The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

Make Sharing Part of Your Web Strategy

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Mar 29, 2011


For all the talk of non-dues revenue, new members, retention, and fresh designs, a commonly missed component of an association’s website strategy is content – and making sure members and audiences are going to read the content.

Many take the “if you build it they will come” mentality and overlook a key component of web content success – sharing.

Sharing Is Huge

A 2010 study found that 86% of people share content by e-Mail, with news articles and blog posts accounting for 53% of shared content. Despite rapid growth of social media platforms, traditional e-Mail remains the preferred method of communication by professionals.

However a shift is underway as AddThis’s infographic (below) sums up the state of sharing at the end of 2010.  Some key takeaways are that Facebook’s portion of online sharing grew by 33% in 2010 alone and web users are embracing more tools such as AddThis (now installed on more than 7 million domains)

Sharing Trends in 2010 from AddThis

This data doesn’t account for new trends such as the recent update to Facebook’s “like button” that shares the content on your profile.

The challenge is that as organizations and managers focus on developing social media channels, the core website is often overlooked as everyone chases the new social media “shiny object”.

Here are some “quick hits” to implement as you make sharing part of your online strategy

Build in Tools for Sharing

    • Give pages unique URLs that can be shared

    • Create engagement on the web pages by enabling comments (a feature in a number of new content management systems)

Create High Value Content For Sharing

    • Go beyond counting “tweets” and “likes” and focus on creating high value content your members and audiences find useful and key to their success – and thus want to share.

    • This includes events, press releases, association news, white papers and reports

Embrace the Power of A Blog

    • Create time sensitive, relevant content

    • Use keyword friendly content

    • Link back to key pages your main site

Share Where Your Members Are

    • Find out where your members “hang out” and give them the tools to share and engage in those areas

    • Focus social content in the most important channels where you can make a difference instead of trying to cover each one

    • Redirect links back to your site for highest value content

As you develop your online strategy make sure to bake in the tools your audiences will need to share what they find with others.  Not only will they thank you for it, they will drive qualified traffic to your association website which will result in increased membership and non-dues revenue.

Ray van Hilst is Director of Client Strategy and Marketing at Vanguard Technology. Connect with him @rvanhilst or rvanhilst at

Topics: web strategy, Ray van Hilst, facebook, social media, sharing, addthis, Websites

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