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Content strategies for associations are unique and challenging

How associations are different

Why is content strategy for associations different? Because content is our business. We can’t give it all away.

For us, there is no cliche more cringe-inducing than “content is king.”  If content were king, associations would all be royalty online. We have content. Tons of content. For us, the challenge is not finding new and interesting things to post, it’s posting it in a way that stops people in their tracks and compels them to dig deeper.

That’s an art.

The right approach vs. the wrong approach

It takes a pretty communications-centric approach to the question of content, which is great when everything is open and free and you’re just trying to get people to pay attention. But that’s not the whole story, and if you approach content strategy purely from that angle, well… ruh roh.

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Even in the information age, content has value. When we (SocialFish) approach content strategy, we think about optimizing the value of every piece of content, and then applying an appropriate delivery method. For example (just scratching the surface here):

  1. Public and open – typically a blog post, website update, or Twitter chat
  2. Public but requires form completion to access (email address or website sign-up) – typically a white paper, or webinars
  3. Member-only but free as a benefit – typically a magazine, or peer-to-peer discussion forums or member community.
  4. For sale, but free for members – typically a magazine, light research, or webinars
  5. For sale, but reduced price for members – typically a book, research report, and/or webinars
  6. For sale, but only to members – typically research or customized analysis

Huh…it looks a little like a sales funnel. Only tastier. And fried. Now, naturally, you want to lead people through a sales cycle from public and open to becoming a member and paying for premium content.

That’s an art, too.

Written By

Maddie Grant is author of Humanize and When Millennials Take Over, and is Founding Partner at WorkXO, a culture startup that helps forward thinking leaders in growth oriented organizations activate their workplace culture to attract the right talent, increase engagement, and unleash human potential through the Workplace Genome™ Project.


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