How Complete is Your Channel Strategy?
Creating timely, thoughtful content that is relevant to the profession your organization represents is the most important component to an effective association content strategy. Formatting that content in accessible and varied ways—for example, as articles, infographics, podcasts or videos—is another significant piece.
Once those components of your content strategy are in place, what is your association doing to ensure that all that valuable content is being seen and consumed by the right people?
A well thought-out approach to content distribution is a critically important part of your organization’s content strategy. An effective distribution strategy will help you best reach your target audience and lead them to take the desired action—whether that is consuming the thought leadership content your organization has presented, interacting with a member who contributed content, or recognizing the value your organization provides and becoming members themselves.
Here are several content distribution channels and the role each of them plays in an effective content strategy:
- Content hubs. In most cases, an online content hub should be your organization’s central repository for all content. Even if you publish a print magazine or journal, your online publication is still the go-to source for all of your organization’s content. It’s searchable, it allows you to organize content by topic or discipline, and it makes all of your organization’s content accessible via search engines. However, your association should never rely solely on your target audience finding your content via search—which is why you require multiple modes of distribution.
- Print publications. Every organization knows the plusses and perils of print: It’s a great member benefit, but it’s expensive to produce and distribute. If you have the budget and your audience has expressed a desire for a print publication, survey them to find out what frequency is most valuable to them. Paying to produce a monthly publication featuring content no one reads isn’t going to help your association’s status as a thought leader or snag interest from new members—but producing an in-depth annual print publication with long-form, evergreen content and resources that are helpful year-round just might.
- E-newsletters. Even though email is the distribution method people love to hate, it still is the tried-and-true way to stay top-of-mind with your target audience. To be known as an email communicator that respects the limited time of your audience, keep your email newsletters concise and clear. Use headlines and short blurbs to promote new content, and be consistent about where links take your audience (which, as a general rule of thumb, should be back to your content hub).
- Social media. Social media—including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other channels—is arguably the simplest and most cost-effective method of distributing content, and should be a component of every association content strategy. Tailor yours based on where your audience targets spend the most time, and vary your strategy depending on the capabilities of each individual social channel (in other words, don’t post the exact same thing on Facebook and LinkedIn, and test features like Instagram Stories to vary your approach and get your content noticed on social).
- Partners. Your association’s branded publishing outlets are not the only places to feature your content. Consider partnering with relevant industry publications and complementary organizations to further the reach of your organization’s specialized content, and structuring an agreement that also involves you promoting and distributing links to their content. Most publishing outlets want more content to complement theirs and will be eager to pursue a mutually beneficial partnership arrangement.
With multiple options available to help your association spread content as widely as possible, there is no excuse for letting your best content assets exist in obscurity. Develop a customized, multichannel strategy to distribute and promote your content as widely as possible and ensure maximum exposure and impact.
Jason Meyers is senior director of content strategy for SmithBucklin Content.
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.