10 Ways Members Can Support Your Content Creation

Of all the functions that keep an association humming, content creation is often one of least resourced. Although it is a tangible member benefit, most associations report content staffing challenges. According to the Association of Media & Publishing, 63% of associations say lack of staff challenges their publication initiatives. Adding content staff may not be realistic for every association. But there’s a way to augment your content creation team without breaking the budget: member-generated content.

Members may be some of the most underutilized resources when it comes to association content. Members are subject matter experts, and they crave opportunities to engage with their peers. Below are 10 ways members can contribute content and strengthen their bond with your association.

1. Member-written Expert Columns

Your members are first and foremost experts in their field. Who better to write about emerging trends and best practices? Member-written columns are also a benefit to members. Your website and publication lend credibility and visibility to members who want to reach their peers. You can scout for contributors by perusing member blogs, or you can put out a call for writers. Depending on your content calendar, you can assign topics based on member expertise. Or you can dedicate a blog or article each month to the member’s choice.

2. Member Surveys

Member surveys are a great way to produce proprietary research, a tangible member benefit. Taking the pulse of your industry by going directly to the source—its members—is a unique value of your association, and it can be executed for little to no additional resources. Craft a survey that members can take online, and advertise it in your content. You can offer members early access for participating or another incentive. Members will be motivated to see how they and their organization measure up to their peers.

3. Roundtable Discussions

A member roundtable is a great way to include multiple voices, and it can be an especially efficient way to engage members. If you want an in-depth discussion, you can gather your participants together with a moderator to dissect a slate of interesting questions. Record the discussion to make your content go even further with video clips and audio soundbites. Or, you can simply put the same question to a group of members and ask them all to submit a response. Run these answers in your member publication or in a recurring blog post, and provide contact information for each contributor to amplify their network.

4. Podcast Guests

Podcasts can be a challenge to make engaging without new voices and perspectives. Inviting members to join the conversation is a great way to introduce diversity and interest to your episodes. Like the roundtable discussions, you don’t have to stop at one. Invite multiple members to foster organic conversation.

5. Member Video Testimonials

Your members are your greatest evangelists. Let them share their story with a testimonial. Conferences are a great place to gather these valuable pieces of content. You can set up a testimonial booth, where members can record a brief video or sound bite. It’s best to provide a prompt that they can respond to. Try to catch members at a moment of high satisfaction, such as after a keynote or reception, to capture their positive energy.

6. Member Speaker’s Bureau

Programming conferences is one of the most time- and resource-intensive tasks of an association, but that process can be a little easier with a speaker’s bureau. Ask members to register in your bureau with topics they can speak on, and use that list when you put out your call for proposals.

7. Social Media Takeover

Social media is another content channel that often gets neglected, but you can ease the resource burden and grow your audience by scheduling member takeovers. Find members who already are active and adept on social media, and partner with them to diversify your social content. Check out our blog post on social media trends to try today.

8. Member Guest Editor

Special issues are a unique way to add interest to your member publication. Invite a member to be a guest editor for an issue. The content creation opportunities are endless. Your member-editor can author an editor’s note, sit for a Q&A, conduct interviews with other members or author a column.

9. Interviewees for Blogs, Research and Articles

Like your speaker’s bureau, a database of members willing to be interviewed for your publications is an invaluable resource. Cut the time your writers and producers spend searching for sources by compiling them in one place. You can even organize your database by subject matter expertise or other attributes that describe your members’ value to your content.

10. Webinar Guests

Like your podcast, webinars are made more interesting with guests. The members contributing blogs and articles can be a good starting point. A webinar can be a chance to expand on an interesting column or offer attendees a chance to ask the member questions live. Webinars are also a good testing ground for conference speakers.

There are countless ways to incorporate members into your content creation. Best of all, your members will jump at the chance to share their perspectives and contribute to their association.

Ready to incorporate member content into your publishing program? Check out our blog post on finding the right content mix to meet your marketing goals.