Your blog is a powerful tool for sharing valuable industry content, extending your marketing reach, and furthering your brand.
Read on for tips to help you build and maintain a successful blog.
By Christine Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands
When it comes to sharing valuable content with your association’s members and prospective members, a blog is a powerful tool. It not only serves as a vehicle for sharing stories and information for your industry or profession, but it’s also a great way to extend your marketing reach and further your brand.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog for your association, or if you just want to freshen up your current blog, these tips will help you make your blog the best it can be:
Focus on topics that are most valuable to your audience.
This might seem obvious. But it’s so important that it’s worth stating: Be sure to focus on the topics that your members and prospective members really value most.
One way to do this is to stay current on association industry research. For example, look at the top most important benefits from the 2021 Association Trends Study by Community Brands to see the benefits that members in the study place high on their list of valued benefits, and then focus your content on those topics.
Another approach: Get feedback from your members. For example, send a periodic survey to gather your members’ thoughts and ideas about content. Read what they’re saying in your online community, and participate in the conversations to spark more feedback. You can also host focus groups with diverse audiences of members to find out more about their needs and how you can deliver greater value for many years to come.
BONUS TIP: YourMembership AMS makes it easy to gather member feedback, with survey and online community functionality built right into the product.
Vary your content.
Your blog can seem boring if the articles seem too much alike. Here are some ways to vary your content to keep your blog interesting:
- Mix up article length. It can be tempting to always aim for a specific word count for your articles. But mixing up quick reads (for example, 500-600 words) with longer posts (for example 1,000 words or more) is a great way to keep your readers engaged.
- Vary the type of content. You might focus some content on tips and best practices. Other articles might be thought leadership topics, such as industry research or insights about a hot topic. Still others might be real-world stories from your industry. Just make sure to vary the types of articles you share to keep things fresh.
- Keep things engaging. Content doesn’t have to be only about words. Mix in charts, images, photos, and videos when you can to make your articles come alive for your readers.
BONUS TIP: Using website design capabilities in YourMembership AMS, you can easily build and manage a blog for your association – without any technical knowledge needed.
Add some personality.
Your organization has a brand, and with that brand is a tone. Depending on your association’s industry/profession and mission, your tone might be casual, playful, or serious. Make sure your blog supports your brand by incorporating your organization’s identity and personality into your content.
As you write articles for your blog, link to other content, such as related articles or resources on your blog and website or other industry blogs and sites. This not only drives your readers to other content on your blog and website, but also can help to improve your search engine optimization.
Get others involved.
You don’t have to create all of your blog’s content on your own. In fact, asking others – such as your members and industry leaders – to contribute articles to your blog offers multiple benefits:
- It helps you provide more content than you could otherwise (especially when you have a small staff).
- It helps you extend your marketing reach as your guest authors share their articles within their networks.
- It adds a variety of voices to your blog, keeping it more diverse and interesting.
- It gives your members and industry leaders a way to become more engaged with your organization while gaining visibility in your industry.
Plan it out.
Your blog should be updated regularly so that your readers can rely on timely, relevant content. Whether you post daily, weekly, or monthly, develop a calendar of topics, authors, and due dates for at least the next three months. This approach will give you enough runway to secure authors for your articles and send them reminders as due dates approach. Also, consider having an article or two written in advance – just in case an author is late getting you an article or needs to back out at the last minute.
Starting and maintaining a blog for your association might seem daunting – especially when you have a small staff. But it can be well worth it as an engaging channel for sharing valuable content with your members and your industry and a powerful tool for extending your brand.
Discover more ways to strengthen your association’s brand: Download the Branding Toolkit for Small Staff Associations.