The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

Content Marketing: Just Do It!

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Sep 18, 2012


One of the most powerful (and in my opinion, under attended) sessions at the ASAE Annual meeting in Dallas last month was Monica Bussolati’s presentation titled "The Hottest Tool in Member Retention: Content!"

I took notes, got Monica to do a quick video interview after the session, and had high hopes. I started drafing this post many times and yet, the words never made it online.  But then I realized that the first point of a content marketing strategy is to just do it!

So as an association content expert, what do you need to know to get your content marketing strategy working for you?  Here are a few quick tips from her session and our experience at Vanguard Technology with building websites for associations:

Bring the Party to You

The main reason associations should care about content marketing is the fact that you have competition trying to get your members to their sites.  This could include for-profit publications, vendors and even other associations.  By developing a content strategy and embracing content marketing, you make sure that those eyeballs are staying on your site and keeping engaged.

Spread the Content Creation Around

Associations are rich in talent when it comes to creating knowledge and learning (just look at all those conference speaker submissions).  Enlist others throughout the organization to create content for your association website.  Go beyond your traditional journal editorial staff and embrace department directors, members, task forces and committees to create content.

Find a Common Voice

Even if your content is created by many, it still needs to have the same voice as the rest of the organization. Create an editorial guideline for content creators and include an editorial review to ensure consistent quality.

Monica had a number of other great points for associations to consider which I captured in this video interview after her session:

Side note to conference planners: We had to hunt for a place to shoot this video and this was the quietest place we could find. (Sorry for the background noise.) If you have content creators attending your conferences, include a “quiet spot” for these quick video interviews.

Monica has a number of other great points on her website, but the best way to embrace content marketing is to embrace her Content Marketing Manifesto (recapped below):

    • I am a Marketer

    • I hold the hottest tool for driving member retention: content

    • My content topics are aligned with our organization’s business

    • I am in the influencing behavior game

    • I am in an ongoing dialogue with our audience

    • My association has an organization-wide content strategy

    • I am not deterred by internal silos

    • I use all tools and channels available to engage

    • I am accountable for the efficacy of my content

    • I am an innovator in identify new content ideas

    • I take thoughtful risk

And to her manifesto, I’ll add one.

Just do it.

Don’t let fear and excess caution get in the way. Create some content, publish it, learn, and repeat. You’ll be glad you did.

Topics: web strategy, ASAE, Ray van Hilst, bussolati, Websites, content strategy

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