Why Your Association Website Needs a Content Strategy

Running an association website, you have a unique advantage that no other businesses have: your members. With a content strategy, your association website meets your members where they are. They want to learn more and help your brand achieve its mission because it aligns with their views. Your website is how you communicate value to your members. A content strategy ensures that value is communicated effectively.

Why Is Content Strategy Important for an Association Website?

A content strategy is a plan for content creation, execution, delivery, distribution and measurement. It helps you work smarter — not harder — when it comes to content. A content strategy isn’t cranking out blogs, social media posts, newsletters, etc., but the strategic execution of what you do with those pieces.

Typically, creating a content strategy comes down to these six steps:

  1. Planning

Know your audience, and create what is relevant to them. Just because something is trending doesn’t mean it will resonate with your audience. Instead, save your bandwidth for producing content that will.

  1. Auditing

Revisit content to see what performed well and what didn’t. This will help you cultivate better, more engaging posts moving forward. Use this time also to assess what your competitors are up to. What are they doing that you aren’t? Identify those content gaps.

  1. Production

Glean what you’ve learned in the planning and auditing stage to repurpose and create the content you know is working.

  1. Distribution

Share your content across the channels your audience is using. No two channels are the same, however, so share accordingly.

  1. Measurement

Continue to assess what is working and what isn’t by tying content metrics to business outcomes.

  1. Refinement

Revise as needed. In a constantly evolving world, you’ll need to continue to pivot your strategy to keep up. Just because something works now doesn’t mean it will next year.

A Content Strategy Supports Association Website SEO

What good is your website content if your audience can’t find it? That’s why you must embrace SEO best practices to keep members engaged and be on the radar for potential new members. For best SEO results, web content needs to be planned with specific written pieces to promote:

  • key services
  • member benefits
  • conferences and events
  • products (like certifications or continuing education)

Several factors that impact your association website’s SEO are keywords, page title (H1 tag), subheads (H2 and H3 tags), meta descriptions, hyperlinks and more.

Including SEO in your content strategy isn’t a “nice-to-have” but a must. It will not only boost the reach and performance of your website, but it will improve efficiency and help you repurpose content to achieve the best SEO results — without repetitive or redundant work.

A Content Strategy Helps Your Association Website Stand Out Among Competitors

Knowing what makes your competitors successful (and what doesn’t) can be instrumental in mapping out your association website. That’s why a competitive analysis is a useful exercise. For example, you can see what keywords your competitors are ranking highest for and determine whether they should be part of your keyword strategy as well. You can study your competitors’ best-ranking pages for structure and content and emulate their tactics with your own spin.

Insights From Your Association Website Can Optimize Your Content Strategy

Your website is a wealth of information from membership renewals and e-commerce to newsletter subscriptions and event registrations. Underperforming conversions are are your first indicator that your content is lacking. Tweak your content strategy to funnel more resources to the initiatives that need a boost, and replicate efforts where your content is achieving your business goals.

What Is Reverse Publishing and How Can It Boost Engagement?

Website analytics can inform other areas of your strategy, such as updating and recirculating content that’s already live. Reverse publishing is utilizing your digital tools, like blogs or social media, to test specific topics to see what performs best, then using those insights to select content for your print publication(s).

Collecting data from reverse publishing efforts will help your association determine which content is most popular among visitors, what topics members and potential members are searching for and where they are coming from (email, social, etc.).

Learn How One Association Used Reverse Publishing for Print Success

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s member magazine, Momentum, uses a reverse publishing strategy to identify top-performing content for print. Register below to watch our webinar How to Grow Engagement with a Digital-to-Print Strategy and hear from from NMSS’s associate VP of content.

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