Before you create marketing content or distribute association communications, ask yourself:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Am I delivering the right message to the right audience?
- How can I distribute content most effectively to the right people?
It seems like a simple approach, but many associations mistakenly believe that “some is good, but more is always better” when communicating with members.
However, the value you provide members is defined by quality, not quantity. This is why associations must customize content for each specific piece by defining its purpose, and then strategically use the most effective channels for distribution.
Define the Purpose of Your Content
What do you want your content to achieve? All decisions for content creation must start with a clear goal in mind. Customized content can:
- Build awareness of your association.
- Increase membership.
- Retain membership.
- Drive referral members.
- Engage members more effectively.
- Motivate idle members into active members.
- Update your image.
- Create an internet presence.
The Three Types of Association Content
All association marketing, branding and member communication falls into three basic content categories, each driven by a specific member connection. Once you have identified the purpose of your content, decide which type of content can deliver the connection you are looking to achieve.
1. Emotional Content: Emotions drive decisions, prompt actions, influence choices and engage members at the core level. By tailoring your content to speak to immediate needs and offer solutions, you can create loyalty and a deep personal connection.
To generate effective, emotional content, use words and messages that resonate with members beyond just the nuts and bolts of your association. Explain how you will enrich their lives and careers, and you’ll find they will be loyal to your brand.
2. Identity-Based Content: Members join associations that represent their same desires and goals. These shared objectives define your membership’s “identity” and, by tailoring content to position your association as the champion of that identity, you can obtain and retain long-term, dues-paying members.
Your association represents a collective industry, group or demographic. Keep your content focused on being their most effective spokesperson.
3. Informational Content: No sales pitch here. Matter-of-fact content is most effective because you are clearly explaining what your association does, how it does it and what the results are. Informational content enables you to demonstrate the real value your association creates for members and defines what they will receive for their dues.
You will rarely a need communications that blend all three types of content. Concentrate on one, clearly-focused type of content, per your defined goals, for best results.
Specific Delivery Channels for Specific Audiences
There are a number of online and traditional marketing channels that can effectively deliver your tailored content, each with a unique advantage. Think about your membership and how they communicate. Explore the communication channels below to determine the most effective way to reach your desired audience, and craft your message to achieve your customized content’s purpose.
- Social Media
- Member Newsletters
- Buyers’ Guides
- Email Sends
- Customized Career Centers and Job Boards