Nonprofit Digital Communications

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For those doing digital strategy work, including written or multimedia content for nonprofit websites, social media, and e-newsletters. This group is for those digital communications folks who create written or multimedia content for websites, social media, and e-newsletters for nonprofits. Members will discuss topics such as social media trends, digital analytics, developing content, storytelling, planning and resources, content strategy, and more.

Digital Archives

  • 1.  Digital Archives

    Posted 17 days ago
    Our association publishes a quarterly magazine, and a digital version of it lives on a website managed by our publisher. All we have for an archive right now is a list of issues along with a thumbnail of that issue's cover linking to the online version. It's ... not great. Do any of you have any great solutions for maintaining a digital archive of your publications beyond just a bunch of links? I'd love to figure out a way to itemize some of the content in each issue, but I'm not sure how to do that without the archive becoming kind of unwieldy. I'm sure some of you are doing this well, and I'd love to see your examples!

    Kara Potter
    Missouri State Teachers Association
    Columbia, MO
    Community Organizer, NTEN Digital Communications Group

  • 2.  RE: Digital Archives

    Posted 13 days ago
    Great question, @Kara Potter​​ This may sound weird, but I have passionate thoughts about "archives" and the web!

    Before going further, it's always important to clarify your goals and be really clear on why you want to reuse and unearth this information. Is it to get more engagement with new audiences? Is it because you don't think people are reading the magazines in the first place? Is it because all the effort going into print isn't getting shared with the website? (That's where I'm headed!) It could be those or a million other reasons.

    It looks to me like your current archives are basically PDFs in a fancy PDF reader. PDFs are great for printing, saving to hard drives, and maintaining a copy of information, but they're not a good format for the web. It sounds like you know this, but it's worth reiterating and thinking about the many downsides of PDFs. They're not responsive, clunky on mobile, big to download, and not granular enough (i.e. every article shares a single link) to share effectively on social media and in email newsletters.

    I think the actions you take from here going forward can be divided into two groups: 1) Past issues and 2) Future issues.

    Let's start with the future ones! I'd strongly consider shifting (at least partially) to a "digital first" strategy of posting your articles natively online and then assembling them into the magazine. This isn't all that different from using a blog to power your email newsletter. That may not mean all articles and features, but many are likely appropriate for the web or can at least quickly be adapted to the medium (or to print, if you start with web).

    No matter what you call it, the end result would look a whole lot like a blog and therefore would have all the benefits of blogging (SEO, sharing on social, etc.). You could keep it organized with categories and tags, syndicate via an RSS feed, and features posts in emails and on social media. In practice, you could potentially use this information to supplement an existing blog, start a new one, or create a separate section of the site with a different editorial focus more aligned with the magazine. Again, refer back to your goals for doing this in the first place.

    As for the old articles, I suspect that in their existing form they are likely stuck in your magazine archives. Even if you were to start posting more articles online in the future, I could imagine maintaining the online PDF archive for those of your visitors who think specifically in terms of the magazine (e.g. "I was featured on page 7 of the Spring issue! Here's a link!"). However, that does mean that articles in there can't have a second life. Whether it's you or someone else, the low traffic to the archives probably means that few people if any will care if you dig into those archives and use "evergreen" content as source material for new blog posts or social media posts during slow editorial times of the year. Again, it's unlikely that a simple copy-paste will be all you need, but cleaning up an existing article will almost certainly be faster than writing a new one.

    I'd love to hear what other people are doing with the articles and issues of their established magazines and print pieces in order to get more life out of the work.

    I hope this helps!

    Mark Root-Wiley

    MRW Web Design / / @MRWweb
    Thoughtful WordPress Website for Nonprofits & Mission-Driven Organizations
    Seattle, WA

  • 3.  RE: Digital Archives

    Posted 11 days ago
    We also have a quarterly publication that we archive on our website. Its in a snazzy PDF/e-pub format (no, I don't know why), but then we also turn each article into its own webpage. Its been interesting to see over time what articles and topics garner more search traffic. We are now talking about sunsetting the older issues, but keeping any popular articles from them to re-purpose elsewhere on the site.

    Sarah Meyer Hughes
    Manager, Analytics and Innovation
    American Dental Association
    Chicago, IL
    Community Organizer, NTEN Digital Communications Group