What’s the Frequency?
One of the toughest things for association content strategists to determine is how often to produce, publish and distribute new content. Because your content strategy is just one component of a broader strategy of communicating lots of information to your members and your industry, it can be difficult to determine the best content cadence for your organization.
Here are five steps your organization can take to help assess how frequently to circulate content:
- Ask the audience. This should be your starting point—always. Once you make the logical assumption that your organization requires some kind of strategy to communicate its thought leadership or relevant industry content to its audience, the next immediate step should be to ask that audience how frequently they prefer to receive content updates from you.
- Consider the content function. Does your content strategy consist primarily of long-form feature articles from the subject-matter experts in your membership ranks? Are you producing video profiles of prominent industry thinkers? Are you aggregating and summarizing breaking news? The purpose of the content your organization produces will help determine how frequently it should be pushed out to the audience.
- Think about development separately from distribution. Creating and even posting content (to your online content hub, for example) is different than distributing it. You may have one, two or even three new content components ready to go one week, and one or none the following week. When you post those is not as important is when you distribute them—via an e-newsletter aligned with your organization’s content brand, and through your social media channels. Those channels determine your content pace.
- Assess the competition. You may not consider an industry publication or a news vehicle to be true competitors, particularly if the producers of those content vehicles are not associations. But they are competing for your audience’s attention, which makes them competitors. Again, ask your audience—what are they reading, and how often? How important is daily or weekly news about their profession to them, and where do they get it? What insight and intelligence do they not get, and how often would they like it? Find the gaps in the competition, and see how your association might be able to fill them.
- Test, measure, and repeat. Don’t be concerned about getting it exactly right the first time, because adjustments can be made. Start with a strong online publishing base (your content hub) that allows you to experiment with content categories and types. Test your publishing and distribution timing and frequency, collect data and feedback on an ongoing basis, and make necessary adjustments based on that. Paying attention and interpreting the data will help you find the sweet spot for your audience.
Above all, remember that every organization is different and requires a content publishing and distribution strategy that is customized to meet the unique requirements of the association and its intended audiences. And keep in mind that by its very nature, content—particularly in its online form—is pliable and adjustable. In other words, if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always make a change.
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.