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How To Revamp Your Association’s Content Strategy

Does your association’s content strategy need to be rethought? Let's talk about what a content strategy is and why it’s important.

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We’ve all heard the saying: Knowledge is power. Knowledge is what generates success. People seek out knowledge every single day in all types of forms. And for your association - that knowledge is what potential members want from your offers.

How do you present this knowledge to your audience? Well, associations provide learning opportunities in many different ways. Chapter events, webinars, and guest speakers are all ways that members collect valuable knowledge. However, that knowledge can get lost if not recorded and archived into what we know as content.

As you probably know, content is key. In 2016, Content Marketing Institute reported 69% of marketers starting to create more content than in 2015. But, there’s a difference between basic content creation and a smart content strategy. So, does your association’s content strategy need to be rethought? Is there a way to create a successful content strategy for your association and its members? First, let’s go over what a content strategy is and why it’s important.

Content strategy: The basics

Although the term ‘content strategy’ may seem new, it’s been around for a while. While Information designers like Ann Rockley first used the term in the late 90’s, content strategy didn’t hold weight until almost 10 years later. Since then, content strategy has skyrocketed in the content marketing industry.

So, what is a content strategy? What does it do? A content strategy helps to plan, develop, and manage all forms of content. It uses market analytics to create and archive content for an audience. A good content strategy considers not only content creation, but content scheduling and analyzing as well.

A content strategy also takes into consideration the needs of your audience. With media and technology advances, there is a sea of available content for people to sift through. However, with a content strategy, your association can curate only the best content for your members, saving them time and frustration. While there are many different ways to come up with a content strategy for your association, you want to find the one that works best. To do that, there are a few things you need to focus on.

Finding the best time to share content.

If your association is coming up with new, valuable content for its audience, you don’t want that content to go unnoticed.

One of the biggest roadblocks in sharing content is timing. Yes, timing is everything- especially when it comes to your association’s content strategy. How do you find the best time to post your content? One way is to research the best times to receive engagement on content. According to research done by KYA, Monday has the best engagement results over any other day of the week. In addition, posting from 12-2pm was recorded to be the best time of day for engagement.

Although there is an engagement trend, your association’s results might vary. View the analytics on your own content and experiment with posting times. See what posts get the best results and go from there.

Another way to figure out a content schedule is to plan content around specific events at your association. For example, if you have an event coming up, it might be best to heavily produce content before or after. Or, if you have a guest speaker planned, share content that is relevant to the topic of discussion.

Creating a content schedule is a great first step in a successful content strategy. If you can pinpoint when to hit your members with valuable content, you can start to see what content works with members and what needs work.

Identify your members’ content needs.

Now that you know your content is reaching your audience, it’s time to really focus on creating content that meets your audience’s needs. But what does this mean?

Well, all content is derived from one thing: a problem. Your audience has a problem, and they’re looking for a solution. Your content should provide that solution while keeping audiences interested and engaged. For example, let’s say your members are looking to save more money in the next year. Your association can provide content based around that problem. You could write a blog post with money saving ideas. Or, you could create an ebook guide on tips for better budgeting.

Whatever you create, it should effectively solve a problem for your audience. This conveys value, giving readers a knowledge they did not have prior to consuming your content. You also need to be aware of what forms of content perform best with members.

Do your blog posts receive a lot of positive feedback? Or do your members respond better to a weekly newsletter? What do they look forward to receiving from your association? If your members aren’t responding well to a form of content your association is producing, it might be best to change the way you create that content. Or, it might be best to lose focus on that content form altogether. Make the decision that’s best for your association’s content marketing goals.

Minimize roadblocks when viewing content.

You’ve done your research and provided the content that audiences are looking to consume, but maybe your content isn’t getting picked up at the rate you’d like. Why isn’t your content being consumed? Often times it could be due to the availability of your content.

What does this mean? It means that your content may not be accessible on all platforms. Is your content available on a mobile device? Is your content difficult to digest? Where do you host your content?

Let’s start with mobile content. Having a mobile content strategy is important when thinking about the amount of mobile users today. According to SmartInsights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. That means well over half of online content consumers can view content on a mobile device. If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, it can seriously affect your content engagement rates. Optimize your content for mobile devices in order to combat this roadblock.

Another struggle audiences might have with your content is the ability to digest it. But what does that entail? Content that is difficult to read through is considered hard to digest. On the other hand, content that is broken up appropriately and uses language that is easily read is considered easy to digest.

How can you simplify your content for readers? Images are one great way. According to GM-Design, Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets & 18% more clicks than tweets without images. Using a strategically placed image can break up information, giving readers time to breathe before learning a new concept.

Use easy language all audiences can understand when creating content. You don’t want to use confusing terms or jargon that readers will get stuck on. If you reduce the amount of reading difficulty, your content piece will become easier to digest.

Market content smarter.

Your association’s content strategy doesn’t have to be difficult to create. If you focus on what’s important about content marketing and creation, you can produce content that makes members excited for more.