Business Pro Tip: Build a Quick-Stats Database for Members and the Media

Have a research arm? Create a website with some top-level data points that members or journalists can reference—a strategy CompTIA is using to good effect.

Perhaps this sounds familiar: You’re making a case to the board, and your argument would be a lot stronger if there were a stat to point to.

Associations can help people in this situation—and when done correctly, it could prove an interesting twist on the standard FAQ that drives members to your existing research.

What’s the Strategy?

CompTIA recently launched a website called Quick Stats, which highlights basic statistics about the information technology industry, which the association represents.

The site includes a number of key statistics, but once you click on a data point, you’re pulled into an explanation of it—and encouraged to check out a report or white paper that further contextualizes the data.

Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s vice president for industry and technology research, said that in the past, the association put data points like these within a search engine. They found that when results didn’t meet users’ needs, it created maintenance challenges for the organization.

“So people might be searching for things, and then feeling like they’re not finding them and coming back and it could cause you more headaches than it’s worth,” Robinson said in an interview.

That led to the more curated approach that Quick Stats takes.

Why Is It Effective?

Robinson noted that this type of tool created a useful spin on the traditional FAQ, in which common issues are gathered in a single resource.

“For us, the basic premise was kind of observing that certain questions came up, time and time again,” he said. “And so, how do you take the research that you’re collecting or the institutional knowledge that you have, and surface the most frequently asked questions?”

Robinson noted that a lot of associations have inherent institutional knowledge, but they might not know how to present it. The layered approach of Quick Stats encourages those who hope to take a deeper dive to do so.

“In our tool, you can see the stack right away, then you can expand the stack and get a little bit of a writeup and a chart,” he said. “And then there’s a link in every one of those that links to a full research report. So there’s a few different layers of information there. That can serve multiple means depending on what the member is looking for.”

What’s the Potential?

While the target of this initially was CompTIA’s own member base, Robinson said that the association quickly realized that this would be a good tool for journalists, who are often looking for data points such as these for the articles they write.

“So I think we definitely felt like this could serve a dual purpose, and not only serving the member base, but also helping us with our communication to the outside world and helping people understand the types of research we’re doing, the types of data we have available,” he said.

The layered approach of the data gives journalists berth to not just pepper statistics into articles, but to use the information as a launchpad. “[It] gives them an idea and then makes them reach out to us for further discussion,” Robinson said.

The result is a member benefit that could prove a messaging benefit, too.

(sesame/DigitalVision Vectors)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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