Associations have always worked hard to be a trusted source of content for their members and the industries they represent. Today, they’re competing for attention against the likes of Google and Facebook. Members can access a flood of content for free online, which means your association needs to work harder to assert the value of the content you provide.
How do you make your message stand out?
First, continue to focus on what you do best: Provide trusted and relevant content for your members. Make sure your members know that when they come to you, they will find reliable information that has been vetted by a legitimate source.
Next, consider the following ways to strengthen your organization’s overall content strategy so that you’re able to be consistent over the long term.
1. Do your research
Never assume you know what your members want to read about. Use surveys to better understand member interests and pain points from their point of view, and compare that with data from your CMS to get a better feel for the types of content your members click on, download and consume. You’ll often find there’s a gap between what people say they want and what they really want. It’s important to pay attention to the difference.
You won’t be able to create and share content on everything. Focus on the subjects and formats that deliver the most value to your members as well as the topics and issues that are most pressing for your members. Ideally, you want to balance content on evergreen issues in your industry with emerging ones.
Consider making some content available for nonmembers to access as a way to get more people interacting with your brand and recruit new members. The more people see your content, the more they understand the value you provide and want to explore joining your organization.
2. Save time by repurposing content
Repurposing content is a great way to reach the widest range of members possible without exhausting your team. For example, if you host a webinar, you can repurpose that content in a blog post or a downloadable PDF summarizing key points. You can include highlights from the webinar in your email newsletter and share short clips and takeaways via social media. You may even be able to reuse it as content for your YouTube channel or podcast.
Recycling content isn’t lazy, it’s smart. Not everyone engages with your association through the same platforms. Make sure you’re reaching the widest audience by spreading the content you have across different channels.
3. Curate as well as create
Every day your members are being inundated with info from all kinds of sources. Position your association as a go-to place for information that members can actually use. Edit what appears on your website, in your digital communications and even in your printed publications to only the information that’s most relevant to members. Make sure members can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
In addition to making your content easy to find, make it a point to collect and curate content from outside sources. That includes affiliate organizations or industry partners. It may seem counterintuitive, but gathering great content from outside sources and sharing it with your members actually helps your association. People know they can go to your website or your blog to find the best info regardless of where it comes from.
You may also consider adding paid content to your content strategy—just make sure that it adds value and that it comes from partners who are aligned with your association’s mission.
Content is an essential element of what you provide your members. Stay focused on the reason why you started creating content in the first place: to support members. Reliable information helps them do their jobs better. By finding out what members need to know and where they go to find it, you will continue to stand out in the crowded content landscape.