Content Marketing for Associations


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Mahlab Media's Head of Client Services, Roslyn Atkinson, shares her expertise of all things content marketing in this in-depth and thought provoking presentation.

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Content Marketing for Associations

  1. 1. CONTENT MARKETING FOR ASSOCIATIONS Roslyn Atkinson Head of Client Services, Mahlab Media
  2. 2. 12 MONTHS FROM NOW… Imagine it’s a year from now. Your annual report has just come out. What does it say? “At the start of the year, we embarked on a new member communications strategy. While it’s only early days, members are engaged like never before.”
  3. 3. We have improved our position as the authoritative source of information, education and thought leadership in our sector. Members highly value the useful content that is provided to them. It is easy to read on mobile devices and easy to find when they need it. We no longer compete head-to-head with news titles and websites in our sector. We have created our own blue ocean for advertisers.
  5. 5. THAT SOUNDS GREAT, BUT … The top four member comms challenges for associations*: 1.  2.  3.  4.  Lack of staff (62%) Measuring ROI of member comms (44%) Disengaged members (39%) Adapting to new technologies (37%) Sound familiar? Member Comms Survey, Mahlab Media/Associations Forum, October 2013 *
  6. 6. THE BUDGET PROBLEM Boards and CEOs tend to see member comms as a cost, while they see marketing as an investment: “Why are our member comms running at a loss? How can we cut costs?” “We need advertising to cover the cost to ensure our member comms break even.” “I don’t understand why we spend so much money on social media. What’s the ROI of Twitter?”
  7. 7. THE ADVERTISING PROBLEM Advertising is not a cash cow for associations any more.
  8. 8. Advertising is getting harder, while print advertising is in decline around the world. Only 21% of associations are able to get advertising to cover the production costs of their member comms. For 69%, it doesn’t, and 11% don’t know. Companies need to justify their marketing spend. ‘Brand awareness’ by sticking a banner ad into an association’s enewsletter, website or journal doesn’t cut it any more.
  9. 9. Content marketing: up 64% Money is coming out of advertising budgets and shifting into more direct marketing efforts.
  10. 10. You need to keep adding new platforms and creative solutions just to keep advertisers interested.
  11. 11. THE SOLUTION Break out of a publishing business model for your member comms and turn it into a content marketing business model.
  12. 12. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? Using engaging content to attract and retain customers.
  13. 13. PUBLISHING VS CONTENT MARKETING Publishing: •  The content is the product. •  Revenue comes from sales of the content (subscriptions/ newsstand sales/ membership fees) and selling the audience (advertising). Content marketing: •  The product is the product. •  Revenue comes from sales of the product, which could be anything from CocaCola to bulldozers.
  16. 16. How publishing makes money Subscription s/newstand sales Advertising How content marketing makes money Supporting sales of products and services
  17. 17. What associations do tends to be a blend of the two But ... is this how boards see it? Advertising revenue Supporting sales of products and services Advertising revenue Loss Membership fees
  18. 18. Content marketing tends to be campaign specific. Eg content strategies to promote: •  •  •  •  Annual Convention Workshops Membership renewals Mentoring programs
  19. 19. Turning your member comms into content marketing will help you to grow the bottom line of your association … and justify your member comms budget!
  20. 20. How much would the following be worth for your association: 1% increase in member retention 1% growth in new members 1% increase in average revenue per member 1% increase in Convention registrations 1% increase in purchases from the online shop How much of an influencing factor would member comms be towards achieving this extra $$$ ?
  22. 22. READER BEHAVIOUR What have you read or watched this week? Look at the following pictures. How familiar are these scenarios to you in an average week?
  23. 23. What factors influenced what you read and when? At work - online, desktops, smartphones At home - for relaxation/enjoyment: print magazines or videos on your iPad At home - for research: online, Google searches on Samsung tablet.
  24. 24. WHY READER HABITS ARE CHANGING Availability of information Accessibility of information We’re so used to being able to find anything we want from a Google search. The proliferation of technology means we can access information at any time from anywhere.
  25. 25. We don’t like being sold to. We want to do our own research so we know what we’re talking about by the time we talk to a salesperson. Research from Sirius Decisions finds that in businessto-business (B2B) scenarios, 70% of the purchase decision is made before the prospect ever contacts the company. Google research from 2011 found that consumers look at an average of 10.7 sources of information before making a purchase decision.
  26. 26. The Zero Moment of Truth is the moment when someone decides they’re actively interested in purchasing something - whether that’s a car, shoes, a conference registration or even membership of a professional association. What’s the first thing EVERYONE does these days? If they don’t go online to your content and you don’t provide them with the answers they’re looking for, you don’t exist.
  28. 28. “Customers should find the answers to all their questions in your content. If they can’t find it, you’ll lose them. You cannot think for a second that you need to wait until you’re face to face with the customer.” Marcus Sheriden from River Pools, who once generated $2 million of revenue from a single blog post.
  29. 29. We’re mobile. Most Australians now have access to a tablet device and nearly everyone has smartphones. 49% of Australian households have at least one person who owns a tablet device.* 73% of Australians aged between 15 and 65 own a smartphone. * *. Australian Mobile Device Usage Trends Report, August 2013. Frost and Sullivan.
  30. 30. We’re skeptical. Advertising tells customers you’re the best. Content marketing proves you’re the best. Content marketing builds trust between the consumer and the organisation. Content marketing puts YOU (the consumer) in control.
  33. 33. Great content engages your audience, builds trust and converts a potential customer by encouraging them to choose your product or service. Content Awareness 1 Engagement 2 3 Lead nurture 4 Return on investment Lead generation Lead conversion
  35. 35. 1. Identify your sweet spot “Your sweet spot is the intersection between your customers’ pain points and where you have the most authority with your stories.” Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute.
  36. 36. What do members and prospective members really want? “(Members’) main reason for joining is for access to relevant information – they are looking to their association to be the leading, authoritative source of news about their profession.” From the Association Matters survey 2013, conducted by Survey Matters in conjunction with AuSAE, which quizzed 8,000 members of 23 associations in Australia and New Zealand.
  37. 37. 2. Be useful. “Youtility is real-time relationship building. You’re either sufficiently useful at any given moment, and thus can connect with the customer, or you’re not.” Jay Baer, content marketing guru and author of Youtility.
  39. 39. 3. Be entertaining. You’re far more likely to be shared if you can make people smile.
  41. 41. 4. Be provocative. Take a stand and don’t be afraid to be controversial. Members expect their association to be proactive on issues they care about.
  43. 43. So what’s great content? Have shared values - you care about the same thing as your audience. This builds trust and develops a relationship with your audience. It’s not about being manipulative. You have to be authentic to be successful. Remember that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have available.
  44. 44. HOW DO YOU DISTRIBUTE IT? It’s not enough to have great content unless you distribute it in the right way … otherwise it may never be seen or heard …
  45. 45. Respect and appreciate your audience’s time. Some content requires short attention spans, other content requires long attention spans. Engage your audience with the right balance between the two.
  46. 46. A little test … If you have a tablet device with you, hold it in your hands and lean forward in your seat to read something on the screen. Now lean back in your seat and read it. Does it feel any different?
  48. 48. How do you communicate with your members … For 30 seconds a day For 1 minute a week For 5 minutes a fortnight For 10 minutes a month For 30 minutes every three months For 60 minutes every six months
  49. 49. LEAD GENERATION Have downloadable content that your audience can keep. Have calls to action that encourage them to give you their name and email address in exchange for something useful eg webinars, ebooks, enews sign-ups.
  50. 50. MEASURING RETURN ON INVESTMENT Content What are your objectives? 1 2 Grow prospect database 3 Increase lead generation for particular segments 4 Drive new sales 5 Return on investment Build brand profile/ perception Increase customer loyalty/ repeat business 6 Advertising sales
  51. 51. What metrics tie in with your goals? These could include: •  Opens and click-through rates on emails •  Website traffic •  Bounce rate of landing pages •  Clicks on calls to action •  Downloads of ebooks •  Registrations to events
  52. 52. CASE STUDY
  53. 53. Objectives 1. Grow awareness – Increase awareness of NIBA and its products and services. 2. Strengthen member engagement – Improve overall perception of and engagement with the NIBA brand. 3. Support sales of NIBA’s products and services – Including NIBA College, the NIBA mentoring program and the NIBA Convention. 4. Grow advertising revenue. 5. Position NIBA as the authoritative source and thought leader.
  54. 54. Results Greater awareness 6% increase in circulation of print magazine 42% of members say Insurance & Risk Professional has increased their awareness of NIBA events 76% increase in unique visitors to website 44% increase in YouTube views in past six months Stronger member engagement 95% of readers rate Insurance & Risk Professional as good or excellent Increased sales 157% growth in registrations to annual Convention, from 700 to 1800 Growth in advertising revenue 12% increase in total advertising revenue over past year
  55. 55. Promoting the NIBA Mentoring Program with content across multiple channels:
  56. 56. CASE STUDY
  57. 57. Objectives 1. Increase awareness of IPWEA among non-members both in Australia and overseas. 2. Raise the profile of IPWEA as a high quality and attractive member organisation for public works professionals. 3. Promote IPWEA products and services such as technical manuals, publications, workshops and international conference. 4. Increase engagement with existing member base by encouraging interaction. 5. Protect advertising revenue in tough market conditions.
  58. 58. Monthly enewsletters for communities of practice Magazine - bi-monthly in print and digital
  59. 59. Mobile app Forums
  60. 60. Young IPWEA - video from National Conference Young IPWEA - enews update
  61. 61. Results: 45% growth in membership due to merger with NZ. 55% growth in prospect database. 175% increase in monthly visits to the website.
  62. 62. 13% improvement in overall performance for membership engagement. 95% of members intend to renew in 2013, up from 90% in 2011. IPWEA ranked number one in the Australian Beatons Association Benchmarks Report for overall performance and value of membership.
  63. 63. THE MOST COMMON QUESTION Do I need exclusive content for members?
  64. 64. Lethal generosity: “Giving away your expertise and teaching your customers what you know does one amazing thing — it positions you as the expert in your industry.  That is the core of content marketing.” Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute.
  65. 65. HELP!
  66. 66. WHERE DO I START? 1. Identify your sweet spot: •  What content would be really useful for members and prospective members? •  What are your main revenue drivers? How can you support these with great content? 2. Get the platform mix right: •  How can you make it easy for the content to be found and read? Start with website content. •  What are your main member comms goals? And finally …
  67. 67. Be brave.
  68. 68. FOR MORE INFORMATION… Sign up to the Mahlab Media enewsletter on content marketing for associations at: