Before you rush off to book your plane tickets and hotel reservations, I wanted to take a moment to answer the question we're hearing a lot. Besides "How can I sponsor this great event?" For that answer, you'll need to give us a call at (636) 449-5050. Here ends the shameless self-promotion.
Out of all the challenges and issues facing associations today, why did you pick content management/marketing as your key topic?
Simply put - because it's what associations do. We eat and breathe content. Or we should, if we want to stay alive and kicking. And if your association does something day-in and day-out, don't you want to make sure you're doing a darn good job at it? In fact, don't you want to be the best at it?
According to Junta42, one of the leaders in content marketing, it's a "marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action." In other words, companies have found that it's far more effective to reach customers and prospects by providing information and knowledge - rather than "selling at" them.
But this is what associations have been doing all along. Think about it - do you know an association that doesn't publish a newsletter, magazine, directory or journal? That doesn't host a website, forum or online community? That doesn't offer educational conferences, webinars, training or tours? That doesn't communicate regularly with members, trying to keep them up-to-date on the latest industry trends or news? This is all content. It may vary in frequency, format or packaging, but it's all content.
Whether you're an association staffer or volunteer leader, I'll bet you $20 that you're dealing with at least one or more of the following "content" issues:
- Are we providing content that is valuable and relevant to our members - or can they go elsewhere for the same, or better, stuff?
- How much of our content should we be giving away for free? Or, how can we bring in more revenue for the content we're already producing?
- Are we picking the best medium to tell our story? Should we be publishing a print magazine or an e-newsletter? A webinar or a face-to-face meeting? A video or a white paper? A website or social media? (Hint: all of these answers are valid, depending on your association.)
- How do we improve underperforming content vehicles - i.e. that newsletter no one opens or the blog that no one has time to update?
- How we do measure the ROI of our efforts? Are we using our content to engage and educate our members or simply to promote our association?
- What can we do to improve our content on a daily basis, without increasing staff?
If any of these issues sound familiar, then I'd encourage you to mark your calendars now for the Forum.
If not, let me know, and I'll pay up. Right after I check with our finance department to see if this counts as a business expense.