When it comes to making a change in your district, the most powerful tool you have is your community. The ways in which you can mobilize your community has evolved with the introduction of the internet and social media, but many of the traditional methods still remain useful.
Archives for January 2020
Years ago, podcasts were a lesser known player in the content world, with only 9% of the U.S. population tuning in per month to listen to podcast episodes. Now, jump ahead to 2019, and there is an estimated 32% of the U.S. population, or 90 million people, over the age of 12 tuning in each month to their favorite podcasts (Content Marketing Institute). There are over 550,000 podcasts available today in nearly every genre from history to content marketing. Brands have also found a way to use podcasts as a part of their marketing strategies to own their industries marketing space.
Why Make a Podcast?
Audio is the next big thing. Just think of how many people now use voice search either with Alexa, Siri, or Google Voice. Experts are expecting audio to make a big splash in the marketing world in the coming years. Podcasts have already risen to the level of prominence and continue to grow.
There are many things to consider when deciding whether a podcast is right for your brand. A few key questions you should ask are:
- Is there a need for a podcast for my industry?
- Is there an audience for my podcast?
- Do other brands in my industry have podcasts?
- Do we have the time and resources to dedicate to a quality podcast?
Creating a podcast for your industry can help you stand out among your competitors. This form of content builds a relationship between your brand and your audience, which will consist of existing and potential customers. With your podcast, you want to focus on creating thought leadership content that relates to your industry and avoid allowing your podcast to simply become a sales pitch. No one wants to listen to a 15 to 20-minute advertisement, so you have to be creative and come up with content that revolves around your industry and provide useful, entertaining, and interesting content to your listeners. The ultimate goals of creating a podcast are to increase brand awareness, brand engagement, site traffic, thought leadership, and revenue generation.
Planning is Key
Podcasts are not as quick to create and publish as a blog post or an email newsletter. There is a good bit of planning that is involved when you are creating your podcast. Your first question should be what your podcast will be about. Your goal is to find subject matter that meets both yours and your audience’s needs. As stated before, if you use your podcast as a 20-minute sales pitch, no one is going to listen, but if you talk about random topics, no one will be directed to your brand. The secret is finding that meeting point, and that will take planning. For this reason, it is important you create scripts for each episode so you can see where an episode is going. Your host and guests don’t have to stick to the script word for word, but it will keep things on track. Keep in mind, most people are listening to podcasts while they are doing other things like driving, exercising, or working so make sure you have content that is easy to follow and not too technical or confusing.
Speaking of your host, or hosts, it is imperative that you find a host that is relatable, knowledgeable, a good speaker, and personable. You want someone your audience feels they could have a conversation with, someone they enjoy listening to. If someone is shy, soft spoken, or not very good at public speaking, they may not be right for the hosting position. It is good to have a permanent host for the entirety of the podcast. This way, your audience can build the relationship and will want to come back for each new episode.
Call to Action
We have made it clear that your podcast should not be an advertisement, but this does not mean you can’t guide people to your blog, website, or store. Include a call to action at the end of each episode, or during the episode if it relates to what you are talking about. For example, if your podcast relates to a blog that you have published with more information on a topic, you can let listeners know that they can visit your blog to learn more. You can ask people to go and sign up for your email newsletter to get information on new episodes right when they are released. You definitely want to promote your brand, just don’t let it be the focus of your show.
Good Things Take Time
Just like with the production, your podcast will take time to work. Podcasts don’t shoot to the top of the charts overnight, especially if you are creating one for a specific industry that may not have a presence yet in this medium. This is why it is good to have an established content strategy prior to creating a podcast so you can use it to promote your new show. Newsletters, social media, and blog posts should all be used to point people towards your new podcast. If you have strong thought leadership content about your industry and you take time to create something that people will connect with, your audience will come. Podcasts are an excellent tool for your content strategy and, when done right, can really make a difference for your brand.
Trade associations, like everyone else, have made the move to the digital world. Recruitment, education, events, donations, and industry news are all now shared online through their websites and social media accounts. Many members register through the association’s website and rely on this website for the latest news and updates regarding the association and the industry itself. With this being the case, it is vital for your trade association’s success that your website be secure, up to date, mobile first, and user friendly. Below we discuss the importance of each of these aspects, and what you can do to make sure your association’s website meets these criteria.
- Have a clean, up-to-date website
One of the first aspects that should be considered with your trade association’s website is if it is clean and representative of your association. Outdated websites look clunky and can be hard to navigate for users. If your site is not already on WordPress; we highly recommend making the switch over. Over 34% of the world’s websites are built using WordPress including major industries such as Disney, Sony, and The New York Times. WordPress is the best content management system on the market. It’s ease of use, functionality and affordability make it one of the best CMS systems in the world. A variety of themes, plug-ins, and design elements allow for your WordPress website to be created to your specifications. It is easy to make a site that is user friendly and simple to navigate. Websites built on WordPress look professional, clean, and go far in making sure your members have a positive user experience.
- Keep your website safe and secure
In the digital realm, security is of the utmost importance. Your members’ data as well as your reputation may be on the line if your website falls victim to hacking. There are many negative effects an attack on your website could cause. Identity theft, slow speed, having your account suspended, and a complete crash are a few of the big things that can happen; all of which can tarnish or even ruin your reputation. A lot of the time, for WordPress sites, these attacks take place when themes and plug-ins are not regularly updated. Updates are usually released to better the security of a theme or plug-in and leaving yours out of date leaves your website open to bad actors. An easy way to prevent this and stay updated is to have a maintenance plan, this is someone who regularly updates all of your plug-ins and themes, creates backups, and performs security scans. These plans are affordable; and save you time and money in the long run if something were to happen to your website.
- Having a Mobile-First Website
One of the most important aspects of your website is that it is mobile first. This simply means that it is optimized to be viewed on mobile devices without losing quality or functionality. Most people view websites now on their smartphones and mobile devices and your website needs to show up looking just as good as it does on a desktop. Not having a mobile first website will not only effect how your visitors see your website on their devices, but also how Google will rank your website. This, in turn, affects where your site falls on the search engine result page (SERP) which is the page you see when you search for your association or related industry key terms on Google. If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly, simply attempt to look at it on your phone. Make sure to test all of the menus and features to make sure they work and load quickly. You can also run a mobile test with Google here.
- Strong, Timely, Thoughtful Content
When you have a secure, mobile first website that looks amazing, you need to fill it with strong and engaging content that will bring visitors to your site and help drive your membership. Content can take a number of forms including blogs, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, white pages, and reviews. It is suggested that you have thought-leadership content that relates to your association’s industry and will be of interest to your audience. Regularly releasing relevant content will not only keep people interested and visiting your site, it will also help your Google rankings. For associations, it is also good to continue to provide your members with good content, so they feel they are getting the value they deserve for their membership. It is even possible to make some content members only or paid content to add the additional value to members. A good content marketing strategy will keep your association’s website timely and relevant.
All of these aspects work together to make sure your association is well represented by your website and has a strong online presence. This helps your membership retention and recruitment, credibility, and overall value. Arc 3 Communications provides everything you need to build, operate, and maintain a professional association website. We also are able to create and put in motion a content marketing strategy that will work for your association including content calendars, content creation, and content program analysis. Our maintenance plans assure your website is safe and secure and all of your themes and plugins are updated. This also includes backups of your website and performance scans to make sure your website is running smoothly and quickly. For help optimizing your association’s website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 678-348-6024.
For more information visit us at www.arc3communications.com.