American Society for Association Executives (ASAE 2015 Detroit, August 2015) offered several sessions about content marketing. These full-to-capacity, large sessions offered attendees creative thinking and practical tips to deliver more value to members and reach broader audiences. Content marketing can spotlight your members and deliver key messages. Below are practical examples about building a content marketing plan around your conference. Interesting examples and practical tips from “Stretching Your Conference Content.” Meetings are an enormous opportunity to capture content to reach audiences who aren’t attending the meeting. With planning, you can capture content more affordably and engage thought leaders, key association members, members and non-members who are attending. Asking them to contribute to a larger story makes them feel more strongly connected to and recognized by your organization. The content created – interviews, videos, photos, and more – can be released in a range of communications through the year to support many programs. Keynote speakers. Make the most of the important investment in your keynoter. Careful thought goes into the message your keynoter will deliver. Your speaker has a shared goal of extending the visibility of the message to make the biggest impact possible. The ASAE offered a great example of extending key note content. Josh Linkner’s key note presentation on “creative disruption” challenged association leaders to think like innovators. ASAE developed several additional communications to increase the reach and impact of this message.
- Now Daily, the on site print magazine, featured an article on Day 2 that captured the enthusiasm and excitement for the presentation, featuring tweets and response from the audience.
- Associations Now published an online article at the time of the presentation to reach ASAE’s subscribers, delivering value to non-attendees. A press release extended the audience to broader media outlets and the article is easily discoverable with key words.
- A podcast interview, recorded ahead of the meeting, provides a more personal introduction to Josh and addresses the importance of innovation from ASAE’s point of view. This provides a post-show follow up opportunity to re-engage attendees and inspire action after the meeting.
These assets will serve ASAE throughout the year to connect with broader membership about innovation. After the session, Josh was featured at a book signing for Road to Reinvention knowing he delivered his message well beyond the thousands packed into the room.
Award winners. Awards mark significant accomplishments in members’ careers and strengthen their connection to your organization. Awards presented at meetings create an opportunity to showcase “what success looks like” to prospective and current members. Plan a multi-staged, multi-channel content marketing program to feature winners through the year and inspire future nominees to apply.
- Prior to the meeting, assemble pictures and bios of nominees and create an ‘interview article.’ Make these live and feature in communications around the meeting leading up to the awards presentation and on social media during the meeting.
- Include interviews for the awards program on the schedule for videographers and A/V specialists already at the meeting. Script the questions and interview segments to fit into several short 3-5 minute segments. Provide questions in advance so participants are prepared and rehearsed. Capturing video on site will add excitement and ‘real-time’ context. Translated video interviews can be edited to feature as articles in other media, too.
- Interview a past recipient and the current recipient to describe the work that earned the recognition. Share what the award means to each, and for the past recipient what it has meant for his career.
More ideas for videos. Oral Histories are an excellent opportunity to connect senior members to early career members and tie past research discoveries to the future direction of the field. Oral history campaigns have been promoted throughout an anniversary year.
- Use a green screen background so you can add compelling picture or other video ‘b-roll’ as background later. Schedule time in “sound proofed” zone.
- Transcribe original video content and create an internal library of word documents for the interviews. This small investment is a timesaver later. Searching documents for valuable quotes and content to be re-purposed in newsletters, magazine and other formats is much faster than re-watching videos.
Student Bloggers. The American Society for Nutrition has developed a successful student blogger program which provides visibility for millennial members.
- Students apply competitively for limited positions. In the second year, ASN had more than double the applicants than positions from graduate and undergraduate students. Diversity is also consideration when selecting bloggers.
- Students are given editorial direction, a content calendar and direction regarding use of research from ASN publications, and terms and conditions for their posts. Assignments are staggered through the year across a number of bloggers so writing a post fits with other priorities.
- In addition to posting through the year, some are assigned to “live blog” during the meeting about research presented and news to convey key messages to broader audiences. They also get special access at meetings to press room wi-fi and other technical support, especially helpful for video blogs.
The bloggers increase their visibility to their professional community and can include their selection to the program on their resume. ASN showcases early career researchers, and demonstrates a commitment to supporting new, younger voices in the community. And, early career researchers can themselves welcomed and involved at ASN.
Association members have an inherent professional interest in your content. When it is valuable, they will share it with the professional networks you want to reach. You have expert and willing communicators among members, leadership and staff. When tactics like these are developed within a content marketing strategy, you can amplify your messages and serve your audiences. What content marketing tactics have been successful for your organization?
Thanks to the presenters of “Stretch Your Conference Content”, Shawn Boynes, Paula Eichenbrenner, Jenifer Hamilton, and Jenn Waters.