27 Dec 2019 Results-Driven Content Marketing Your Association Can Use Today
If your association or non-profit has a blog or posts on social media, are you getting the return you had hoped for? Content marketing can be challenging, especially for small organizations that don’t have a dedicated full-time marketing staff.
If your content isn’t encouraging new membership, adding to your revenue, or boosting meeting attendance, it’s time to take a look at your system. Here are six tips you can use today to create content that gets results.
Determine Your Marketing Goals
Before creating content, you have to be crystal clear about what you intend to gain from it. Too often groups start blogging or posting on Facebook without any goals in mind. This shotgun approach to marketing rarely works.
Instead, sit down with the key players in your organization and decide what you want your content to accomplish:
- Attract new members
- Maintain interest of existing members
- Update members on industry standards and practices
- Bring attendees to meetings
- Sell long-form content and other items
- Increase authority within your industry
- Grow donations and encourage new donors
Set Up a Marketing Calendar
Once you know what you want to do with your marketing, it’s time to set up a marketing calendar. Rather than posting random content, your blogs and social media blurbs should be part of a timeline that’s integrated with other association elements, such as:
- Membership drives
- Annual meetings and conferences
- VIP events
- Fundraising campaigns
- Board of directors or staff turnover
- Release of new publications or items for sale
- Launch of new programs
- Other initiatives (internships, volunteer drives, etc.)
Grab a full-year calendar or a white board and start marking off key milestones to tie to your content. Be sure to give yourself time before a major event, such as a conference.
Make a list of potential topics you can pair with these milestones for synergy. One example is a marketing campaign leading up to a membership drive, where you offer different posts on:
- Membership tiers and benefits
- Interviews with current members
- Membership FAQs
- Special discounts, courses, or other offerings as a trial
Once you have a calendar in place, it’s much easier to create the content you need. You can even write content in advance and schedule them to post in the future.
Make Use of Tags
Once you post your content, how do you get people beyond your existing membership or email list to read it?
To attract a new audience, use tags. This means any identifiers that quickly lead readers to your posts and could be employing proper SEO (search engine optimization) for online search rankings or using social media hashtags that are easily searchable on their respective platforms. When you put up a new blog post, link to it on social media, and include relevant tags to bring the content before fresh eyes.
Understand the Stages of Buying
Once you have a certain amount of content available online, you will have an audience that is made up of people in different stages of “buying.”
Depending on the source, there are anywhere from three to six stages of buying that include these phases:
- Problem recognition
- Search for information
- Comparison of alternatives
- Contemplating purchase
- Actively buying
- Post-purchase assessment
Ideally, you want to have unique content that’s geared towards all buying stages. It might be as simple as having different blog posts for: 1) industry-wide professionals; 2) prospective members; and 3) current members. Use whatever tiers work for your association.
You should create a “nurture” campaign that takes people from one stage to the next. This can include personal emails once you have an address, as well as blog content that progresses along with your audience’s buying stage.
Consider Your Format
If you’ve been using content marketing for a long time and not getting the results you envisioned, sometimes it’s your format that needs changing.
Maybe you’ve been publishing a blog for a very hands-on audience, when a YouTube channel with how-to videos would be more appropriate. Perhaps you’re on the wrong social media sites for your intended viewer demographics or content type.
Do a little research and experiment to see what brings you the best results. Sometimes it’s where your competitors are. But you might also reach a whole new audience by trying completely different platforms.
Finally, you need to continually evaluate your content marketing. You want to be tracking comments, likes, shares, etc. If that’s too overwhelming for your group, hiring a consultant can take that worry off your plate.
Jaffe Management was created to help associations and non-profits with a multitude of day-to-day tasks, so they can focus on their missions. We can assist you with social media and newsletters, among other content. Get in touch today to find out more.