Two Publishers Monetize Their Archived Content

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"For every search done on our platform, we create customized filters to help you better understand what companies and institutions are being mentioned, what related keywords appear most often, the different regions the content originates from, etc. Instead of needing to dig through results and ultimately play a guessing game at what you'll find, we tell you."

That quote came from C.W. Henderson, president of SIPA member NewsRx in a member profile last year. NewsRx makes incredible use of its archived content—and with an 11.2 million-article database, that's crucial to their success.

"We are the world's largest producer of professional news and write more than 10,000 original articles each day," Henderson said. "Our two largest content areas are financial research and life sciences."

At the SIPA Annual 2017 Conference, June 5-7 in DC, Kalani Rosell, VP and publisher of NewsRx and Henderson's colleague, will present a session titled Monetizing Archived Content and Leveraging Your Data. Older content gets archived, and sometimes forgotten about. But it doesn't need to be this way—and shouldn't—Rosell will tell you. Your archived content can become another revenue source. I'm told he'll have a case study or two to highlight how success was achieved in this area.

A place that's also getting it right when it comes to archived content is Harvard Business Publishing, which is looking ahead by looking back. Emily Ryan, senior product manager, wowed the audience at BIMS in November with a session titled Analyze and Unearth Your Content Archives to Boost Engagement and Retention (view the conference proceedings, including the recording in SIPA's Member Resources).

In 2012 they decided to open archive access to subscribers on and haven't looked back. "We heard people recognized [back] issues by covers, so we started posting images of covers [to help them find key content]," Ryan said, "We saw a 20% increase in subscription revenue right away."

Here are 8 more winning moves Harvard Business Publishing made:

1. They converted their digital articles into pdfs—and kept it at the same price point. "People love to print our content, share it, dog-ear it. But we weren't providing pdfs," Ryan said.

2. They developed an editor-guided review for access to the archive. "How do we highlight the value of the archive to our readers?" asked Ryan. This helped.

3. Their Top 50 Slide Doc allows readers to more easily share content. It's highly visible and easy to consume.

4. The Insider newsletter goes to subscribers every Tuesday with a distinct voice. "The editor writes this letter" in a friendly tone, Ryan said. "She gives a digest of what she thinks our subscribers should care about most. The Insider has been amazing... It has been a great tool for bringing people closer to you and making them feel like they're engaged."

5. The Social Archive Program sends out evergreen articles from their great past—dating back to 1953—each week. It has brought an average of 180,000 page views a month in just over two years.

6. They're also in the process of taking archived articles and breaking them down into ideas so they're easier to apply to real situations. "We kept hearing that people wanted that," Ryan said,

7. They created a Visual LIbrary in 2014, taking graphs and charts to capture ideas in a digital way—so people can use them in their own reports and presentations.

8. Their "one pager" takes a popular topic and condenses it into a single page of takeaways.

At NewsRx, they've added customization features that allow anyone to create a report on any topic within minutes. Think of this as a custom newsletter creation tool, complete with an index specifically created for each and every report. It will be interesting to hear Rosell talk more about that. 

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…