Looking to sponsors as thought leaders and content creators can boost nondues revenue and increase member engagement and retention. Find out how.
By now it’s pretty clear that “business as usual” as a concept is over. Opportunities lie in places no one ever thought of looking before. Case in point: sponsors. There has been a traditional way of looking at sponsors, but what if you look at them as thought leaders who create value for members?
“Sponsors are seeing themselves as credible thought leaders today. They are seeing themselves as solution providers, and they want to inform, educate, and inspire members,” said Dan Stevens, president of WorkerBee.TV, Inc., during a recent webinar, “Five Key Content Models That Engage Members and Sponsors.”
Make Video Work for You
Millennials, Gen Z, and younger generations are at the stage of their careers where they are joining associations. And they are digital natives who expect and rely on video content. That means associations need to create videos that work for them. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to do that, Stevens said, is to integrate your sponsorship model with your content-planning model.
One content idea shared during the webinar was a video-zine series, which can be a member profile series, or any other kind of content that has a consistent theme. A video-zine is the most like a magazine and, as many associations have moved to a digital-first format, it is more intuitive to take sections from the print magazine and replicate them in video format.
Sponsorship can fit into those digital video sections in the same way sponsors supported magazine content. But with video it’s not one sponsor, but multiple sponsors. Think of it this way: You wouldn’t publish an entire magazine with only one advertiser, so structure the video content model so there are premium solutions, mid-range solutions, and lower-priced solutions—just like full-page, cover, back cover, or half-page ads for print magazines.
“That opportunity has allowed people to bring the concept of the magazine into a modern and consumable format,” Stevens said.
Increase Engagement and Retention
The proliferation of online video content for conferences has created another content stream that can be repurposed in many ways. Associations tend to “firehose members with all this content at once and hope they can figure out what to watch,” Stevens said. A better approach? Take live content from a webinar or a prerecording from a virtual event, and instead of turning it into a full-length video, create a summary or micro-learning video that can be used on social media and other platforms.
The benefit of maximizing content in this way is, it creates several ways for members and nonmembers to access content. A two-to three-minute summary of content might be all some people need. But if they want to go deeper, they can opt to pay for the additional, longer content. “That’s an engagement tool that helps with retention,” Stevens said.
Going to sponsors with ideas for content they can create is a much better strategy than just asking them if they want to produce a video with your association. “Their eyes will glaze over,” Stevens said. But if you approach the sponsor and ask if they can speak or write on a specific topic that is relevant to members, they are more likely to want to participate. That’s why it’s essential to have a list of member-relevant topics ready to present to sponsors.
There is the potential to make money on each video, fill up your content calendar with useful topics for members, and invest the profit from those videos into content that wouldn’t be as desirable to sponsors. It’s a win-win.