3 Ways to Boost Your Messaging Skills

Want to make your association’s messaging to members more effective? Here are three tips to make it more personalized and relevant.

“It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.”

That’s something I hear myself saying a lot to my children. But, according to Futureproof: The 4 M’s That Redefine Your Association’s Future, a whitepaper from content marketing agency Imagination, associations could stand to hear it as well, especially in regards to their messaging to members.

Imagination defines messaging as “the way you convey your association’s central purpose and value to members, including the format and frequency of your association’s communications.”

But often associations stumble over their messaging. They might “deliver impersonal, lackluster messages in just one or two channels, at a cadence that doesn’t come close to keeping up with members’ needs,” according to the whitepaper. Or, in their zeal to be relevant, they go all digital and “end up alienating both younger members who crave authenticity (by doing online wrong) and longtime members who may not be interested in getting their news on Twitter (by ignoring offline channels).”

But, according to Imagination President and CEO James Meyers, “associations who build relationships with members through personalized, relevant messaging … have members who are more engaged with and committed to their association and its objectives.”

Here are a few tips to get your messaging back on track:

Keep your messaging consistent. “If your newsletters read like business memos, but your tweets read like TMZ headlines, there’s a disconnect,” according to the whitepaper. To correct inconsistent messaging, associations should break down the silos among different departments and make sure everyone is one the same page about what their story or messaging is. Imagination also recommends developing “a style guide that outlines the association’s story and its preferred communication do’s and don’ts. Then make it required reading for all your employees.”

Deliver messaging different ways. Not all association members are alike, so it follows that not all of them like to consume information in the same way. If possible, let your members choose when and how to get your information. For instance, if you’re trying to get a message across to a broad range of members, associations should consider putting it out in several formats (i.e., a print magazine article, a podcast interview, a photo on Instagram) in order to reach “a different member persona in the way that works best for them.”

Measure your messaging success. To get leadership buy-in on revamping your association’s messaging strategy—or to just determine how successful your messaging is—it’s important to install measurement tools that link membership engagement with ROI. According to Imagination, seeing this data “can help take the rest of your association’s leadership from agnostics to advocates.”

What are the tried-and-true messaging tips that your association relies on to reach your members? Please leave your comments below.

(twinsterphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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