By Jalene Bowersmith, Executive Director
Based on 4 Trends Reinventing Association Websites presented by Ray van Hilts, Director, Client Strategy and Marketing, Vanguard Technology
As content marketing becomes more and more popular, associations are uniquely posed to promote the extensive amount of content they have created over the years. Content marketing encompasses the sharing of content to drive profitability and improve brand loyalty, while attracting and engaging members and potential members.
There are two basic types of content an association can market: formal and informal.
Informal – Social Media, Micro Videos, Blog Posts
Formal – Fact Sheets, News Articles, Features, Emails, Webinars, White Papers, Evergreen Content
Associations tend to have a lot of formal content. One way to jump-start the content marketing process and leverage formal content quickly is to perform a content audit. Determine what content the organization has and where it is located. Then determine the best place for that content to live. If the organization is planning to share most of the content with members and non-members, creating a library connected to the association website can become a convenient way to archive, tag and potentially repurpose content.
During the content audit consider what content is relevant today. Evergreen content may be the basis for a best practices library or web page on your site. Fact sheets or checklists may assist a particular category of member with their processes and be featured on a blog, or given new life in an article. There are many ways an organization can repurpose content; videos, educational opportunities, newsletters and articles are just a few options.
Now that you know what formal content you have, what is relevant, and how to repurpose it, think about the best audience for marketing that content. Determine the best way to share specific content and who you want to share it with. Is this content for members only, or will it help the organization’s profile to share it with the public? Should members pay extra to access the content (such as an educational webinar), or is it included with their membership fee. Asking these questions will help you determine where the content should live and how valuable it is to the organization, members and the public. In order to have a successful content marketing campaign it is important to think about content as having value and being marketable. Keep the following Content Marketer’s Manifesto tips in mind:
#1 I am a Marketer. If you are creating content, you are engaged in marketing.
#2 I hold the hottest tool for retention – Content. Relevant content is the best way to create value for members.
#3 My content is aligned with the organization’s goals. I create content that achieves my organization’s goals.
#4 I am in the influencing behavior game. My purpose is to provide value through content to influence and drive behavior.
#5 I have an ongoing dialogue. Content topics are driven by ongoing discussion and listening to member’s needs.
By shifting your thinking and seeing content as a marketing tool to reach potential members and engage longtime members, the organization can begin to develop a structure and process for sharing content across many different platforms.