The term “public affairs” is commonplace on the news and in government meetings, but what exactly is public affairs and what does it involve? Check out the infographic below to learn more about what public affairs is.
The North Carolina Aggregates Association (NCAA) is the leading advocate for the aggregate industry in the state of North Carolina. It is a non-profit, member-driven association that has both producer and associate members. The mission of the NCAA is “promoting the environmentally sound, responsible and economically viable extraction of crushed stone, sand and gravel for use in all types of construction for public benefit and for positive statewide economic development.” North Carolina is one of the largest crushed stone producers in the United States.
The NCAA is a non-profit trade association incorporated in 1964. During the past 60 years, consumption of aggregates per capita has increased from 3.5 metric tons per year to over 10 tons annually. Companies engaged in the production and/or sale of crushed stone, sand and gravel in North Carolina make up the association. Environmental programs in legislation; marketing and public relations; technical specifications, safety and health, air, and water quality; mining and reclamation; transportation and research are all services offered to member companies, specifiers, and users of aggregate products.
With the aggregate industry experiencing renewed optimism, the NCAA wanted to reflect this by updating their communications with a redesigned website. They wanted the new site to be mobile friendly and present content to their members in a way that made information easy to find while being aesthetically pleasing as well. Arc 3 Communications worked hand in hand with NCAA to create a website that represented their brand and gave them a strong new visual identity. Many features such as a slider of member logos, an interactive calendar of events, easy to navigate menu, and membership sign-up were incorporated to create a successful and informative user experience.
The North Carolina Aggregates Association’s new website resulted in substantial growth in unique visitors and page views to the site. NCAA’s website has provided a new strong visual brand identity for the association that stands out and represents them well. Most importantly, NCAA’s new website has resulted in an increase in member engagement, greater awareness about the aggregate industry among key partners, state legislators, and civic leaders; and more associate membership leads.
In this day and age of unlimited information at our fingertips, readers need to take time and do a little research to verify the news they are reading and sharing with others is, in fact, real news from a credible source. Below are a few steps you can take to make sure the information you are receiving and sending is reliable and true.
In recent years, Google has been trying to find ways to get people the answers they are looking for without having to leave the Google search engine results page (SERP). One way they use to achieve this is the featured snippet. These can appear with traditional Google searches or voice searches which are growing in popularity. Featured snippets are boxes of text that answer a query and appear above the coveted top three results on the SERP. This has come to be known as “position zero”. These featured snippets pull the answer to the query from a content piece on a website and post the “snippet” along with a link to the full piece in a box at the top of the page. This allows people to get the answers they are looking for quickly without having to go to any website, but if they wish to know more, they can follow the link to the full piece.
While there is no exact science to getting your association’s content into featured snippets, there are things you can do to greatly improve your chances.
Understanding What a Featured Snippet Is
Before you can begin to think about trying to earn a featured snippet, you should know a few things about them. Featured snippets are usually answers to who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Google ranks websites and content based on the reputation and factualness of the content and from there pulls answers to feature in the snippet. For example:
You will see this featured snippet appeared at the top of the page. This particular snippet was pulled from www.americanbusinessmag.com and features a basic answer to the question “Why Join a Trade Association?”. It also gives the user the chance to follow the link to learn more, thus increasing chances of someone visiting your website.
Snippets can appear in different forms including paragraph snippets like the one above, numbered or bulleted lists, and tables. Which snippet type that your content is featured in will depend on the type of content you create.
How to “Own” the Featured Snippet
As previously stated, there is not an exact science to winning the featured snippet, but there are steps you can take with your association’s content to increase your chances.
- Find out what people want to know
For this first step, you really have to think like your audience; this could be existing members or potential members. Think of the questions you receive and try to focus strong content around answering those questions. Again, featured snippets are answers to who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Keep this in mind when brainstorming potential audience questions. A good resource for finding what people are asking is www.answerthepublic.comwhere you can search specific terms and see what people are searching for regarding that term.
We searched “trade associations” and you can see a part of the wheel we got as a result. This image includes the who and how results. One popular question is “what do trade associations do?” so that may be a good topic for content for you to focus on.
- Research Snippets in Your Industry
A good way to find opportunities for snippets for your association is to go to Google and begin typing the questions that you came up with. This will allow you to see if there are existing snippets or if there is an open opportunity for you to own the snippet. Even if there are existing snippets, if you tailor you content right, you can still take control of that snippet. Also be sure to pay attention to the “People also ask” section that appears further down the SERP. Below is the “People also ask” box that appears when we entered the question “What is a trade association?”
This section also pulls from existing content online so there is also potential to have your content featured as an answer here as well.
- Strong Website, Strong Content, Strong SEO
One of the most important factors in having your association’s content chosen for the featured snippet is making sure your website is optimized, easy to navigate, and functioning well. This is one of the first things Google looks at when determining whether your page should appear on the first page of the SERP or in the featured snippet. If your website is slow and not user friendly by Google’s terms, even if your content is outstanding, you may be overlooked when it comes to the featured snippet. Not only that, but your website will get pushed further back on the SERP making it hard to find and less likely to be visited.
Also, devoting time to keyword research and using popular keywords in your content will help not only win the featured snippet, but also rank you higher on the Google SERP. Using backlinks, cross-linking, and releasing content consistently and regularly can also go far to increase your ranking and raising you up on the search engine results page (SERP).
You Can Do It
It takes work, but you can earn the featured snippets and even improve your position on Google’s search engine results page at the same time. There are many other factors that improve your chances for securing snippets and improving your SEO. If you would like further information or help with your association’s website or content marketing, contact us here.
When it comes to getting members to engage with your content, whether your blog, e-mail newsletter, event sign-up, or donations, your call to action (CTA) goes a long way. According to Associations Now, getting members to engage starts with compelling them to act. It also helps with member recruitment when trying to get people to become members with your association. The call to action is a powerful tool for you to utilize and there are several tips that can help you build ones that are effective and successful in your mission.
What is a Call to Action?
Your call to action is your chance to persuade your current and potential members to do what you want them to do. Think of it as your “Buy Now” statement. You will include this on everything from blogs, to social media posts, to newsletters. As an association, you should also include CTAs on your website copy to recruit new members or get renewals. A well-crafted call to action will have majority of the people who view your content engaging with and completing the tasks you want them to.
Short and Simple, Yet Informative
A good call to action is short, simple, and to the point. You want to make sure that you give enough information to inform the reader and guide them towards the desired action. You want to make sure the benefits are clear, for example:
“Sign up for our newsletter to receive all the latest association news, useful resources, and event invitations.”
Be sure to include easy to follow instructions to complete the action such as a link, a phone number, email address or a form to fill out. This will make it quick and easy for people to complete the action and increase the likelihood they will go through the necessary steps required.
Use Action Verbs
Wording is everything when it comes to the success rate of your call to action. Action verbs go a long way towards leading people to converting. Phrases such as “Sign up,” “Visit us at,” and “Learn more” can prompt people to take the actions you would like them to. Also, using words that show enthusiasm or spark emotion in your members and potential members will help drive action. You should always be willing to be creative with wording and try different methods to find CTA’s that work for your association. The only way to truly know what works is to test your ideas and see which ones are the most successful.
Frequency is Key
Make sure you are consistent with your CTA. This means including it on anything that your members and potential members will be viewing. Social media posts, newsletters, blog posts, and web copy are a few ideal places to include your CTA. The more your message is put in front of your audience, the better the chances are that your members will take action. Feel free to try different tactics and approaches to find what works best for your goals. Keep track of your results with each campaign so you can decide what is successful and what might not be. Every piece you put out should have a form of a CTA present.
Having successful calls to action for your association involves knowing your members and potential members and being able to craft a message that will drive them to act. Whether it’s signing up for the association’s email newsletter, registering to attend the annual conference, or becoming a new member; each call to action should be creative, specific, and intentional. The more you can provoke emotion or enthusiasm, the more likely your audience will be to take the desired action. Every campaign is unique, so try different tactics to find the ones that works best for your association and start getting results, now.
For more help with your association’s needs sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, or contact us here.
In a digital age, content marketing is one of the best marketing strategies that can be used by associations’ large and small. There is a wide variety of options in the world of content marketing and choosing the best types of content for your association can be challenging. Of course, you do not have to use just one type of content, in fact using a variety of different content formats is good for keeping your membership and stakeholder audiences interested. These different types of content can be tailored to fit your association and reach your target audiences. This guide will identify two of the most popular forms of content out there right now and explain what each of these can accomplish for your association.
- Listicle Articles
We have all read listicle articles in magazines or on social media, even if we didn’t know that is what they were called. In fact, the article you are reading right now is a listicle. Listicles are highly popular due to their ability to be very informative while being easy-to-read and aesthetically pleasing. Arranging information in a list format and including numbers in the title and body of the article has been proven to be psychologically attractive and draws in readers. People like having their information in list form; and with a catchy title, this form of content can greatly increase page views, shares and likes. Listicles will usually have a numerically based title, for example: “Top 10,” “6 Ways to,” “5 best,” etc. These numbers can either be a ranking system or simply organize information into the list. Unlike How-To articles (which we will discuss next) listicles do not necessarily have to show someone how to do something or teach a skill; it can simply be used for informing readers or for entertainment purposes. The items in a listicle will usually be related to an overall theme such as “10 Things to Consider When Writing Captivating Content for Members”. This theme will be something related to your association that will attract your membership and stakeholders. Listicles are immensely popular and can be tailored to any policy or content bucket.
- How-To Articles
How-to articles are another extremely popular form of content. The how-to article is written in a sequence of steps and shows the reader how to perform a skill or complete a task. In the past it was enough to use a title like “How to do…” but now, with social media and endless online articles for your members and stakeholders to choose from, you have to be creative with your titles and content in order to catch the attention of readers. How-to articles are much more specific than listicles, usually explaining a specific task or skill. Often, listicles and how-to articles can cross paths with steps and guides written in a numbered list format like “10 Easy Steps to Building a Remarkably Popular Website.” This translates roughly to “How to Build a Website” but uses much more exciting and interesting language. Like listicle articles, how-to articles increase traffic, shares, and likes and can benefit your SEO and keyword placement. Writing how-to articles that take a unique approach to a topic and take a new angle on what might be a well-known subject to your members is the key to leveraging this content format.
In the End, Quality Content Works
Ultimately, the most important thing about creating content is making sure that it is of high quality. You can pump out countless content pieces, fast and furious; and have them all fall flat because there is no value to them. Quality over quantity is the golden rule when it comes to creating new content for your marketing campaigns. Well-crafted content will boost the visibility of your website and ultimately increase your audience numbers. Interesting and readable content will go far in engaging your membership and keep them coming back for more. Strong content is also more likely to be shared on social media, thus acting as free advertising and driving traffic to your website and generating membership leads for your association. While the two content types discussed in this article are the most popular and effective, they certainly are in no way the only types you can use to be effective. In the end, if you create quality content, your membership and stakeholder audiences will rely on you time and again as a trusted and valuable resource.
For more information or help with your association’s content marketing visit us at www.arc3communications.com or contact Patrick Burns at email@example.com. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals and develop successful content marketing strategies to help your association grow.