You work hard to create courses that provide learners with the best education. Make sure your materials reinforce your association’s role as a trusted resource! Follow the 5 tips in this infographic to create training materials that help your learner and your association.
Lesson number one: Saddle stitch has nothing to do with horses or needlework. If you were surprised, please continue.
Whether you’re designing a conference program or syllabus for your next meeting or even a new training manual, there are many different bindings you can choose from. Selecting the best one starts with knowing what they are and when they work best.
Plastic Coil Binding
Looks like: Remember the silver coil notebooks we bought as kids at the beginning of each school year? That’s plastic coil binding… Except the only difference is instead of the metal coil, the coils are now plastic.
Why we love it: It lays flat making it perfect for those seminars and training sessions. It allows the user to flip the book in half for easy note taking. They also ship well as the plastic coil is more forgiving than the metal coil. Additionally, plastic coil comes in a variety of colors and has the option to accommodate tabs and dividers.
When to use it: When note taking is key or the book must lay flat on the table. Also, if your room configuration does not have tables, or has theater-style seats with the pull-up half desks. It’s great for those cool conference learning journals that combine the program and pages for note taking.
Looks like: Perfect bound books are the soft-cover books from our college days, or the ones we find at our favorite bookstore.
Why we love it: They have the professional look for an affordable price. With the text on the spine, they are easy to find amongst all the other books on a bookcase. Like plastic coil, perfect binding also allows the option for tabs and dividers.
When to use it: Best for proceedings, reference manuals, and educational publications.
Looks like: Saddle stitch resembles a magazine with two center staples on the spine.
Why we love it: It’s great for lower page counts under 88 pages, and it also lays flat.
When to use it: Conference programs, journals, conference marketing brochures, or other titles that have a limited number of pages. If you desire text for publication on the spine, this isn’t for you.
Looks like: The hardcover textbooks we lugged around in college.
Why we love it: Very professional in appearance which normally lends itself to higher retail pricing. It’s ideal for high page counts.
When to use it: Textbooks, manuals.
Other Binding Types (we don’t favor):
Tape Binding: It’s a lower quality version of perfect binding with a high risk for pages falling out.
Plastic Comb Binding: This is the lower end version of plastic coil spiral binding. Maybe it’s perfect for a college paper, but when it comes to your educational and conference books… It’s “cheap.”
Google the definition of “google.” (I know- it’s pretty much the ultimate google.)
The Merriam-Webster dictionary does not list “google” as a verb for no reason. Chances are when members are looking for answers they aren’t going to go to your association’s website to find them. What do they do? They google it.
Google is recognized and liked by your members, but is your association recognized and liked by Google?
If Google doesn’t recognize your association, neither will your members.
Using Educational Content to be “Google Relevant”
I’m willing to bet your association has a large amount of educational content from years of conference proceedings and training manuals to educational publications. Your valuable educational content is one of the main reasons your association exists. But to survive today in the highly-competitive playing field of the Internet – online existence goes hand in hand with being recognized by Google.
So how can you increase the likelihood of Google finding your association’s brand?
Hint: Google loves content.
Association Digital Publishing Platforms Have A Lot of Content
Many associations are now archiving their educational content in a branded digital publishing platform. Exposing your association’s education content from meetings, publications and more in an online archive is like a pot of gold to Google. You can then interlink your digital publishing platform to your association website so those googling content know who’s behind it. (You!)
Google especially loves content that is continuously updated and changed. This means as you continue to update your digital publishing platform with more educational publications and future speaker presentations from various meetings and training seminars hosted throughout the year (while utilizing various search engine optimization techniques), the likelihood of being found by Google and your members is greatly increased.
Unleashing your association’s content to this powerful search engine helps make your association more discoverable and relevant to your members. So the next time someone googles something relevant to your industry, you can rest assured knowing your chances of being found are a hundred (or maybe even a thousand) times better.
Wondering about the status of your educational publications? If only it were as easy as checking your best friend’s Facebook status to see how they’re doing, right? Oh, wait… It is!
Whether you’re concerned about how many publications you have in stock, if your course books are on back order, or you just want to know what the heck is going on, you should not have to travel far and wide to find out. If you’re more than a mouse-click away, it’s too far.
Five Must-Have Features of Inventory Management Systems:
Monitor Inventory Levels: If you’re lying awake at 3 am worrying that your course or publication inventory is too low to fulfill an order, you shouldn’t need to lose any more sleep before you can find out. Inventory management systems allow access to publication inventory levels any time, any day.
View Product History: Wondering how many course books you ordered last year? No need to call your vendor. You should be able to check it yourself easily and free of phone transferring hassles.
See Replenishing Points: Using your inventory management system, you should be able to double check your replenishment points for all products.
Back Order Status: You should be able to see if any of the products you ordered are on back order.
Ordering and Shipping from Inventory System: Did you forget to order enough of your instruction manuals? Or are you wondering when your order was shipped? No worries. Inventory management systems should allow you to adjust your order and view shipping information.
Take a look at your inventory management system. Do you know the status of your educational publications as well as your best friend’s Facebook status?
Stop and think about the process you have in place for distributing your educational publications.
How many steps do you have to go through when moving content from the creator to the recipient? And how many logins do you need to manage that those publications?
If you’re like many of the organizations we’ve seen, chances are, the mere contemplation of the process will give you a headache. You use one system to collect content, a different vendor to produce the final product, a third to manage inventory and fulfillment and possibly a fourth to handle e-commerce. Your system has probably developed piecemeal as you expanded your offerings and reach. And now you’re stuck with a complex series of vendors and systems that you have to manage.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just start over and build a fulfillment process with the components you need and the ability to grow in the future? Our latest white paper, “Simplifying the Production, Fulfillment and Distribution of Educational Seminar Content,” addresses the simplicity of a streamlined process for your production, fulfillment and distribution.
Here’s an excerpt that outlines three steps to simplify your process:
Step 1: Understand Your Needs. The first step to cutting costs and saving time with your process is to clearly identify and understand your needs. You need to ask:
How many different publications are you managing?
How often is content updated on average?
How much material do you ship of each publication over a set period of time?
Are you dealing only with printed publications or do you need a digital alternative?
You will also need to understand what information you need to manage your publications.
Are there specific reports that you will need to understand and manage production runs, inventory and sales?
Will you need an online store to allow end users to make purchases directly from inventory?
Will you be charging money on your store or will you just be shipping materials?
Step 2: Define Your Objectives. The next step is to define your objectives in reviewing your publication, production and fulfillment process. Having clearly defined objectives is critical to establishing a process that best meets your needs.
Do you want to reduce cost, outsource labor, simplify the process or make it easier for a client to order materials?
Are you looking for better reporting on sales and inventory or the ability to update content more frequently?
Step 3: Create an Efficient Process. Once you understand your needs and have established your objectives, you need to create a process to meet your goals. This is often the most complicated step. Some organizations involve various vendors to cover different steps of the project. They may choose a printer or CD replicator for production work, a different vendor to manage inventory and fulfillment and an additional vendor for handling their e-commerce site. It can be nearly impossible to determine if it is more cost effective to produce ultra-short runs of 5-20 units or long runs of 200 units if you use multiple vendors.
The easiest change to make is to consolidate your outsourcing into one or two vendors. By using the minimal number of vendors to produce your content, manage inventory and fulfill your orders, you can better define the run lengths based on the specific needs of your publications.