Updated: Sep 7
We've worked with multiple membership organisations to devise content strategies that support member recruitment, retention and engagement.
In fact the majority of our work for our clients either starts with or revolves around thematic pillars, key topic areas that members and industry/profession are most concerned about, interested in.
It's impossible to detangle member content from member engagement.
At b2b we define content as -
Information that your membership organisation produces, co-creates, commissions and/or licences that it shares to promote, engage, inform guide and educate its membership, wider customer and stakeholder community to deliver its objectives. Content is produced in a variety of formats and delivered across multiple platforms and channels. This includes information shared; on and offline, in print, event and conference content (verbal and non-verbal), webinars, eLearning, blogs, podcasts, policy and PR.
We tend to exclude formal qualification content, membership grading and member/student registration information from this broad definition.
From the commercial consulting project we undertook for CIPD back in 2008 to define their partnerships strategy, to the foundation of CIPS content partnership strategy including the project development of thier pay prospects research and report which is still today one of CIPS's most engaged/visited content areas, APM's content strategy to more recently the content pillars/framework we have devised with the Royal Meteorological Society.
We understand that every membership organisation is unique and each membership base requirements are different. This means that your content plans are going to be specific to your member need and wider industry/profession demands. However, there are some common steps that we encourage every membership organisation to consider regardless of the industry or profession they represent.
Here are a few considerations to help you co-create your member and content strategies.
Understand Your Audience: Research your members' preferences, pain points, and interests. Gather feedback and data from surveys, polls, and social media. Do this regularly and measure engagement to ensure you stay relevant.
Define Clear Objectives: Set specific objectives for individual and joint content strategy and member engagement strategy. Whether it's increasing event attendance, driving peer to peer discussions, educating, or promoting member benefits, having clear goals will guide your content creation efforts.
Segment Your Content: Break your members into different segments as different demographics of members, different levels of experience, different specialisms may require different content and topics. Some member segments may need their content delivered in a different way due to accessibility.
Provide Valuable and Relevant Content: Produce non-sales content that explains and addresses the challenges and interests. Offer information, guidance and resources, industry insights, best practices and most importantly PRACTICAL solutions to their problems.
Diversify Content Formats: Utilise various content formats such as articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, and interactive content. Diversifying formats caters to different learning preferences, level of accessibility and keeps content engaging. We worked with an association recently to devise a new content plan and the majority of thier members work in transit so can only access content via mobile devices rather than via a lap/desk top.
Create a Content Calendar: Plan and organise your content creation and distribution with a content calendar. Particularly research report and guidance releases, with your events programming and regular publications. Schedule content based on important events, industry trends, or member feedback. Look for overlaps in scheduling and topic areas so you can bundle activities together by theme to drive stronger engagement.
Sweat Your Content: Remember to sweat your content. Make it work for you. Think about how you can reuse, repurpose and upcycle your content. No more one hit wonders. Consider how to get longevity and lasting engagement on a topic/issue.
Encourage Member Contributions: Foster a sense of community by inviting members to contribute their ideas for content. Guest posts, member spotlights, or success stories can strengthen engagement and member involvement.
Don't Rely on Volunteers To Provide You with Content: We've got plenty of stories where membership organisations depend on their members or volunteers to provide content for free. Whilst this is an attractive proposition, often due to conflicting priorities the content is not delivered on time or to the format or standard originally discussed. Creating more work and costs for your in the long run. If you must use volunteer subject matter experts, put in place a set of clear terms of expectations in writing.
Promote Interactive Content: A tactical suggestion is to include interactive elements in your content, such as polls, surveys, quizzes, or discussion questions. This encourages members to actively participate and share their opinions back to you and with one another.
Utilise Social Media Platforms: Use bite sized content/summaries to create social media cards or share content on your social media channels to reinforce message, drive traffic and reach a broader audience. Respond to comments, tag in other relevant materials and and engage with members on social platforms.
Measure Content Performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your content. Analyse metrics such as engagement rates, click-, and time spent on pages to identify what content resonates best with your members. Do this regularly. Track what the most downloaded/visited topics are. Being able to track engagement at this level will also support the generation of income from interested content partners.
Respond to Member Feedback: Ask your members for feedback regularly and listen. Adapt your content strategy based on member and industry need, preferences and trends to ensure your content remains relevant and valuable.
Continuously Improve: Regularly review and assess the effectiveness of your content strategy. Make data-driven improvements based on insights gained from content performance and member feedback.
A member-centric content strategy means that your organisation will stay relevant, deliver value, have impact and encourage participation.