Give New Life to Member-Generated Content
Whether it’s articles or webinars, member-generated content can help your association showcase its value and demonstrate thought leadership. During a session at the 2023 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo, the American Staffing Association shared how that strategy has worked for them.
When used effectively, member-generated content—whether it comes from volunteers, speakers, vendors, or industry partners—can help your organization further its mission and drive member value.
During an Exploration Lab at the 2023 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo last week, the American Staffing Association (ASA) shared how they have used member-generated content to position the organization and its members as thought leaders and to encourage more people to volunteer.
Create Thought Leadership
In 2019, ASA wanted to reposition itself in the market, so they brought in a marketing firm to do an assessment.
“The firm told us that we had so much content, we needed to figure out a way to get it all back out into the market,” said Kelly Verberg, ASA’s vice president and chief membership officer.
That prompted ASA to get creative. The membership team planned to launch a campaign to highlight 10 major trends in the industry by reusing content that members had created. The team met with ASA staff across all departments to determine trends and verify which resources to use for each trend.
“To get a better sense of all our resources, we brought staff together and used a shared document to drop in the resources they thought made sense for each trend,” said Diana Mertz, CAE, senior director, membership and engagement, at ASA. “Depending on staff size, you don’t always know all available resources, so it’s an important internal part of the process.”
ASA then created a microsite for the campaign. Each web page described a trend and how it was affecting the industry and listed top resources that could help members navigate each trend. Resources included repurposed content from past conventions and magazine articles, as well as information about relevant ASA online communities and special interest groups.
“You can easily do this with just three trends,” Verberg said. “Just think about what’s going on in your industry, like the top three challenges, and tie it back to trends. We did this campaign in 2022 and 2023. In 2023, we saw a great reaction on LinkedIn with over 52,000 impressions.”
That success led ASA to develop a webinar led by members who were subject-matter experts on each trend. ASA targeted the leads from the trends campaign to come to the webinar. It resulted in one of ASA’s highest rated webinars so far in 2023.
Encourage New Volunteers
ASA also uses member-generated content to inspire other members to volunteer for the association.
Several years ago, to celebrate National Volunteer Week, ASA began to crowdsource video testimonials from volunteers. The membership team created a Dropbox file share, gave volunteers specifications for how to record their videos, and asked volunteers to answer one question: “What’s your favorite part of volunteering with ASA?”
“We received 30 testimonials,” Mertz said. “Because we had so many, we published a new video every day during volunteer appreciation week in April.”
ASA compiled the testimonials into one video to showcase the value of volunteering. Several volunteers talked about favorite experiences from years prior, which helped show the depth and opportunities for ASA volunteers.
“It’s the power of the ask,” Mertz said. “If you’re not asking, they aren’t going to raise their hand.”
Look for Content Sources
Paying attention to members can help you determine the best ways to gather and effectively use member-generated content. Start by taking the pulse of your online community or engaging with volunteer leaders.
“Those conversations highlight members’ issues, and that helps us encourage members to create content around the hot-button topics by participating in webinars, magazine articles, or blog posts,” Verberg said. “Listen to member conversations. For example, when you’re on a call with members, jot down some bullet points about the issues they’re discussing.”
Repurposing content, getting member perspectives, tapping volunteers and subject-matter experts, and using existing partner or sponsor content can help cultivate a wealth of member-generated content for your association.
“We all listen to our members, but you need to figure out what you do with that information, so that you can create your content and get it back into the market to drive revenue,” Verberg said.