By Cecilia Aleman
In an age of
mass communication, many organizations are constantly searching for the best
ways to engage with their members. Today, associations have multiple content
resources to choose from including websites, social media, blogs, magazines,
e-newsletters, podcasts ó and the list goes on.
But how do
associations ensure that the right content is getting into their membersí hands
and resonating with them?
AM&Pís February Lunch & Learn session, Katie Mason, principal of Team
of Creatives, LLC, and Diane Rusignola, deputy editor of the Association of
Convenience & Fuel Retailing, broke down the pieces needed to create a
content strategy that works.
show that you have a limited amount of time to capture a readerís attention.
Your content is valuable and sharing it with your members can boost your
association as a whole. A good content strategy helps your association reach
the right audience, at the right time, with the right message.
messages and visions for each association are different, all good content
strategies are comprised of similar key elements. Here are the seven elements
Mason and Rusignola laid out for creating a successful strategy.
How many different ways does your association share content? Examine each channel
and understand which ones work best. For some, websites are the first stop for
finding original content. Others have discovered social media is their top
platform for reaching an audience. Evaluate the purpose, frequency, and tone of
your content for each platform.
Analysis. Are readers opening your
digital newsletters or sharing your content on social media? Really dig deep
into what content works with your members. Find out what is performing well
through a variety of tools such as simple surveys or analytics software.
Message. One of the most important pieces
of a content strategy is to understand who your members are and to create a
voice for them. If your content speaks to their needs, it will ultimately
perform better. One innovative way of investigating this process can be through
constructing reader personas. Create identities that represent your members to
truly understand why particular forms of content will engage or benefit them.
Structure and Delivery. It is common for
messages to change tone depending on the content platform being used. Does your
associationís content match across all of the various channels used to share
it? Some messages work better in a condensed format on social media while
others will be more engaging in a publication or newsletter.
Oversight and Maintenance. Who is in
charge of your associationís content analysis and distribution consistency? Get
as many team members involved in maintaining the strategy and its goal.
Collaboration is a huge key to successful content strategies.
Measurement. Establish performance
indicators and set benchmarks for success. For example, how well does the
bi-weekly newsletter you send out perform? Does your association send it out
consistently, to the same audience, at the same time? Research some of the top
trends for different types of content and how well they do.
Design. How your content appears can have
a huge impact on membership engagement. Do readers have a good experience when
receiving your content? Do they feel connected with your association based on
the way your content is presented to them? Create a look that resonates with
There is no
perfect content strategy out there, but there is a distinct formula for
creating a successful one. Always make sure your strategy aligns with the
overall strategic plan and vision of your association. A good content strategy
will ensure that your associationís overall goals are being met and that your
members are consistently engaged.
Aleman is a multimedia production assistant for Water Environment & Reuse
Foundation. Association Media and Publishing sincerely thanks her for covering
this event for our members who were unable to attend.