Content’s Critical Crisis Role
In times of crisis, it is common for people, businesses and organizations to reflect on what is most important. In fact, one of the silver linings of any crisis is the opportunity to stop (or at least pause) and re-examine priorities.
One of the many important lessons the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is helping to highlight and reinforce is that associations are absolutely essential. The ways in which associations serve and enhance the professions they represent are changing temporarily, and sometimes in significant ways. The most obvious example is live events that are so closely aligned with associations’ brands and identities being cancelled, postponed or transitioned to virtual forms to adapt to the current situation. But the underlying importance of those events to members and professions has not changed at all. Associations still have critical missions to enrich the professions and industries they serve.
Content helps associations achieve those missions in many important ways. And while we often talk about content in the context of editorial and publishing (through online content hubs and publications, in newsletters, in audio and video formats, and more), we are well aware that for most associations, the concept of “content” extends far beyond the publishing realm.
Content, in its many formats and applications, is the essence of the value that associations provide to their members. And in a time of change, it’s important to expand how content is perceived, to rethink how it can be integrated, and to not limit thinking to a single definition. Carefully considering how content can be even further integrated across association functions can help organizations maximize the value of all forms of content they can provide to their members and communities. For example:
- Events. Just as event and conference content forms the nucleus of events (both in-personal and virtual), an array of articles, interviews, videos and other elements can enhance the value of event content and provide connective tissue between events—whether live, virtual or both.
- Education. The value of association education and certification opportunities is extended through webinars, podcasts, profiles and other vehicles for delivering thought leadership that complements and enhances the content that is published via content hubs, newsletters and other channels.
- Publishing. Publications and online content hubs are flexible, providing a platform that allows associations to adapt to publish the most timely and relevant content—and to integrate and intertwine related education, event, sponsor and other forms of content in intelligent and meaningful ways.
- Sponsorship. For associations’ sponsor partners, the face-to-face interaction of live events is augmented by white papers, special reports, sponsored content and other initiatives that help associations monetize content and create important non-dues revenue opportunities.
As so many associations adapt to change, consider all the ways in which your content strategies and content opportunities can align and intersect—facilitating connections, communications, information sharing, engagement and monetization. Pivoting your content strategy will only help enhance the silver lining on this or any other crisis.
Jason Meyers is senior director of content strategy for SmithBucklin.
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.