Season 3, Episode 7
Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer, Westchester Publishing Services
Tyler M. Carey returns to the podcast to talk about trade associations and professional organizations. He explains the specific publication requirements entities like these have, and shares solutions that packagers like Westchester Publishing Services can provide to help them get content to their members in the formats they desire in a more time and cost-efficient manner.
Read the transcript:
[00:07] Nicole Tomassi: Welcome to Westchester Words, Education, Ed Tech and Publishing. I'm Nicole Tomassi, and in this episode, I'll be speaking with Tyler M. Carey, who is the Chief Revenue Officer for Westchester Publishing Services. Tyler is joining me today to discuss trade associations and their specialized publication programs. Welcome back to Westchester Words, Tyler.
[00:25] Tyler Carey: Thanks for having me, Nicole.
[00:26] Nicole Tomassi: Always a pleasure. So, to start things off, I was wondering if you could talk about what organizations are considered trade associations and maybe share an example of one that people might be familiar with.
[00:38] Tyler Carey: Yeah, sure. Trade association can be a tricky term. There are some groups that operate like a trade association but perhaps define themselves differently like a sector or an industry organization or even some policy groups. One definition that I've seen in a few places is that a trade association kind of meets three standards. One of which is that it's founded by organizations that are part of an industry or sector. The second of which is that it's essentially directed by members of that industry to focus on issues particular to what they do. And the third is that it's funded by members of that industry. So one trade association that Westchester is a member of is the Book Industry Study Group, and Brian O'Leary, the executive director recently joined you on this podcast to talk about their upcoming annual meeting. So the Book Industry Study Group or BISG is comprised of a board and committees drawn from different portions of the publishing and book manufacturing industries. And it acts as an independent organization studying the impacts of topics like the supply chain on the industry as a whole. Westchester for instance, participates actively in BISG's workflow committee examining topics like standards for Epubs and best practices for indices. And in some cases, a trade association has a formal connotation to it like BISG's overwhelming presence as one of the go to organizations for policy and analysis in the publishing industry. But in other groups a trade association can in effect be more like a volunteer or a membership driven organization within a particular industry, like the American Bar Association or a policy group that studies the impacts of certain trades on the economy or other organizations that track or predict particular markets.
[02:15] Nicole Tomassi: So being that they're not necessarily in publishing in and of themselves, they may be adjacent to publishing or in different sectors completely, how are their publication needs different than say, a book publisher or legal publisher or someone serving what we call industry trade?
[02:34] Tyler Carey: Sure. So some trade associations do publish books about their industries and best practices. So again, taking the American Bar Association once more, they'd be a good example of an organization that is all about a particular industry but is not primarily a publisher. Now for the ABA, publishing is innate and an important part of their program but it's not their sole reason for existence. But if you look at my publishing alma mater, Wolters Kluwer, a legal publisher where I got my start, they're a publisher that serves an industry but is really an independent publishing entity. It’s not driving policy the way that, say, the ABA does. Similarly, you see a lot of publishers that may have a role in professional development publishing books about practices or trades, but they're not in and of themselves studying their industry as an independent policy group or trade association.
[03:21] Nicole Tomassi: It sounds like a trade association has, I guess, almost a singular focus, if you will, on that particular sector and serving members that operate in that sector. So their content needs would be very different than a traditional publisher and that would require different workflows or distribution processes, right?
[03:42] Tyler Carey: Absolutely. And even the type of content, right? You can be talking about continuing education content here. So again, it's one thing to be part of a large legal publisher like Wolters Kluwer and publish a lot of content for practitioners in the law school market. It's another to be a nonprofit organization of attorneys studying and releasing professional development content about the topics that attorneys need to constantly reinforce in their own professional development to keep up with the trends in their industry. And the same thing goes for nurses, architects, welders, accountants and so forth. So I mean, this kind of echoes a bit back to that recent podcast that you had with myself and members of our River Editorial Group, during which we talk about the different types of publications released by policy groups and foundations to look at another whole vertical of content providers.
But back to trade associations. The publications and trade associations, they can have similar formats and opportunities for content delivery, much like what we discussed there for policy groups. So oftentimes the content coming out of a trade association isn't a book you would find at Barnes and Noble. It can be, but it's often things like conference proceedings or white papers on a topic, professional development courseware, PowerPoints from a training or perhaps even a journal. A bar association may indeed have a book program, as many bar associations do, but books are not always the sole or even main content medium that a trade association is creating. It might be more common for a bar association's pubs program to create white papers, blog posts and other kind of channels for communicating with their particular industry.
[05:14] Nicole Tomassi: How do most trade associations manage those pieces of content when they're not a publisher?
[05:20] Tyler Carey: Well, that's where there's a lot of variability. Some like the examples of some regional bar associations, including some that Westchester works with, they do indeed have a formal publishing program with acquisitions editors and a book production department. But other groups we work with have their publications, whether they be a book or a whitepaper run through their communications department. And they may need to leverage partners for further assistance beyond what their own in-house teams can do.
When it comes to things like book manufacturing decisions that they might not need to typically handle on the other channels that they are producing a lot of content in, like whitepapers or conference proceedings. So this is where outside partners can help a trade association really scale what they do. They may have in-house expertise when it comes to creating the content they regularly produce again and again, like professional development course materials or publicity or communications needs. But the editorial skills specific to books or other forms of published content are a very different skill set and a very different workflow from how you'd handle a lot of kind of more of that corporate communications or white paper kind of content. So, this is where maintaining a bench of freelancers with expertise with these other kinds of content designers that are capable of things like book cover design or data viz and other areas of specialty, it's worth building out those benches to support that. It can be especially hard to staff for this if you don't have a steady stream of content in these other channels. So that's why having outside help can be great if you routinely publish press releases and continuing ed materials, but don't regularly publish whitepapers, books, ePubs or other formats of content.
This is where a vendor like Westchester can help provide specific editorial or production skills. And it's where we see other partners like Ingram provide services like Print on Demand and distribution services that perhaps a trade association wouldn't regularly use for their other content types. Or Silverchair, which is a vendor that provides online content aggregation and discoverability. So this is the kind of thing that we like to explore with our trade association partners. There's the stuff that Westchester can do and does really well. There's other things that are definitely outside our wheelhouse, like printing and distribution. But we try to explore these things with our trade association clients to help them find the right partners to fill those gaps in cases where they need a vendor or a partner to help with those kinds of services. That's why it's helpful for trade association to build a strong partner network so that when these alternate types of content come up, they have resources ready to go and expertise to lean on.
[07:41] Nicole Tomassi: It sounds like there's a number of ways that Westchester can help trade associations with those different content needs. Whether it's books or ePubs or continuing ed materials, it may not necessarily need to stay strictly within their marketing comms department. So what are some of the ways that we've been able to help trade associations manage these different publication requirements?
[08:05] Tyler Carey: Oh yeah, sure. We published a blog post recently with more examples than I'm sure people want me to rattle off here. But here are a few highlights:
- We recently helped a trade association modify content from their conferences and annual meetings that had been available as exported from Word downloadable PDFs. And we've made web PDFs and Epubs that are a little bit more portable and usable on different kinds of devices. This content was then made available on their website for free download by members and for purchase by nonmembers.
- We're also working with the trade association that provides content to medical professionals in a very specific field to create children's publications, stuff that is kind of outside the typical kind of like professional development content that they were releasing. These children's books are intended to be used by practitioners in their field when they're working with young patients to help them understand and navigate a specific medical condition. So again, stuff that wasn't the typical kind of content they created, so they leaned on a partner like Westchester to help with different services to create those kinds of books.
- We're partnering with the Bar Association to better package updates to state statutes and book publications that allow attorneys to quickly understand changes to the laws in their area of practice, as well as access direct links to fast case citations and their digital editions. We also help an industry trade edit and type set new editions, their backlist titles updating industry standards and information without wholly writing new manuscripts, kind of creating updated editions.
- And, we even have another partner where we create abstracts and executive summaries and even tweets that the organization can share as abbreviated versions of their larger studies. And white papers kind of lets industry executives skim the highlights before diving into, say, a 200 plus page analytical study.
[09:48] Nicole Tomassi: I'm hearing two different things here. One is that they could actually take existing content and monetize it, because you said that some of it was made available for purchase by nonmembers. So it's almost like they're investing and monetizing content that they already have. And the other thing I'm hearing is that there's a way to package the content in a way that makes it more accessible and provides better, ease of use from the people that they're trying to reach with the content. Am I hearing that correctly?
[10:17] Tyler Carey: Absolutely. In each case is going to be different. I mean, these are four very specific examples. But for any trade association that has content, whether it's blog posts, whitepapers, conference proceedings, books, articles, there's different ways that Westchester and other partners can help them take that content, package it up so that it's easier for their members to engage with, help share it within the industry and to your point, even monetize it, if it's something where they do want to look at printing it and selling it, or making for-pay downloads available, things like that.
[10:49] Nicole Tomassi: If there is a trade association listening and they want to find out more about how they can go down this pathway without it being a burden on their internal organization to carry all that different specialty, they should just head over to our website and check out that blog post and contact us.
[11:06] Tyler Carey: Sounds like a plan. Yeah. We'd welcome a chance to talk with more trade associations about the type of content you're releasing and any ways we can help. And certainly, if it's something we can't do, we're always happy to refer things out to partners that have areas of specialty for printing and other services that you might need.
[11:21] Nicole Tomassi: Well, Tyler, always a pleasure to have you here on Westchester Words and look forward to having you back in a future episode to talk about another topic related to the publishing industry.
[11:31] Tyler Carey: All right, thanks for having me. Nicole.
[11:38] Nicole Tomassi: Thank you for listening to this episode of Westchester Words. If you're looking for previous episodes or want to read additional content that has been shared by some of our guests, please visit our website, westchesterpublishingservices.com and westchestereducationservices.com. For an international perspective, check out our sister podcast, Westchester Words UK and International, available on the Westchester Education UK website, westchestereducation.co.uk or wherever you stream podcasts. We love hearing from our listeners and welcome your emails at: email@example.com. Tell us what you enjoy hearing on our podcast or suggest topics that we can cover in future episodes. Speaking of future episodes, I look forward to having you join us for the next episode of Westchester Words, when we'll be having another engaging conversation about a topic of interest to the education, ed tech and publishing communities. Until then, stay safe, be well, and stay tuned.