By Ashley Reid | January 30, 2024
No one better understands the triumphs, struggles, and key issues facing your association than your members. Their experience and knowledge in every facet of your industry are vital resources. Are you tapping into them? And, perhaps more importantly, do those members know how to share these valuable tidbits to the greater membership?
Here are a few tips to ensure they do:
- Organize your website. Is your association website organized in such a way that member voices are front and center? Or is the latest issue of your publication, for example, buried beneath layers upon layers of old content pages so it’s next to impossible to locate? Make sure your navigation bar is well organized so member-provided content (e.g., blogs, webinars, podcasts, articles, etc.) is easy to find and access.
- Have a clear-cut “Contact us.” If your members are interested in contributing to one of your content resources, is it obvious to whom they should reach out? Do you provide an email address, phone number, and social media handles in a well-defined place? How about multiple places (e.g., publication mastheads, footers of enewsletters, and a dedicated website page)? Is there a simple form members can fill out on your website or a dedicated email address for gathering pitches and content ideas? Do you have a plan for those submissions to be reviewed frequently?
- Check in regularly. Do you have a group of diverse members with whom you can connect to get the pulse of your membership? Do you meet with them often enough that hot-button issues are rapidly addressed? If you don’t take the time to check in with your members regularly, it can become increasingly challenging to stay on top of the issues they care about most. Provide some kind of forum or recurring meeting invitation to connect and engage.
- Don’t gatekeep. Let’s face it: There are always a few rockstar members of an association who love to contribute and get their voices heard—and we love them for it! However, the importance of incorporating a variety of voices—not just those who readily and repeatedly volunteer—cannot be overstated. The experiences of your members run the gamut, and so too should the content you produce. Dig deep and find those unsung association heroes.
- Keep communications fresh. Industry landscapes change all the time; do your member communications keep pace? If the only avenues provided to your members are a magazine that hasn’t been updated in 10 years and a monthly enewsletter, it’s very possible you could be doing more to better meet their needs. Members want to be met where they are, and they want to share their stories in a format that is modern, engaging, and relevant. If it’s been years since you’ve done a proper audit of the content you’re providing, chances are that member voices have dwindled. Do a survey to get to the root of what members truly care about.
Unsure of where to begin? Give us a shout—we’re happy to help!