper or web pages with words on them. In fact, you are sitting on an awareness builder, an example of your organization’s knowledge and expertise, a membership recruitment and retention tool, a revenue generator, and much more. Here are some tips that will help you have success in all of these areas:

1. Know Your Audience

For most associations their print publication is one of—if not the only—tangible item that members receive on a regular basis. Therefore, it is critical that your publication knocks the socks off as many readers as possible with every issue. To produce the best publication possible, you need to truly understand your audience. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be for you to know if you have a very homogeneous readership or one that may require geographic or demographic versions of your flagship publication.

2. Grow Your Audience

A print publication is a great way to get your organization’s name in front of a very large audience. It is tangible. It is easy to share with other people. It is relatively inexpensive to increase your distribution since the majority of your cost is sunk when producing member copies. Some ways to grow your audience include giving away the print publication to targeted industry conferences and trade shows, using it in membership recruitment campaigns, providing it to VIPs like government leaders and other key individuals in your industry, selling reprints of popular articles, and suggesting that members pass it along to others that would find the information useful.

3. Sell Your Audience

Once you know and grow your audience, you are in a prime position to generate revenue by selling your audience to advertisers and other partners. Your association publication is unique because it reaches a targeted audience that no other publication reaches. In some cases, your audience may not be as large as some of your competitors’, but showing advertisers that you know your audience and informing them of how your are reaching this unique audience will increase their chances of meeting their business goals within your industry. Convince your advertisers of this simple fact and they will be salivating to contract with you for multiple issues. One key thing to remember is that since you have already taken the time and money to grow your audience, you want to make sure that you profile your entire audience to potential advertiser, not just your members.

Producing a quality publication is not so simple, but if you know your audience, grow your audience, and sell your audience, you are setting yourself up for success.