Content strategy is vital for your trade association, not only to bring in new members, but also to provide your current members with value for their membership. Just like other aspects of your organization, having a detailed and planned content strategy allows you to develop and put out content in a way that will draw the attention of your audience; attract new members; and provide your current members with valuable resources and information. Creating and releasing content without a strategy makes it difficult to track success; and also makes it difficult for your members to follow your content schedule, or lack thereof.
Below we will discuss ways to put together a content strategy that will allow you to test methods and see results. This will help you plan, create, and track your content marketing efforts and make tweaks where needed to reach your goals.
Planning and Goal Setting
First things first, you have to work with your team to pinpoint the ultimate goals you are trying to reach with your trade association’s content marketing efforts. Whether you are trying to bring in new members, raise awareness, provide value, promote an event, or a mixture of things; having them laid out allows you to plan your content efforts with these goals in mind. This lends purpose to your content creation and distribution strategy, instead of just posting content to get it out there.
Part of this process is identifying your audience. Consider the age range, background, profession, industry, and any other contributing factors that may affect the type of content you produce. These attributes may also influence the channels you choose to use to distribute your content. Researching information such as this Pew Research Center study on social media use and demographics, can help you decide the appropriate channels to reach your specific audience.
Content Types and the Popularity of Video
When it comes to the types of content you create and distribute, you may need to experiment to
find out what works for your audience. While blogs and e-newsletters are good staples of content marketing for everyone to have, other content forms such as infographics, videos, photos, live-streams, webinars and more can help diversify and give your content strategy what it needs to cut through the noise. With so much content competing for your audience’s attention, the more you can stand out and draw members’ attention to you, the better. You may have to test multiple content types to gauge what gets the best results.
One of the most popular content forms now is video. According to Small Business Trends, 93% of marketers say video has brought new customers. With current video recording technology, it is possible to make professional looking videos straight from your cellphone. There are a number of different ways you can take advantage of video such as vlogs, behind-the-scenes, interviews, Q&A sessions, how-to videos, and many more. No matter the content path you choose to take, video is a good choice to have on your list.
Content Schedules, Calendars, and Consistency
As you create content, it is important to create a schedule for releases and posts. A good tip is to create and implement a content calendar that keeps track of what content is being posted, on what channel, and on what day. This helps you further strategize by allowing you to plan in advance what content you’d like to share. For example, if you have an upcoming virtual event, you will want to plan content regarding that event strategically leading up to it in order to recruit attendees.
Content buckets are a helpful strategy for organizing your content. Content buckets (remove link) refer to sharing certain subject matter on specific days of the week and can also be planned and tracked through your content calendar. For example, you can decide to always share association news on Monday’s, employee stories on Tuesday’s, industry how-to videos on Wednesday’s and so on. This way your audience will know when to look for the content that is most important to them. Your content buckets can also be tested and changed depending on performance. Always try to have a reason behind your strategic decisions to get the most ROI for your content efforts.
Consistency is key to a successful content strategy. As a trade association, you want your members to get as much value for their membership as possible. You also want potential new members to see that you are the leading authority for your association’s industry. In order for this to be possible, you have to consistently provide new and quality content on a regular basis. If you have an active blog that you post to once a week, try to find what day and time gets the highest traffic, and consistently post your new blog every week on that day and at that time. Again, this allows your members and the rest of your audience to know when to check back for new content.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
When it comes to content strategy for your trade association, there is not a one size fits all strategy that works for everyone. If you need help creating and implementing a content strategy that works for your association and would like to learn about our content marketing services, contact us here.