Keeping Members Content with Good Content

As the saying goes: 'If you build it, they will come.' Are you building quality content?

When associations start considering how to reach out to current and potential members, there’s one key thing to keep in mind: People don’t like to be told what to do. It’s not reverse psychology—it’s just good manners.

And when it comes to producing content, good manners are a big part of the equation.

As a recent article from Inc. points out, changing up your marketing strategy is all but necessary to survive in a shifting world in which consumers are paying more attention to quality content than ever before.

Yes, that’s right: paying attention. By delivering your association’s mission statement and message in a smart way, you’re more likely to have people who are listening, instead of just clicking out of a display ad or blocking pop-up advertisements. By being subtle with content and distributing valued information, you’ll get potential members to take notice. Instead of being told to “click here for this” and “sign up for that,” they’ll be more likely to get wrapped up in your content.

“What is content?” asks Inc.’s Adam Bluestein. “It could be nearly anything: blog posts, white papers, webinars, podcasts, slide shows, videos. The key is that it engage customers—and spur them to share it with others.”

Content, Content, Everywhere

Bluestein explores the concept of “native advertising,” where advertising follows the format, style, and voice of whatever platform it appears in—for instance, a sponsored story versus a visual display ad. “The goal is for someone browsing a site to see the advertising as integral to, rather than an intrusion on, his or her overall experience of the site,” Bluestein says. It’s a key reason why viewers are seeing more sponsored posts and even sponsored social media, such as Tweets or Facebook campaigns that engage visitors. points to a recent report by eMarketer that defines some best practices for creating branded advertising:

  • Creating value
  • Telling a story
  • Choosing the right channel
  • Building traffic

Aubrey Beck, author of the blog post, sums it up perfectly: “After all, people don’t share ads. They share content.”

But Wait, There’s More

Content, however, doesn’t just come in the form of branded advertising. Associations everywhere are producing content, whether through magazines, e-newsletters or other means, and the stats show that associations are investing time and money into new publishing endeavors.

The most recent Association Publication Survey, published in the November issue of Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management, shows this trend in action. The survey, which included 917 respondents from professional associations, membership associations, trade associations, and charity/benevolent societies, offered these findings:

23 percent of respondents employ 10-24 part- or full-time staff for their publishing needs.

24 percent of respondents produce five to nine publications, while more than 10 percent produce 20 or more.

49 percent of respondents see up to 24 percent of their total revenue come from their publications.

How is your association producing content that engages your members? Share your strategy and success stories in the comments.


Chloe Thompson

By Chloe Thompson

Chloe Thompson is a contributing writer to Associations Now. MORE

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