Membership marketing: What your association needs to know about content purpose and frequency

Your content can’t serve its purpose if it’s not distributed effectively.

Tips for building the right content mix for your membership marketing plan.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands

Your association is a valuable source of information for your industry. Chances are, you create a great deal of content to deliver this value for your members. But, are you considering the purpose of your content and how often you share it as part of your membership marketing plan?

As the ASAE Foundation’s study, Association Content Strategies for a Changing World points out, your content can’t serve its purpose if it’s not distributed effectively. A solid membership marketing plan must include a plan, or a map, for how you will deliver the most effective content in the most effective way with the most effective timing to attract new members and provide value to current members.

It’s clear that this topic is top of mind for many associations today. In recent webinars we’ve hosted and presented at YourMembership, association professionals have been especially interested in this image:

The image sparks a lot of questions about the ideal content mix for associations. But, here’s an important point: The image isn’t meant to be a precise formula. It’s more of a directional roadmap – an example.

Each association’s content map will look different, depending on their industry, staff, budget, member preferences, and other factors. The key is to make sure you are defining what your specific content is doing and how frequently you’re sharing it with prospective and current members.

Here are a few tips to guide you as you build out your association’s content mix:

  • Build a plan for content with varying purposes – such as providing industry information, starting a conversation, or entertaining – and determine the frequency for sharing each associated content type.
  • Don’t let the frequency overwhelm you. Before you start developing new content, look at what you already have. You likely have more than you think – content that can be re-used, re-purposed, and even used as a launching point for new content. Ask your volunteers and most involved members what topics are important to them, and even ask them to help you produce content. Also, pay attention to what your members are talking about in your online community, and don’t be afraid to re-share or re-post your members’ content.

TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) includes online community technology. It’s built in to help you increase social and community collaboration. It connects members to personalized dynamic content, career and learning opportunities, and member benefits.

  • Consider prospective members. A primary purpose of your content for prospective members is to give them a preview of the great content they would receive if they joined your association, so be sure to share some compelling content that non-members do not need a log-in to access.
  • Diversify your content media. Providing a mix of content media – emails, articles, videos, etc. – keeps information interesting and engaging for your members. For example, you might provide blog articles on a topic, send emails about those topics that point to the articles for additional information, and compile the articles into one paper as a one-stop resource for members.
  • Use multiple channels. Be sure to share your content through multiple channels – including your website, email, social media, and online community – to make sure you reach your audience through their preferred communications channels.
  • Ask for feedback. One of the best ways to know if you’ve hit on the right content/frequency mix is by asking your members. Consider sending a survey to your members to better understand the topics that are most important to them and how often they’d like to receive each type of content.

TIP: YourMembership association management software has survey and polling functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and get feedback.

Learn more
Your content/frequency mix is a critically important part of your association’s membership marketing. Discover more tips and best practices for member recruitment and engagement: Watch the on-demand webinar, Fundamentals of member marketing for small staff associations.

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