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A Practical Approach to Content Marketing for your Association

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How to implement a content-driven strategy for your association or nonprofit organization.

How to implement a content-driven strategy for your association or nonprofit organization.

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  • Before you sit down to write or create a single piece of content, you should know who you’re trying to reach or appeal to. Sounds simple enough, but the more detailed and targeted you can be, the more relevant and valuable the content will be.For example, one of our Drakeco clients is the National Christmas Tree Association. This sounds like a pretty narrow group, but in fact, there is a great deal of diversity within the membership – from the Choose & Cut grower with a couple acres of trees that opens for a few weeks in the winter to the Major Grower selling several hundred thousands trees to Home Depot. Realizing that, we have to make sure we’re producing content that reflects these divergent interests.This might be the thought process we go through to find a story for our magazine or an upcoming newsletter.
  • A lot of associations are afraid of getting hyper-specific because of a fear they’ll ignore or alienate some of their members. But by narrowing down the focus for each piece of content, you actually open the door to create more content. Once you accept the idea that no single piece of content is going to be enough to meet the needs of all your members, it can be freeing to see how many different types you can create.
  • I’m sure you’re thinking – well, if we never tell people about the great things we’re doing, how will they ever know. Why would new members join?Here’s the thing – content marketing is marketing. But it’s subtle marketing. It doesn’t say “Our association is great and we offer lots of benefits and you should join now.” It says, “Here’s some industry information that we thought might help you in your business.” or “We know this issue is weighing on your mind, here’s some tools that might help.”In this way, your association becomes a trusted expert, and hopefully one that your members keep coming back to.
  • We all want to believe that the content we’re producing is exciting and relevant, and that our readers are hanging on every word. But if we’re not tailoring the content towards their needs, interests and preferences, then we’re only talking to hear ourselves speak.And that leads us to our next mistake …
  • We all like to believe we know our members pretty well. But how often do we really ask?And again, it can’t be about your association. If you truly want to get to their needs, you don’t ask “do you like the content we produce”? Do you read XYZ?Instead, you ask - what keeps you up at night - what most excites you about your job - what are the biggest challenges you see facing this industry - what are the biggest opportunities you see aheadI’m sure nearly everyone here is doing some sort of member survey at your organization. I encourage you to go back and look at those tools and make sure you’re asking questions along these lines. These “pain points” then become the basis around which you develop your content.And it certainly doesn’t have to be just a formal survey … really pay attention when your members are talking (even if they’re not talking about your association.) What are they talking about in the halls between breakout sessions … what are they complaining about on Facebook.
  • Becky gave some great tips for how to generate good content. I’m going to talk about how content integrates with social media.Before you dive head first into social media, make sure you know your members and your audience. Don’t assume you know what tools you need or what social media network your members are hanging out in. In fact, you should never start social media by choosing the tools first (i.e. “we need a blog” or “we should be on Facebook.”)Figure out where your members or stakeholders already are. Having a good understanding of the people who are (or will be) a part of your online community will help you set expectations and goals, and help you choose the right tools.
  • Next comes strategy. What are your goals and objectives for your online community? Are you hoping to gain more followers, boost your website traffic, increase awareness of your association or brand, or something else entirely? Different social media tactics/platforms will help you achieve different strategies.-LinkedIn is great for connecting with professionals.-Facebook and Twitter are great for creating a social community -Quora is a Q&A platform and great for establishing yourself as an expert-Blogs are great for sharing informationIt’s important to have a social media strategy in place which will allow to you leverage the best of each social network.
  • With that said, however, remember what Becky said earlier about finding the right content mix for you. That principle applies to social media as well.Just because everyone else is on FB or Twitter doesn’t mean it’s right for you or your association. Don’t be on a particular social network just because you think you should be. Take some time to write out your goals. Then see what platforms will help you reach those goals best. My advice is – start with a single social network that seems best-suited for your needs. Work on doing that well, and then expand your presence to other networks over time.
  • It’s important to remember that social media is a 2-way street. You shouldn’t just be pushing content out, you also need to listen to what is being said.Especially in the world of social media where everyone is a publisher.It has never been easier to get recommendations from others or to publically bash a brand or company. If you’re not listening to what people are saying about your organization, good or bad, how can you react?
  • Now I’m going to talk a little about what some of our clients are doing and how their social media mix works for them.AACH is one of our clients that is made up of physicians, professors, hospital directors and other healthcare professionals.They have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & LinkedIn. They discovered that many of their members were already on LinkedIn. To leverage that, AACH decided to create a presence there with the Communication in Healthcare group. The group is a go-to place for members and non-members who want to share information about the healthcare communications industry.
  • AACH acts as a facilitator to the group and will regularly post new articles, links and video clips to be shared and start discussions. but often times the group is self-sustaining. Group members are actively sharing information with one another, asking questions and starting discussions.-330+ membersAACH cross-promotes some of that information on FB and Twitter but the real hub of their social interaction lies on LinkedIn.
  • Trees for Troops is the premier program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the charitable branch of the National Christmas Tree Association.Each year, Trees for Troops works with FedEx to deliver thousands of real Christmas trees that are donated by our Christmas tree farms and consumers across the U.S.T4T has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Over time, we discovered that many military families use Facebook so they can stay connected with loved ones who are stationed away from home as well as their extended family and friends.
  • Our Facebook page is a place where those families can go to share their stories and photos of their families with their Christmas tree. Many also ask questions about the program like when we’ll be at which bases, etc. Consumers also leave thank you notes for the person or Christmas tree farm that donated their tree. Often our member farms will post comments, photos and thank you notes to the troops as well.Page has become a big community scrapbook of stories and photos.Facebook – 2,600 likes-During T4T:staff, FedEx, military families and Christmas tree farms ALL post photos from tree pickups and base deliveries in real time. -during off-season, about 300 active monthly users-during nov-dec, about 3,600 active monthly users-post feedback up over 900%Twitter – 1,495 followers, Klout 38Used to gain support and friends among other military support groups. Gained support from major groups like Operation Gratitude & the USO, also Gary Sinise & Maddison PettisYouTube – news clippings of media coverage, photo collages that tell the T4T story. Members often share videos of T4T events at their farm or lot.
  • The last piece of the social media puzzle is measurement.If you have a clear strategy in place for your social media tactics, then it should be clear what you need to be measuring. Don’t just measure # of tweets or FB fans, unless that is your main goal. Think about measuring conversations, engagement/interactions, shares, comments, @replies, link clicks, etc. may be more relevant to your strategy.If your goal is:-gain more fans:measure FB Likes or Twitter Followers-increase donations: measure donations coming from social networks -sharing information: measure FB shares and Twitter RTs-website traffic: measure clicks from FB or Twitter
  • There are lots of tools to help you measure and keep track of your social media success.-Google Analytics can track all sorts of stats from your website or blog. -Hootsuite and Tweetdeck have some built in analytics. Paid versions can also create custom reports.-If you have it in your budget, Radian6 is a paid service that offers great tools for social media measurement.Other free tools:-EdgeRank Checker gives you your edgeRank score on Facebook – a number from 1 to 100; determined by the amount of interaction, shares, likes, comments, etc. Also tells you which day(s) are best and worst for posting, based on your history and the feedback from fans.-Bit.Ly is a URL shortener that can track the number of clicks for custom URLs created.There are many other tools out there. A quick google search should bode some suggestions. Or shoot a message to @JuntaJoe or another social media/content expert to ask their advice.Keep track of stats at least on a monthly basis to track your progress, and re-evaluate every 6 months to make sure you are still on track and on strategy.
  • Transcript

    • 1. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      A Practical Approach to Content Management for Your Association
    • 2. Agenda
      Structure and Strategy (Brian)
      Best Practices (Becky)
      Tactics and Tools (Lauren)
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 3. Organizational Revolution
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 4. Gatekeepers of Information
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Information
      Traditional Media
      News
      Audience
    • 5. Gatekeepers of Information
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 6. Gatekeepers of Knowledge
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Information
      Expert
      Knowledge
      Association
      Members
    • 7. Content-Driven Organization
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 8. Content-Driven Organization
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 9. Content-Driven Organization
      Internal champion
      Executive leadership
      Board support
      BONUS: Dedicated volunteers / committee members
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 10. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      You don’t define your audience.
      Mistake #1
    • 11. Be specific with each piece of content
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 12. Targeting leads to variety
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Research & Technical Info
      How-Tos
      Marketing & Promotion
      Member Profiles
      Career Advice
      Industry Trends
      Technology & Tools
      Legal Issues
      Personal Growth & Development
      Legislation & Policy
      Business & Finance
      Education & Training
      Idea Sharing
    • 13. It’s not just about members …
      Mainstream media
      Industry media
      Consumers/General Public
      Researchers
      Universities
      Students
      Policymakers
      Potential Members
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Is your association the expert in their eyes?
    • 14. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      It’s all me, me, me (or us, us, us).
      Mistake #2
    • 15. Be user-focused
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Your association can be the hero of the story, but it shouldn’t be the entire cast of characters.
    • 16. We’re all a little selfish
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      “If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen.” – John Steinbeck
      “You’re so vain … you probably think your content is about you.” – Carly Simon
      (Ok, that’s not exactly what she said, but we know it’s what she meant.)
    • 17. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Not addressing your members’ pain points
      Mistake #3
    • 18. Find out what keeps them up at night
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Not sure? Then ask!
      Member/reader surveys
      Editorial committee
      Social media
      Informal conversations
      Where else do they go for information?
      LISTEN
    • 19. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      What is your association currently producing that is so relevant and valuable that it earns a spot on your members’ fridge?
      Practice Refrigerator Journalism
      Your Story Here
    • 20. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Confusing “content” with “tools”
      Vs.
      Mistake #4
    • 21. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      It all starts with content
      “Engaging content starts and ends with telling a good story.” – David Drickhamer
    • 22. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Tools are the delivery vehicle
      Content
      Tools
    • 23. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Tools help you share the story
      Reducing Antibiotic Residues
    • 24. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Mistake #5
      Not making the most of your content
      Reuse
      Repurpose
      Reimagine
    • 25. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      How many of these are you using?
      Digital pubs
      White papers
      Podcasts
      Webinars
      Print Newsletters
      Journals
      Email newsletters
      LinkedIn
      Facebook
      Websites
      Magazines
      Blogs
      Conferences
      Videos
      Directories
      Twitter
      Slideshare
      YouTube
      Online Forum
      Newsrooms
      User-generated content
    • 26. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Overlooking the importance of an editor
      Mistake #6
    • 27. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      An editor’s many roles
    • June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Your content is your voice
      Is your content
      Does it
      • Offer a clear voice?
      • 38. Provide a call to action /“so-what”?
      • 39. Tell a story?
      • 40. Address a need or pain point?
    • June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Producing content and forgetting about it
      Mistake #7
    • 41. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      If content is produced and never read or used, did it really exist at all?
      Archive
      Share
      Re-imagine
      Measure
      Evaluate
      Adjust
      Keep your content alive
    • 42. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Communications audits – internal or external
      Reader surveys
      Member surveys/interviews
      Analytics
      Action/response
      If there’s a problem, it’s not the reader’s fault!
      Measurement Tools
    • 43. Checklist
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      • Does your content answer “What’s in it for me?”
      • 44. Does your content have at least one trigger to action?
      • 45. Are you patient?
      • 46. Have you developed an editorial calendar?
      • 47. Can your users easily find, access and share your content?
      • 48. Are you prepared for doing something – or at least one thing – really, really well?
    • Know your members
      “Start with people,
      not tools.”
      -Maddie Grant, CAE
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 49. Social media strategy
      Develop a strategy first, then make your move.
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 50. Quality over quantity
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Remember what Mom always said:
      “If everyone
      jumped off the bridge, would you do it too? ” 
    • 51. Social Media listening
      Communication is a two-way street
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 52. June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      Listen and respond
      Listening Tools
    • 53. Case Study #1: AACH
      American Academy on Communication in Healthcare
      Professional networking
      Industry Leader
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
      +
      =
    • 54. LinkedIn Group
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 55. Case Study #2: Trees for Troops
      A program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation
      Share stories and photos
      Military families, soldiers and Christmas tree farms
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 56. Facebook
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 57. Measurement
      Strategy should guide measurement
      Are you measuring what you need to be?
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 58. Measurement Tools
      Google Analytics
      HootSuite / TweetDeck
      Radian6
      EdgeRank Checker
      Bit.Ly
      Others
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 59. Questions?
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 60. Take Aways
      Tech is revolutionizing associations – content will help you keep your association on top.
      Avoid seven common mistakes.
      Start with people, not the tools.
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com
    • 61. Thank You!
      Brian Reuwee
      @BrianReuwee or reuwee@drakeco.com
      Becky Rasmussen
      rasmussen@drakeco.com
      Lauren Mangnall
      @LaurenMangnall or mangnall@drakeco.com
      June 15, 2011
      DRAKE & COMPANY | Making Dreams Fly
      www.drakeco.com | blog.drakeco.com

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