Weekly Features Resonate and Can Build a Valuable Archives

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One of my favorite SIPA member features is MedLearn Media's Compliance Question of the Week. "Get answers to tough questions relevant to your specialty." They have six categories, each including a question: Cardiology, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Radiology, Respiratory and General. So this does take some upkeep.

This week's question for Pharmacy is: "What code should I consider reporting for a radioisotope such as Y-90 as part of an embolization?" Hit the READ THE ANSWER button and you get a succinct answer, with a lead to last week's question, and an ad for MedLearn Publishing's 2019 Coding Books.

What's great about a feature like this is that people like to be quizzed so it draws good engagement, it's need-to-know content AND it builds up a comprehensive Compliance Question Archive. Their archives go back much longer than I have the patience to keep hitting "Older Posts." (Yes, they have a search function.) You can also sign up to receive the quiz each week.

Archives can provide a very useful resource for you and your audience. Here are some other ideas that make use of archives.

Dig for historic value. Your institutional memory doesn't deserve to be forgotten. There's a good chance you have old publications with significant value, just sitting on shelves—print or digital—somewhere in a makeshift morgue. (I know I do. Who remembers Hotline?) It might be worth doing a little digitization work every once in a while to ensure that this info isn't getting lost. Republish old ads and photos occasionally. "On this day 10 years ago..." We love nostalgia. Axios does this. In their sports email today: "15 years ago today, a hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers turned into an all-out brawl, resulting in an NHL record 419 penalty minutes. Watch: Footage. Read: Oral history."

Look for evergreen content ideas. Spring Cleaning (Out Your Email). Summer Reading Lists. Things to Be Thankful for at Thanksgiving.  At the start of our conferences, I'll update and publish Making the Most of Attending Live Events and always hear from a grateful publisher who is sending someone new. Last year, a member told me about a post they had first used in 2013 offering "reminders or ideas to try. While it's still highly relevant, it's not exactly earth-shaking advice," she wrote me. Yet the article received 144 likes and 45 comments from people sharing some of the advice. Five of those comments came in well after the post, so it was still resonating.

Use content from your online discussion or forum group—or your webinar Q&As. This has become one of The Washington Post's biggest repurposing strategies. They will have one of their travel or restaurant or relationships experts do an online chat and then you'll see some of that dialogue in the print newspaper. It actually makes for good, easy-to-read copy.

Take a quarterly look at what has resonated most. You have the analytics. Be transparent—let your audience know what your most popular posts were. We've been doing this for the last year and have received good feedback. Everyone is in a time crunch these days and is likely to miss an article here or there. It also brings attention to the moments where the content really sparked interest and revenue-generating ideas. "People forget about 90% of what they read after 12 weeks," said Luis Hernandez, managing editor/head of audience development for InvestorPlace Media. "Check your analytics and repeat your most popular posts every quarter."

Make access to your archives a valued commodity. In 2012 Harvard Business Publishing made the decision to open archive access to subscribers on hbr.org 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]," said Emily Neville-O'Neill, associate director of product at HBR. "We saw a 20% increase in subscription revenue right away."

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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…