Using content to acquire new members


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Presentation materials for a talk given at O'Reilly Media's one-day "Tools of Change" conference in Chicago on April 9, 2012

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Using content to acquire new members

  1. 1. Using content to acquire newmembers (and do other fun stuff) BRIAN F. O’LEARY TOOLS OF CHANGE – CHICAGO APRIL 9, 2012
  2. 2. Six core ideas Repackage great content Include content in recruiting efforts Distribute copies in “public place” locations Sell institutional subscriptions Give content away Remember the leave-behind
  3. 3. One core lesson: understand your targets Not aware Aware LapsedMember, Subscriber, Purchaser, Loyal Consumer
  4. 4. Repackage great content Capitalize on or create a niche Rebrand a professional series (e.g “member toolkit”) Target a group (e.g., “young professionals”) and show how your content works for them “Just in time” content: a chapter or a compilation from several other publications Cross-over compilations: content taken from books, magazines, newsletters, blogs and more Adapt print content for webinars and other media It’s okay to charge for this (or at least put a price on it) Sources: James Heib, Marble Institute of America; Magellan research
  5. 5. Tools of the trade Print-on-demand and short-run vendors like Author Solutions, Lulu, Smashwords and CreateSpace (Amazon) SharedBook’s “Blog2Print” option PressBooks, a WordPress-based tool that supports output to PDF, EPUB and HTML Apple’s iBooks platform, competing with Kindle Direct for paid sales The Daisy Consortium (accessibility)
  6. 6. Make content part of your recruiting offer Make “best of” or “special issue” offers that borrow from member-benefit content Ask yourself: “What do we know/do that no one else knows/does?” Show prospective members (buyers) how your content meets their expressed and latent needs Differentiate platforms (magazines for thought leadership; blogs for perspective and debate, etc.) “Tools of the trade” can be used here, too
  7. 7. Use “public place” locations Relevance varies; know your niche Use response vehicles (cards, source & QR codes) Track results (it’s a data-driven business) Single-copy sales (cautiously!) Example: American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Sources: Folio:, James Heib, Scott Oser, Magellan research
  8. 8. Sell institutional subscriptions Journals, annuals, special reports Some publications Works well if you have vetted content Content can sell at a (much) higher price Helps to validate your credentials Sources: Scott Oser, Magellan research
  9. 9. Give content away (smartly!) First: know the companies or individuals you want to recruit Offer samples whenever you exhibit at or attend relevant conferences and trade shows Court industry influencers: government leaders, key decision makers Evaluate lower-cost, digital-only options
  10. 10. Some digital-only options Apple’s iBooks Author platform (iPad only) Google Currents (format for mobile) Kindle Publishing for Periodicals Adobe Digital Publishing (tablet only) Inkling (cross-platform, cloud-based) WordPress (and PressBooks) Multiple HTML5 frameworks The Atavist, Byliner (longer-form, for-sale products) Source: Magellan research
  11. 11. Remember the leave-behind! Editors, writers and contributors often speak outside of your association Give them copies of the publications in which their work appeared Encourage them to give it away, mail or e-mail it to their contacts and colleagues (make it easy to do so) Partner with organizations that need your content and can introduce it to non-members
  12. 12. New rules of thumb for recruiting with content Not “outbound”; think “surround” Targets resist “campaigns”; try “experiences” and “relationships” Increasingly “segments” are too broad. Develop offers that resonate with “individuals” Think about selling relevant books or compilations published by others (look bigger, more helpful) Source: Forrester Research, 2010
  13. 13. Six core ideas Repackage great content Include content in membership recruiting efforts Distribute copies in “public place” locations Sell institutional subscriptions Give content away Remember the leave-behind
  14. 14. Additional resources Association Media & Publishing Scott Oser, Clay Shirky, James Kane ASAE’s membership section O’Reilly Media’s Radar blog (books, new media) Magellan’s blog (associations, magazines, books) A mini-bibliography: