4 Reasons to Consider Opening Up Your Content
The information, resources and thought leadership an association provides is traditionally considered one of its greatest member benefits. In the age of decreased print budgets and online content marketing, however, it’s wise to consider new strategies. Limiting access to just members might make sense for certain types of content, but there are advantages to opening up your association’s editorial content to a broader audience.
Before you make a decision about public vs. members-only content, though, it’s important to determine the ultimate goal of your association’s content. Are you hoping to increase awareness of your association or a particular issue? Do you want to be considered a thought leader in the industry? If you’re looking to increase page views, showcase your organization’s expertise and demonstrate the value of your association to prospective members, keeping some of your content public might be the way to go.
Here are four good reasons to make your association’s editorial content more broadly available:
- It increases the ability to share content. A lot of association content is member-contributed, and it often features members. In either case, the member who wrote it or was written about will likely want to share the content, maybe by posting a link on Twitter or LinkedIn. If the person on the receiving end of that link is prompted to log in, they might not, whether they are a member or not. Adding a gate to your content creates a cumbersome barrier that impacts the ability of your content to be consumed.
- It increases your possibility of being discovered organically. Content that’s behind a member log-in page is not recognized by search engines. Thus, when your association posts content on a hot topic in your industry and someone who might not know about your association yet types that keyword into a search engine, your association’s content won’t appear. Content that is ungated is crawlable, and the more pages of content you have that contain specific keywords, the better your SEO and the higher up you’ll appear on search engines.
- It allows you to easily track performance of content types. You’ll get a good sense of what type of content is the most relevant and interesting once you open it up for easily viewing. While gated content can also be tracked, the increase in page views you’ll receive from opening it up will provide you with a better set of data for making future content decisions.
- It can be used as a gateway to members-only benefits. Of course, “content” can mean a lot of different things, and not every item of content deserves to be public. However, some content can be used at the beginning of the funnel to lead to other, members-only benefits. For example, perhaps your association has a webinar coming up. A piece of public content might be a Q&A with the webinar presenter covering some of the topics they might present on. A link at the bottom of the article leading to where members can sign up for the webinar might prompt a nonmember to consider the benefits of membership.
The decision to keep content open or behind a member log-in page is ultimately made on an association-by-association basis, but it’s worth considering the choices and aligning them with your organization’s goals.
SmithBucklin Content helps you position your organization as an authoritative source of timely, relevant, comprehensive and engaging industry intelligence. Contact us to learn about partnering with SmithBucklin Content to create a customized content strategy for your organization.