Associations used to be the clear-cut place for expertise, events and networking on their specific topics. But each year, maintaining that spot gets harder and harder. Our convoluted, tech-obsessed world has proven that time and time again - innovation changes business and consumer behavior, which in turn shifts the fate of entire industries.
With so many platforms and channels swirling around us, it can be easy for your association brand and your message to get lost in the tides of wavering attention. Add to that how expensive it is to create your own content, and you have a deadly combination for losing your members' attention and mindshare.
Getting a content strategy for your association in place and executing it will help you fight back towards being the"go-to" place.
A Content Strategy for Associations
A strong content strategy focuses on two things: quality and volume. Quality is important because you need to write content people want to read. Volume is important because if you're not writing frequently enough, you lose the attention of your members and they become less engaged. Try following some of these tips to improve in both these areas.
Leverage Third Party Content
To drive content around your association is to be a recycler of information; a side-note in the grand scheme of things. To drive content through your association is to be a creator and conductor of quality content.
Don't be afraid to use content from outside sources. Your members are online everyday and may be visiting ten to twenty websites for information around topics that you should own. Provided that it's compelling and interesting to your members, becoming a single hub they can come to for all the information they want is a huge value add to them.
Driving content through your association is all about facilitating discovery and presenting a smart variety of options for your audience.
Some suggestions for places to look for good ouside content:
Utilize a Multi-Channel Platform
All the specialized content in the world is useless unless you can get it to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. An engagement platform allows you to leverage different channels by placing one interactive entity in the middle of your association's website or online community
The advantages? With this powerful base, you can avoid repetition. Many associations are tempted to post the same content on several different websites.
Flexibility is yet another advantage. Depending on your quarterly objectives, platforms allow you to shift the focus and channels of your content without having it seem incongruous.
Platforms can also aid multi-channel marketing in one of the most important aspects for any organization - analytics. You will be able to track and analyze activity much more effectively when it is located on one multi-faceted, social platform. In turn, this gives you invaluable insights into your audience’s mindset and consumption behaviors to assess what subjects and type of content is most valuable to them in the future.
You do not have to sacrifice your private offers or put all of your assets out on a platter to be had for free. Associations can allow their offers, instead of being one bulk entity, to become separate a la carte resources, all orbiting around the platform. As your “center of gravity” this platform is the ultimate attractor of interested individuals, both members and non-members. .
Platforms can successfully aid and clarify multi-channel marketing by:
- Establishing your association as a gateway for meaningful content
- Curating relationships with the association and throughout the community
- Leveraging recent events that reflect your ideals to be the bearer of exciting industry news
- Ensuring that the content you circulate has real value for your audience
- Knowing that it will reach diverse users throughout the world and in parallel industries (not just users of a certain network or the followers of a certain blog).
Get More Specific with Your Content
This gets to the "quality" goal for your playbook. You need to be writing content your members actually want to read. This may sound obvious, but too often staffers can get caught up writing what they want.
You know your members better than anyone else. You should know your topic better than anyone else. Mine the information you about your members and find where that intersects with what you know about and get specific.
If you don't know what to write about, ask your members what they want to read; you'll be surprise with what you find out.
There's a niche on the internet for everyone; writing specific content for your members and users helps you become that niche for them. A happy side effect of writing and curating lots of high qualtity and specific content is that you'll reach a broader audience than just your members. This can in turn drive money and interest to your association organically.
Your Goals, Amplified
To be realistic about reaching your goals, focus on making your playbook all about engaging your audience with fresh, well-thought through, and specific content. This includes circulating original content as well as content from professionals and members within the platform.
Creating a multi-dimensional space that you’re comfortable in. Comfortable to be creative, represent your brand, and relay your message to your audience. Your members (and larger audience) will thank you for it.
Written by Christian Britto
Christian is the Operations Manager at rasa.io
We created rasa.io because we fundamentally believe that up to now, the approach most associations take to online community building has been far too narrow. Networking, resource sharing, and Q/A are just a part of the online community experience, so we created a platform the puts member engagement where it should be - at the heart of your association’s community.