Ninety percent of success is having the right connections. I love helping my colleagues make those important contacts.
.orgCommunity’s Solutions in Action webinar features the association industry’s most resourceful experts. They are providers of the products and services we all need to stay ahead in the digital marketplace.
On our September 14th show, we introduced viewers to a panel of professionals who maximize content across a variety of platforms. From strategy to video, websites, and events, our presenters had pitch-perfect recommendations for delivering impact in the current environment.
This post recaps the group’s best advice.
Stephen Welch, Senior Consultant, .orgSource
At .orgSource we seldom talk about technology without linking it to goals. Stephen put the presentations in the proper context with a discussion about the importance of content strategy.
Silos aren’t just a problem, they’re a liability. Systems and teams need to partner toward common objectives. As a seasoned association executive and former CEO at CHEST, Stephen understands how important it is for departments across an organization to work together. A content strategy moves everyone in the same direction.
Occasionally, there’s confusion about the difference between content strategy and content marketing. A content strategy provides policies and procedures to ensure that communications are tied to business goals. Content marketing is an outcome of that strategy. It includes roadmaps (think search engine optimization) and perks (such as downloadable freebies), along with a variety of other activities designed to promote relationship building.
Without a deliberate intention or strategy, these tactics are empty calories liable to deplete your energy and stunt your growth. Having the discipline to treat content strategically can be demanding. But there are big rewards for those who take the journey. A content strategy will:
- Align goals in the strategic plan with output across departments.
- Give members what they want, when they want it, in the format they prefer.
- Deliver value and increase relevance.
- Help your organization continue evolving to meet the needs of target audiences.
- Encourage collaboration and teamwork.
Without content, associations are social clubs. A content strategy defines your value and determines your relationship with various audiences. The digital marketplace is filled with noise. In that crowded competition, a content strategy gives you the voice of authority that members are eager to hear.
Make Video Easy
Doug Coombs, Director of Client Solutions, Association TV
Video is the big dog. We’ve all experienced the impact. But many groups think of the medium as a “special occasion” communication. Organizations may not use video regularly or strategically for reasons like these:
- High cost
- Significant planning required
- Speaker geography
- Lack of professional speaker support
For leaders who would like to increase video production, Doug Coombs has good news.
Association TV’s Virtual Videographer service seems like magic to me. Video becomes easy and affordable without any sacrifice to quality. By logging in to a speaker’s camera on their iPhone, iPad, or webcam, Association TV can control the technical aspects of production such as lighting, color, and sound to provide a professional result. Association TV has a team of three full-time virtual videographers who can record up to four presenters in any location at any time in 4K, and even provide a teleprompter, closed captioning, or subtitles.
Video is a multipurpose medium. One production can be retooled in many ways, including transformed into a podcast, article/blog, or social media assets.
Association TV will create a 60-minute 4K video recording, including 30 minutes of preparation with up to four collaborators for only $495.
Break Down Barriers
Garret Grant, VP Client Services, Association Practice Lead, Velir
Brad Powell, Senior Alliance and Channel Partner Manager, Siteimprove
We’re accustomed to building accessibility into activities and events, but have you considered the audience you are missing because your website isn’t friendly to people with physical limitations. Fifteen percent of the world’s population has a disability that affects their web experiences. Velir is a full-service digital agency that works in partnership with Siteimprove, a software as a service platform, to create websites that all users can enjoy.
Garret Grant and Brad Powell gave these five reasons for making accessibility part of the design process:
- Make content available to a broader audience.
- Provide an improved user experience for all visitors.
- Improve organic search results and SEO.
- Protect your business from lawsuits.
- Choose a site-building platform that supports accessibility.
The first step toward accessibility is to identify goals for your organization. Then, you can assign roles and responsibilities and ensure that the objectives are clear to all teams. Plan for both manual and automated testing. The company has partnered with students from Perkins School for the Blind to provide user feedback.
Technology and design are important, but content is also a consideration. Headings and text should be user-friendly.
Accessibility is an ongoing journey. Everyone begins at a different point. If you are interested in finding out where your association is on the continuum, Velir and Siteimprove offer a free audit.
John Challice, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Hum
At .orgSource, data is our favorite currency. The ability to use that resource effectively is a cornerstone for success in the digital environment. Hum is a customer data platform that will help you get there.
Although associations are data goldmines, they have lagged behind the trend to personalize and customize online experiences. Unified first-party data is the key to providing the unique journeys that customers in the digital marketplace expect.
Hum is a powerful data cruncher that accesses and combines information that is siloed in your CRM, AMS, CMS, LMS, and other platforms to create unified normalized data for each customer. It delivers return on investment by:
- Growing membership and discovering new audiences
- Boosting enrollment in existing programs and events and increasing product sales
- Identifying potential new programs as well as those that should be discontinued
- Growing year-round sponsorships and non-dues revenue
Hum is a versatile tool that can be used to segment audiences, create customized campaigns, and offer personalized interactions to all your constituents.
Deliver the Right Event
Joanna Pineda, CEO and Chief Troublemaker
Bryan Clark, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Matrix Group, International, Inc.
Joanna Pineda and Bryan Clark answered the questions on everyone’s mind. Which events go live? Which stay virtual? And when do we offer hybrid?
Matrix Group, International, Inc. is a digital agency that helps nonprofits and associations increase membership and generate revenue through a portfolio of services. Bespeake is the company’s virtual meetings platform.
Joanna and Brian shared valuable lessons learned from the pandemic. One important point is that there are elements from in-person conferences that can be improved by techniques we learned in the virtual realm. These are examples of qualities you should borrow from your online experiences:
- Higher production values
- Better analytics
- Continuing innovation in the meetings field
- More intentional engagement and conversation
Based on client surveys, Joanna reports that most conference participants want to return to in-person venues. But 15-30 percent prefer to remain virtual. While B2B meetings and tradeshows are tougher to do virtually, some events can be just as good or better when virtual. These are examples:
- Any initiative that is focused on education. You can create higher production value for little money, everyone can see the slides, and it is possible to track who watched a session.
- Volunteer or committee meetings. Not having to travel for a one-hour volunteer meeting boosts participation, especially among busy parents and people in far-away locations.
- Day or half-day workshops that appeal to national and international audiences.
- Job and resident fairs. Participants who are seeking placements have a greater opportunity to explore options in an online venue.
- Staff meetings where some employees are working remote. Joanna noticed that mixing remote and in-person attendees creates a division between the group seated at the table and the employees online. Having everyone on Zoom levels the playing field.
I hope I’ve put you in touch with someone you’ve been waiting to meet. .orgCommunity is our educational and networking partner. To learn more about these amazing problem-solvers visit the .orgCommunity Solutions Center. We add new partners on an ongoing basis. And mark your calendar for Solutions Day on November 10 for an entire event devoted to solving your toughest challenges.