Top Stories of 2014: Here’s What You Read and Shared From Associations Now

From Ebola to drones to cybersecurity, it's been an exciting year in association news. We looked back to see what grabbed and held your attention and what you shared most with other association pros. Here's a look back at the most popular Associations Now stories of 2014.

You, dear readers, have covered a lot of ground in 2014. We took a look at our web-traffic data to get a snapshot of what you found most interesting, most compelling, and most buzz-worthy this year at Associations Now. We feel like we know you a little better than we did a year ago—and we hope you feel the same about us.

2014’s Most-Viewed Stories

1. Four Ways That Ratings Changed Videogames Forever

By Ernie Smith, September 16
Two decades ago, the videogame industry responded to a threat of federal regulation by launching a trade group and introducing its own voluntary MPAA-style ratings system for games. The solution worked. Here are the lessons you can take from the effort.

2. Horror Writers Association Calls for End to Author Bullying

By Katie Bascuas, April 2
In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the association asked the online retailer to update its customer review policy to protect authors and publishers from harassment.

3. Do You Know Your Members’ Engagement Potential?

By Joe Rominiecki, January 22
More engagement equals more renewals, right? Maybe not. The new book The Art of Membership explains that some members don’t want to become more engaged, but if you understand what those members do want, you can keep them satisfied and renewing year after year.

4. “Right to Farm” Amendment Stirs Up Passions in Missouri

By Ernie Smith, August 4
A proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that was up for a vote in August sounded a little odd: It would codify the right to farm and ranch in a state known for farming and ranching. But it drew passionate advocacy from all sides because of its potential to affect governments’ ability to regulate farming operations. In the end, voters narrowly approved the measure.

5. 4 Survey Findings That Illustrate a Big Problem for Associations

By Joe Rominiecki, July 2
One possible solution for associations struggling with membership is rather obvious, but associations seem to be ignoring it. This and other highlights from new benchmarking research.

2014’s Most-Shared Stories

  1. Four Ways That Ratings Changed Videogames Forever, by Ernie Smith, September 16
  2. Horror Writers Association Calls for End to Author Bullying, by Katie Bascuas, April 2
  3. Tragic Loss Brings Valuable Lessons for Gay Pilots Association, by Rob Stott, November 13
  4. What We Lose When an Online Startup Fails, by Ernie Smith, October 21
  5. Executive Summary: Ushma J. Suvarnakar, CMP, MTA, October 8

Readership Highlights

What does your reading behavior reveal?

Association management is still largely an office-bound profession, as is clearly reflected in our desktop-versus-mobile breakdown, where mobile’s share of traffic is less than you’d likely see in more on-the-go fields. (In case you didn’t know, features responsive design, so don’t be afraid to visit us on your phones and tablets. It looks great!)

Meanwhile, Twitter is the dominant social network among association professionals to talk about the association profession, and it drove the lion’s share of social traffic to That stands in contrast to broader web-traffic trends, where Facebook dominates.

Big Days

In the span of a single week in September, Associations Now saw its highest single-day web traffic and its most-opened Daily News email.

That big traffic day? September 17, driven by the year’s top-viewed story, Ernie Smith’s “Four Ways That Ratings Changed Videogames Forever.”

Five days later, on Monday, September 22, came the Daily News edition opened more than any other issue, under the subject line “Stepping Down As CEO: One Leader’s Thought Process.”

Staying Power

Some stories were so compelling that they held your attention both in the moment and over the long term.

Longest average time spent on page: New Hampshire Looks to Kick-Start Craft Beers With Marketing Nonprofit, by Ernie Smith, January 23. The average reader spent 9 minutes, 41 seconds with this one! We’re not sure why, but who doesn’t like a good beer story?

Most “evergreen” story: The Leadership Elements That Made Nelson Mandela an Icon, by Ernie Smith, December 9, 2013, kept drawing readers all year, thanks to persistent Google search traffic. The story ranks 11th for the search “Nelson Mandela leadership.

Top Stories by Topic


Most viewed: How Storytelling Defines Your Brand, by Mark Athitakis, May 5, 2014
Most shared: Tragic Loss Brings Valuable Lessons for Gay Pilots Association, by Rob Stott, November 13


Most viewed and most shared: Four Ways That Ratings Changed Videogames Forever, by Ernie Smith, September 16


Most viewed and most shared: Do You Know Your Members’ Engagement Potential? by Joe Rominiecki, January 22

Money & Business

Most viewed and most shared: Horror Writers Association Calls for End to Author Bullying, by Katie Bascuas, April 2


Most viewed: The Story Behind Hillary Clinton and That Flying Shoe, by Ernie Smith, April 11
Most shared: The Sweet Spot for Air Travelers: Seat 7F? by Ernie Smith, June 12

What other Associations Now stories stood out to you in 2014? Share your favorites in the comments.


Associations Now Staff

By Associations Now Staff

The Associations Now team of editors covers all aspects of association management in print, blogs, and daily news. MORE

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