Let Nonmembers Sample Your Benefits Using Open Content

To offer a taste of its benefits, the National Speakers Association announced it is opening its official publication Speaker magazine to nonmembers.

An association’s publication is often considered one of its greatest member benefits, but some organizations are opening up their members-only content to nonmembers in an effort to publicize some of the resources they have to offer.

This is a great way to continue to position NSA as the authority in our profession and to also stay in touch with former members and future members.

The National Speakers Association, for example, recently announced that it is opening its magazine, Speaker, to nonmembers via a subscription service.

By opening Speaker to nonmembers, “they get a feel for what it is to be a member of NSA,” says Stacey Magneson, NSA marketing coordinator. “[Nonmembers] are getting a feel of how members talk and the subjects they talk about. A lot of the articles are tips and bits of information that are really, really relevant to the speaking career, so we definitely want them to get a feel for the information and community that they would get once they become an NSA member.”

A couple of months ago, NSA also started offering each issue of Speaker online for free to members and nonmembers. But some people prefer a hard-copy version, Magneson says, which is why NSA now also offers a one-year, U.S. subscription to nonmembers for $49 or a two-year, U.S. subscription for $69.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the decision to open Speaker magazine, I spoke with NSA CEO Stacy Tetschner, FASAE, CAE.

What made NSA decide to open the magazine to members and nonmembers?

Speaker magazine has always been a benefit of membership, and as we redeveloped the content a few years ago we realized that beyond a member education and communication tool, it was also the premier trade magazine for our profession.

We also had interest from some who were either interested in the profession or were already speakers, but not necessarily “joiners,” and they wanted to stay connected. We saw this as the best tool to stay in touch and keep connected.

What are some of the benefits that you think NSA will see from opening the magazine to nonmembers?

This is a great way to continue to position NSA as the authority in our profession and to also stay in touch with former members and future members. While being a member may not be right for them right now, it may someday, and by staying in touch, they get a flavor for many of the things we do to lead the profession.

Was there one thing that initiated the decision to open the print magazine? Or was this a decision a while in the making?

It was a decision that was a while in the making. We needed to be sure we had a product that we could be proud of and that it was positioned for the brand we wanted to represent as the leader of the speaking profession.

Once we were confident that we had done that then it was easy to open it up to non-member subscribers.

Do you think more associations should open their magazine or publication content to nonmembers?

I believe in this era of information availability, there is typically nothing that is so proprietary that it cannot be found somewhere else on the internet. So the days of a magazine being a members-only benefit that cannot be found somewhere else have passed.

Why not make it easy for someone to sample one of your benefits through a magazine subscription?  And if you have a compelling benefit for them to sample, they will see more reasons to join and take advantage of everything you have to offer.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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