Every industry is facing the digital disruption of their traditional marketing and communications. Trade Associations are no different and not immune to the winds of change that have occurred in consumer and business to business marketing. Trade associations’ marketing and communications efforts to membership, stakeholders, alliance groups and government audiences is changing and aligning with big brands’ transition to a content marketing model. The largest and most effective brands in the world such as Coca-Cola and IBM, use content marketing to build relationships and brand loyalty and make future sales.
Developing a content marketing program for your trade association is important to achieving your organization’s goals and objectives in the digital age of communications. What is content marketing? It is the creating and sharing of valuable, relevant and consistent content in order to build relationships with an audience to achieve an objective such as a membership sale. It is owning media, not renting it. By sharing your best ideas and experience, good content builds trust and relationships with people and encourages them to come back to you when they need your services or product.
The most popular forms of content marketing are articles, social media content, blog posts and e-newsletters. But case studies, white papers, e-books and webinars have also proven to be effective in reaching audiences. Although social media and digital formats have made content marketing affordable and effective for big and small organizations, it is not strictly confined to online. Print publications such as John Deere’s The Furrow Magazine and Lego’s Lego Club Magazine have been around for decades and are remarkably successful in building long lasting relationships for these respective brands.
Like the big brands, trade associations must come to the realization that traditional marketing with its heavy reliance on television, direct mail and print media is a losing strategy in retaining and growing membership and promoting advocacy and policy goals, especially among millennials. With the rapid decline in cable television subscribers, newspaper readers and the increase in junk mail into mailboxes, producing compelling content that engages your members and reaches them on the digital continent is vital. The most popular television channel for millenials isn’t even on TV; it is YouTube.
The future of trade associations and all those organizations that are engaged in civic life depends upon the sharing of content online that engages and forms relationships with audiences. In order to have millenials active in your association, you must reach them on the digital continent in which they live. Support for your association’s membership, legislative and advocacy efforts depend upon this large group upon which future board members and leadership will come.
Want to learn more about the principles and fundamentals of content marketing and how you can update your trade association’s communications and marketing efforts? Contact Patrick Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can work with you on content marketing fundamentals such as a content audit, the creation of a content marketing plan, content calendars, a content management system and analytics. Arc 3 can reboot your trade association’s marketing efforts and implement a content marketing process in your organization that helps you achieve success.