Connecting with Your “Whole” Community
December 28, 2011
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When an association or any membership based organization thinks about it’s community the first impulse is to think members. There is a huge mistake with thinking this way. Just ask yourself where your members come from? Do your members come and go? Do your members join as they change careers or reach a certain level of seniority? Are there others that would value what you do and say?
The reason I raise these questions is to help associations with their content distribution needs. Specifically reaching not just members but potential members…your “leads”. For that matter, are there people whom you want to influence that may never become members?
When considering the value of your content you should be thinking about how you could share more content with the world. This will help you to both grow members and evangelize the issue that drives your association. Doing so also builds member value, people get to see what your association is talking about, and by all means use scarcity, holding back some information or monetizing that information wherever it makes sense… but if the world doesn’t know what you are talking about…well, it’s like that tree that falls in the forest and no one is around to hear.
Where to find content to share and share widely:
- Conferences: After the event share as much as you can capture. Maybe save some of the better pieces for members only or charge a fee….but share the rest.
- Older content: After 3 or 6 or 12 months (may very depending on the value) share your content. Better yet, make it highly findable for members and non-members so you become THE place.
- Offer Speakers, Authors, Sponsors, members a platform to share their thoughts and ideas with the world. Now that you are building this knowledge center, allow your members and sponsors to contribute. Keep it a simple process…little editing or review…and make the process easy for both the creator and the staff to get published (and this applied to all three suggestions…keep it simple).
It’s critical for associations and publishers to re-think their approach to sharing content. Your relevance may rest on how you leverage your knowledge.
Share with us your plan for 2012 to connect with your community.