We’ve all experienced the meeting from hell. The chair lost control. People were frantic to have their say, and nobody got heard. The same kind of communications nightmare happens when you don’t impose order on your content. A thoughtful content strategy ensures that the message you deliver will be one that makes people listen.
It’s a Metallica concert out there. In any association, multiple interests clash and compete for attention. Membership needs renewals, meetings wants to fill seats and the foundation is prospecting for contributions. There are journals, blogs, podcasts, forums and the ceaseless chatter of social media. Not to mention all the other organizations (both for profit and non) competing for your members’ ears and eyes. A comprehensive content strategy positions your association as the voice that breaks through the noise.
An ASAE Foundation survey revealed interesting insights about how associations are managing content. Participants were questioned about 17 different content tactics. While few respondents reported using more than 14 of the tactics, ninety percent were familiar with all of the activities.
That sounds like good news for marketers, right? Here’s the disconnect. Content strategies don’t work in silos, but people often do. While most associations understand marketing concepts such as personas and customer journeys, there are challenges to implementing an initiative that involves the entire organization. A collaborative approach to content strategy can give your association a voice that compels attention. But to give life to that narrative, you need:
- Buy in from senior leaders
- Access to the financial and human resources identified in your content strategy plan
- Cooperation and accountability across departments
- The latitude to experiment, refine and pivot without fear of consequences should your initial efforts be less than stellar. (This is really important! Innovation thrives on trial and error.)
How do you secure that critical buy-in with time and a host of other priorities and distractions working against you? The answer is by doing what you do best. You need to market your content strategy to colleagues and leaders as skillfully as you promote your association to members.
Set yourself up for success:
- Identify where you might find resistance and address those issues. If there are competing priorities, demonstrate how a unified content strategy adds value to those initiatives?
- Find the best format to deliver your presentation and the most opportune time
- Walk in your audience’s shoes. Of course, you understand the importance of a unified approach. How can a comprehensive content strategy support your colleagues’ goals?
Roll Out the Dogs and Ponies
Don’t assume everyone knows what you mean by a content strategy. Leaders, as well as colleagues, may not even realize they are content producers or that you can help them make their communications more impactful.
Offer clear explanations, free from jargon, and supported by examples. Demonstrate the different types of content within your organization and discuss how other groups are using their content to build engagement and relevance. If you have metrics and analytics, use them to build your business case. Take time learning about your colleagues’ goals for the year and give thought to how what you are proposing can align.
Even if marketing automation, video and podcasts are currently not feasible given your resources, present these tools as aspirational. The costs are going down and user-friendliness is increasing. You’ll want your organization to be familiar with these powerful opportunities for exposure, especially since they are quickly becoming preferred content formats for many audiences.
Bring Branding to Life
Even with a staff of amazing thinkers and writers, getting and keeping people’s attention is difficult. A thoughtful and comprehensive content strategy, supported by leadership, unites business units and breathes life into your brand. When everyone in the organization, from the top down, speaks with one voice, the message resonates across lines of business. That unity creates the power to make you the voice of authority in a noisy world.
If you are considering taking your message to the next level, the experts at .orgSource are ready to help you plan a successful project.