Make it Special
There’s a regular practice in publishing to tag certain stories or collections of content as “special reports” to distinguish them from content that is more regularly or frequently published. It’s a strategy that associations should consider replicating in some form as they look for more ways to capture the attention of their target audiences, engage and inform their members, and create new channels of potential revenue.
The special report is a fluid and malleable concept, which also makes it a good component of an association content strategy: Organizations can apply the basic framework, but adapt and customize it to fit their own goals, requirements and resources.
The concept can take several different forms:
- It might be a collection of previously published content (articles, Q&As, videos, infographics and more) on a particular topic that makes sense to bundle together and package in a new way to make it more accessible. That might be a PDF that can be sent out via email, or a digital publishing platform that can house and host the content. This approach is ideal for a year-end, “best of” approach—which also allows associations the option of asking their members to vote on what previously published content they think was most valuable in the past year, for example.
- Another effective category of special report could focus on a timely and relevant topic that is applicable to the association’s target audience and warrants more in-depth coverage and exploration. Here, an organization should consider creating new content to ensure timeliness and originality. This type of special report also could very likely appeal to sponsors: Options to consider are both a more traditional display advertising approach (in a digital format that is clickable and trackable), and also custom content that could be contributed by and attributed to the sponsor. Both could prove effective methods of monetizing this content approach and augmenting non-dues revenue.
- Another potential approach for associations is to use the special report structure to highlight activity in certain geographic regions. For many associations, this outlet could be well received by chapters that may not always feel the member activity in their regions gets as much exposure as activity at the national level. In certain cases, regional focus also could attract new categories of sponsors, creating another opportunity for monetization.
The special report format is highly customizable, making it adaptable to different opportunities. Associations should put their own spin on this content component to make it as appealing—and as special!—as possible to their unique audiences.
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.