If you’re very lucky, you work for an association that has a clear vision of what it takes to produce solid, factual content, and why that content matters to members.
If not, chance are you’re selling your members, sponsors, and stakeholders short.
It’s been a few years now since pundits began proclaiming that “content is king.” When I first heard those words, my heart sang: Finally, I thought, organizations would more consistently deliver the latest knowledge at their live and virtual events, then post it on their social networks to make their conversations smarter, more substantive, more productive.
It turned out that if content really is king, we have an odd way of treating royalty. So much of what passes for online “content” boils down to trivia, gossip, poorly-masked sales pitches, or outright scams. And there’s growing debate about the role of social media in polarizing public dialogue, just as much as they help us build community.
For years, I argued that conferences and social media could complete each other: that conferences needed the reach and longevity of online platforms, just as much as social networks would thrive on the substance from a well-organized event. Then I began hearing a different story, when the head of one of North America’s most senior associations described the content archive his group had accumulated over the years. Much of the material was excellent, he said, most of it was still current, but it was sitting in a back file. Nobody had time to figure out what to do with it, so the “king” was locked away in a tower.
Giving that content new life may be a big, untapped opportunity for your organization. You can decide by asking yourself:
- How can current, accurate content mobilize members around your organization’s most important objectives?
- How does content help your members achieve their professional or organizational goals?
- Do you organize, publish, and republish your content so members can find it when they need it?
- Do you publish in multiple formats, so members can pick the content tools that serve them best?
- Do you monitor traffic to find out which topics and formats have the greatest impact?
- Do you have a content management plan, and the staff time to deliver on it?
If you can’t answer those questions, you should find out. If you don’t like the answers, you can and should make content a higher priority. Your members won’t stop thanking you, and your association leaders will be amazed at the sense of connection—and the boost in member renewals—that you’ve suddenly created.