One of the core functions of every association is to provide its members access to the latest and most important industry information, such as industry benchmark reports, survey results, regulation updates and articles from a variety of relevant publications. The question is: do we always succeed at this goal?
Unfortunately not. Many associations struggle to consistently generate meaningful content for their websites and social media profiles. Too often these useful documents gather dust in hard-to-reach sections of association websites. For members it’s a case of too much information and not enough time to trawl through the archives, while for non-members the libraries remain completely inaccessible. All that content, so few eyeballs.
Wait, there must be something we can do to turn hidden content into helpful content? Absolutely. In fact, here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
Give it structure, make it searchable. It’s not enough to upload a pdf version of your magazine to your website. This makes it difficult to read and frustrating to navigate, but most of all it’s nearly impossible to save and refer back to individual articles in future. The solution is to create a blog – either through your own website or through an external platform like WordPress. Write separate articles for each item in your library, as this will help members find the content that’s relevant to their query and, significantly, share it via their own social media profiles. What’s more, this method will improve your website’s SEO (search engine optimisation). If you prefer to distribute content to members only, but want to generate broad interest in the type of content you create, simply build ‘teaser’ pages with links to more comprehensive, restricted pages.
Don’t be scared of sharing. Yes, promoting content via social media sounds obvious, but some associations hesitate to promote their content repeatedly and across multiple platforms. Remember, not everyone sees everything you post all of the time, so there’s nothing wrong with sharing a link to a report or webpage on a few separate occasions – particularly when the content remains highly relevant after the original post. Again, with a structured and shareable content library you’ll have enough reference points to create consistent social media posts and enjoy regular communication with your audience.
Engage with members. Ther’e a strong chance your members have their own blogs or publications and would like to share content with their peers. By creating a platform for industry informaion exchange and promoting your members’ articles, opinions and event presentations, you build a two-way communication and marketing path that extends indefinitely.
Learn the art of collaboration. Sometimes related associations and institutions own content that is also very useful to your members. Well, why not work together to benefit both parties? Collaborating with educational institutions, for example, can provide you with access to interesting research data and tips for your young members on how to develop their careers.
Create an industry reference point. Your members require all different types of assistance – sometimes you can provide it directly, and other times you need to point them in the right direction. Build a handy directory with the names and contact details of relevant suppliers, a calendar of future events, a jobs board, and links to educational institutions for a start. There’s no limit to how informative your directory can be. It’s all about making life easier for both existing and potential members.