RealMatch was fortunate to host a webinar with Hilary Marsh, Chief Content and Digital Strategist of Content Company, exploring the important topic of "Attracting & Retaining Members with a Great Content Strategy." Professional and trade associations frequently hear that content marketing needs to be a core component of their digital growth and visibility strategy. In her presentation, Ms. Marsh explored strategies for content marketing at the center of your engagement strategy. Here are some key takeaways.
Develop a Customer Focused Content Strategy
It's important to think through your plans for a content strategy with your customers' needs in mind. Specifically, think about the information and design of what's on your webpage. Does the information that's there showcase the latest, greatest marketing concept your team has been playing around with? Or does it convey your story and positioning, while most importantly giving your visitors all the information that they need?
Could they easily find your products, learn more, and determine pricing? Is it obvious how to order or register? Is it clear how to access member benefits or contact specific board members or the Executive Director?
Tie Your Content Development to Your Goals
What are your association's most urgent business goals? For example, these might include to boost revenues by increasing membership, increase non-due revenues, or improve member retention. The more clearly you've articulated what you hope to accomplish, the better compass this information can act in helping you determine how to focus your content.
Your content strategy - when directed by your goals - answers who, what, when, where, and why regarding each piece you create. It clarifies a specific goal and call to action that should be featured. And finally it guides decisions about how and when content should be disseminated.
Putting a Plan into Action
If content strategy is the point of intersection between technological capabilities, user needs, and business goals, then it's easy to see why organizations struggle to define and launch an effective plan. Starting with clear business goals allows your trade organization or association to decide how to prioritize your efforts.
With this in mind, you can now ask the important question, "What's the message?" Perhaps the message is to join your organization, or your message is that this issue you're involved with is important and more people need to be concerned. As you clarify messages, you can create content to deploy the information to different target audiences.
Solving Problems with Content
Content can solve a number of problems for your organization. It all starts with a well-organized plan. Define your priorities above. Then audit your baseline: where are you now and where are the gaps that you need to close to get to where you'd like to be? Develop a content cycle where you conceive and create content that meets organizational goals; publish and promote to get it out into the world; maintain and retire accordingly. Other elements that may be helpful include user assessments: what are your members really asking for.