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Four More Ways to Get Your Members on the Write Path - 12/13/2011 -

In the second installment of this two-part series, here are some additional strategies to encourage member authorship in your publications.

By Apryl Motley, CAE

1. Develop an author-get-an-author contest or campaign.

Make it fun for members to help you recruit more authors by sponsoring contests or campaigns where they earn money towards a future purchase, a gift card in a nominal amount, recognition in your print and electronic publications, or simple (but enticing) bragging rights based on how many new authors they are able to recruit in 12 to 18 months. The length of your contest or campaign may vary based on the frequency of your publications, but give your members a good reason to go through their contacts.

2. Ask another member to solicit a new author.

Nothing is more flattering to your members than having their peers recognize their expertise by encouraging them to write articles. Draft a short email message your members can use as a template to reach out to their peers on your behalf. The editorial team could develop a Top10 list of members they want to see published within a specified timeframe, and then determine who might be the best member to contact them to extend the invitation.

3. Pair them with associate members or industry partners.

Whatever terms your association uses to describe this category of members, they are usually eager to write for your publications. However, you may be concerned about the content of their articles. One strategy for ensuring their articles are topical and not advertorial is to structure your author guidelines to strongly suggest that industry partners co-write their articles with practitioners working in the industry or profession that your organization represents. These are perfect pairings: Industry partners are pleased to get editorial exposure in your publications, and you have recruited more member authors.

4. Solicit conference presenters as authors.

The roster of speakers from your associationís annual meeting or another educational event could be a veritable gold mine of potential member authors, especially since technically, they wonít be starting from scratch. Because they have already researched topics in preparation for their presentation, itís likely they have additional material that they werenít able to include in their presentations, or there are areas that they would have liked to cover in more depth. Thatís where you come in with a great suggestion for making sure that information doesnít go to waste.

Whether you decide to use one or all of these strategies, itís also key to remember to make the editorial submission process as painless as possible for your members.

Apryl Motley, CAE is a freelance writer and communications consultant.


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