-Story sources and/or
The level of member effort needed varies, so let’s start with the easiest one.
Members as Data Sources
In this scenario, we can leverage association members’ opinions and behaviors as a source to compile interesting insights and industry facts. The time commitment of a member is usually low here, think surveys and poll questions.
The data collected can be rolled up into impressive data points represented in powerful infographics, slide decks and special reports. As an example, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) used data from its credential exam takers to produce an infographic about the kinds of professionals who are pursuing its credential, Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA).
Members as Story Sources
A key reason members pursue credentials and/or join organization is for recognition by peers and employers. We can fulfill the need for recognition and our content marketing needs simultaneously by making members (and/or their organizations) the center of the story. The time commitment of a member is low to moderate, think member spotlight stories, case studies and success stories.
Here’s an example from The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), which asks members to submit their story about why they become part of ICE. It’s six questions members answer and submit online for use in the “meet our members” section of the ICE website. Questions include: Why did you become involved in the credentialing industry? And, what advice do you have for those just starting out in their credentialing career?
Members as Writing Sources
In this scenario, we leverage members as the experts who actually write content, such as blog posts, articles, guides and webinar content. The time commitment for a member is high, so it won’t be a fit for most of your members.
Here’s an example from the Scrum Alliance, which has an experts’ blog with handpicked contributors who bring a variety of points of view. They sign an agreement, abide by editorial policies and are regularly featured on the association’s website. To date, they have six regular bloggers.
Summing it Up
Association members can be wonderful custom content sources. You just need to provide a variety of ways for your members to contribute that fits with their level of availability. Serving as data sources, story sources and writing sources are just three options. How else could you leverage members as content sources?
About Pecanne Eby, MBA
I started working with associations in 2001 while living inside the Washington, DC beltway. I learned that associations play a vital role in providing advocacy, community and education to their members. And that a world without associations would be a very chaotic world. Today my mission is to help associations solve complex marketing problems, while rediscovering the joy of marketing. Learn more at www.brandmentoring.com or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.