Marketing departments need a content strategy that aligns with the association’s mission, engages members, and allows for repurposing across multiple channels.
Association marketing teams looking to improve their content strategy should focus on three areas—alignment, engagement, and reuse. Mandy Moody, communications manager at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), learned from experience the importance of having a strategy.
“We were just churning out content,” Moody said of their scattershot approach a few years ago. “There was no rhyme or reason, no strategy. We were just making cool stuff. We were just like, ‘Ooh, let’s do a podcast; that will be fun.’”
And while such an approach can achieve occasional successes, it rarely produces sustained success. For that, associations need to make sure the approach is in sync with its mission. “[We] want to align ourselves with the association goals and even to align ourselves with department goals,” said Moody, who will be speaking at a session at ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition later this month.
Moody revamped ACFE’s content strategy after attending a conference where she had what she calls an aha moment. “We went back to the drawing board and said, ‘How can we make it so what we are making gets used or reused and is really useful for our events department and our members?’” she said.
To answer that question, she needed data. “If we’re not measuring the data, we don’t know if we’re doing a good job or not,” Moody said. “We could think we’re great and be failing.”
While there was lots of data available, Moody realized they’d been looking at it the wrong way. “We got away from metrics of millions of impressions. It sounds cool, but it is people who could have seen your content,” Moody said. “We wanted to know who was engaging with the content.”
ACFE looked at whether people interacted with content by leaving comments or sharing it. And the association experimented to see what worked and what didn’t, keeping an eye on measuring engagement and comparing it to previous tries.
“If we’re doing a Twitter chat, we may not be able measure that against the previous quarter, if we didn’t do one,” she said. “The first [Twitter chat] we did just bombed—not much engagement, not many participants. But we didn’t say, ‘we’re not doing it again.’ We asked what worked and what didn’t. The next Twitter chat was different. We reached out to people directly and asked them to come. We cohosted, which already adds more people. The third one we did was really awesome.”
While Moody said ACFE found a good rhythm with Twitter chats through experimenting and measuring results, that same methodology caused the organization to jettison an Ask the Expert feature in an online forum because members were not engaging.
In addition to focusing on engagement, Moody said it helps to repurpose content. “We have all this content that we use, and it was one and done,” Moody said. “It can get remade or reused.”
Repurposing content allows ACFE to share it on multiple communications channels, meaning it can reach members and potential members via different avenues. For example, ACFE publishes a global study every two years. Instead of just mentioning the report once, Moody’s team repurposes it into many pieces so it gets several looks.
“From this report, which is like a thirty-page printed report, we get a hundred pieces of content from it,” she said. “We turned one infographic into five different photos on Instagram. One of the other infographics, we turned into an article called ‘The 6 Most Common Behavioral Red Flags of Fraud.’”
Moody says her team turned the CEO’s foreword to the report into a blog post. Anything ACFE has audio for, such as conference sessions or Facebook live sessions, it considers repurposing into a podcast. “It’s taking a bunch of little things that can be turned into other things,” Moody said.
How has your marketing team improved its content strategy? Share your experiences in the comments.