Content marketing: your key to association growth in 2014

OM Tip Create content in batchesAssociations have a tremendous advantage over just about everyone when it comes to content. While brands are scrambling to create content to fill the social media pipeline, most associations have a wealth of articles, research, and information just ready to be tapped. The challenge is picking WHICH information to publish (or republish) and motivating your members to share with their social networks.

5 Key Steps for Developing YOUR 2014 Association Content Marketing Strategy

1) Get all your stakeholders together. You need to get out of the “silos” and look at your information assets as a whole.

2) Create a content calendar for the year that blends editorial, social media, and key marketing events/campaigns. Which topics will you focus on when? What content do you already have that you can repurpose for a tweet or Facebook post?

3) How can your content help you soft-sell your products and events? For example, in the run-up to your conference, why not tweet testimonials from last year’s attendees? Or link to still-relevant articles this year’s speaker may have written a few years ago?

4) How can speakers, members, exhibitors, and staff provide a steady stream of new timely content? Time to brainstorm! Why not ask speakers and exhibitors to submit short tips pre-show and compile them into a Slideshare deck you can distribute to build interest in the event? Invite speakers to lead free webinars? Energize your online community by having speakers moderate online discussions or forums before the event? Encourage speakers and exhibitors to provide free informational ebooks, checklists, and whitepapers you can promote in tweets? By planning ahead, you can ask for engagement when speakers first apply and even negotiate it into the deal for your keynote speakers.

5) Can you highlight member content? How about asking members to upload photos — could be of them at a past event, this event, or holding a card saying why they value membership.  Take the time to follow your members online and encourage them to use specific hashtags when they have content they’d like you to consider retweeting or posting.

O’Connell Meier is celebrating 25 years of helping associations grow in 2014. Give Rich Meier a call today at 703-635-2893 to discuss how we can help you create your content marketing plan. (Need help managing and executing the plan? We can do that too!)

BONUS: 50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014 from the Content Marketing Institute

Call Rich at 703-635-2893 to find out how O'Connell Meier can help you achieve your 2014 marketing goals. Or email him at rmeier at

Call Rich at 703-635-2893 to find out how O’Connell Meier can help you achieve your 2014 marketing goals. Or email him at rmeier at

How to Use Blogs & Google Hangouts to Build Your Audience – and Engage Your Customers

Wondering how to use blogs and Google hangouts effectively? Brian Hawkins of HotBlogTips talks with me (Lynn O’Connell) and Carly Alyssa Thorne. We got him to share his secrets… and had an interesting discussion about the ways blogs and hangouts allow “regular” people to share their expertise.

What’s this trend mean for organizations? Now that your members and customers have access to powerful communication channels, think about how to engage them on YOUR pages!



Lynn O'Connell is the Creative Director of O'Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

Lynn O’Connell is the Creative Director of O’Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations and businesses of all sizes. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

Top 4 Digital Marketing Trends for 2013 [Infographic]

Top 4 Digital Marketing Trends for 2013 [Infographic] via @dotcominfoway

Today’s featured infographic takes a look at the trends shaping marketing this year through 2016. A few key points:

By 2015, more U.S. more users will access the net via mobile than desktop.
Yet only 42.8% of marketers plan to increase mobile marketing spend in 2013.

64% of mobile time is spent on apps.
48% of  users install new apps after tapping on ads from Facebook page.

The average B2B marketer uses 5 social media channels compared to 4 for B2C.
91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing

Infographics drive 25% increase in website traffic

78% of marketers use enewsletters
83% of marketers use LinkedIn, making it the most popular social media channel for content distribution

Does your marketing program factor in these key digital trends? If you need to reposition, call O’Connell Meier for strategic planning, digital + direct creative, and innovative social media programs. (Give Rich Meier a call at 703-635-2893.)

Top 4 Digital Marketing Trends for 2013 via DCI

Are you listening to your superfans?

Are you making it easy for your Superfans to help you?

Are you making it easy for your Superfans to help you?

Are you listening to your superfans?

Jon Thomas at SocialMediaToday tackles a topic that I believe is critically important to associations and organizations: superfansl  (Or supermembers for associations.)

These are your passionate brand advocates, the people who spread the word about you, and who invest their own time (and sometimes money) to help you out. These customers have never gotten enough attention, but with social media, they are more important than ever. A few quick thoughts:

  • Do you know who your superfans are? Not just the top 5, but the top 10%? Are they coded in your database?
  • Do you thank them? Special benefits or a freebie now and then can help you build even tighter bonds with these key supporters.
  • Do you encourage them to share their ideas and suggestions with you? Sometimes your customers will spot problems long before you see them. Let them help you.
  • Do you make it easy for them to spread the word about initiatives you want promoted?

No? Why not? These people WANT to help you. Make it easy for them and you’ll reap the rewards. After almost 25 years of promoting associations and conferences, one of the first things we do when developing marketing plans is to identify these superfans. Instead of wasting time selling them on WHY, we enlist their help to tell other people why it’s time for them to get involved, join, or attend an event. It’s a powerful technique and too few groups are using it.

Why you need to look at your Facebook brand page on your phone RIGHT NOW

Facebook rolled out changes to mobile Facebook pages yesterday. The good news? Your page was automatically converted. The bad news? You may not like what you see. (Click through to AllFacebook for a summary and visuals.) Here’s what you need to check RIGHT NOW:

Notice that your icon, name, and description almost completely block your cover photo

Notice that your icon, name, and description almost completely block your cover photo

  • your page icon almost completely covers your cover photo. Make sure your icon communicates your main message
  • phone and address are most prominent. Make sure they are current.
  • The last photo you uploaded comes next, OUT OF CONTEXT. For example, a photo you used to illustrate a post will show up alone without the text. That may be fine, it might not. Check.
  • Tabs do NOT show on mobile devices. Make sure you are not relying on tabs to convey critical info.
  • Be careful with photo sizes. The old standard 402 x 402 still looks best on your desktop page, but, as we’ve said before, Facebook is now saying 552 x 414 is best for the new newsfeed. It looks like that holds for the mobile page too — photos are definitely wider

REMEMBER: Over half of Facebook users access the site from their mobile device and that number is going up. Facebook is going all in on mobile — make sure you’re ready.

WHY it’s time to SuperCharge Your Google+ Page (and how to do it)

Are you paying enough attention to your organization or blog’s Google+ page? Do you have one? Have you upgraded your cover photo? Updated your story? For way too many groups, the answer is No — and that’s a mistake.  Why? Because your Google+ page is critical to your online marketing. The contents you highlight on G+ end up in prime real estate on your Google search page, giving you more control of your results page than anything else you can do!

Supercharge Your G+ page screenshot

For more, click through the slideshare our Lynn O’Connell prepared with @CarlyAThorne for Social Media SuperChargers. For even more social media training, support, and resources, join the brand new Social Media SuperChargers community — with the special introductory rate, you pay less than 50 cents a day for the the first two months. Plus, you’re joining a collaborative community of marketers, social media managers, business owners, speakers, and fan page managers committed to helping each other succeed on Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more. Start by following the Social Media SuperChargers on Facebook here and here. Then follow on Google+ and check out the introductory membership offer here. It’s the perfect way to get the ideas, information, and motivation you need to SUPERCHARGE your pages. (People of all experience levels are welcomed, so perfect for your staff, too.) Lynn and Carly follow all the social media trends, tools, and techniques so that you can focus your time on getting RESULTS for your pages.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Super Charge your Google Plus Page” target=”_blank”>Super Charge your Google Plus Page</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Lynn O’Connell</a></strong> </div>

PLEASE SHARE, embed on your blog, tweet, or post to your favorite social networks.

 In just a few hours, this presentation hit the trifecta and hit hottest on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on the Slideshare home page. (The Social Media SuperChargers may be a new group, but they know how to get results — they are three for three on getting their Slideshares into this premium space!)

Get More Retweets With These Simple Tips (Infographic)

Today’s featured infographic was created by @neilpatel of QuickSprout. Ever wondered why some people are constantly retweeted while your brilliant tweets are ignored. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Ask for a retweet by adding this phrase to your tweet: “Please Retweet”
  • Use between 71 and 101 characters to allow room for retweeting
  • Tweet between noon and 2:00 pm, especially on Friday
  • Include at least one hashtag, but not too many — other research says too many hashtags decreases retweets.
  • Include one URL
  • Tweet about Twitter

These are specific actionable steps you can take! Read the infographic to learn more about why these guidelines matter, then print them out and stick them on your computer.  The odds say ou’ll see your retweets go up!

The Art of Getting Retweets (Infographic) via @DanielSharkov

How to Evaluate and SUPERCHARGE Your Facebook Page

Today’s infographic comes from @ShortStackLab.

This handy checklist walks you through 12 things to evaluate on your Facebook page. The first six steps cover the basic page sections and highlight what you should include. The next six go into analytics, content, strategy and more. It’s a quick, thorough guide to guide your as you give your Facebook page a checkup. Why not do it now?

[NEW INFOGRAPHIC] How to Evaluate Your Facebook Page – SociallyStacked – What’s Up in the World of Social Media.

A SImple Checklist to Help You Evaluate Your Facebook Page

Lynn O'Connell is the Creative Director of O'Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

Lynn O’Connell is the Creative Director of O’Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

What can your organization learn from social games?

I’m obsessed with gamification, but wish we could come up with a more business-friendly name! The “game” connection makes people think they need to turn their website or portal into an overt game, which is what leads to some of the absurd and meaningless badges. Instead, people need to think about how the core concepts engage, connect, and motivate users. For example, my marketing firm works with many trade and professional associations. We’re looking at ways to change information flow, especially to new members. Most associations bombard new members with a ton of printed and emailed info. Switching to an approach that instead gives them just the information they need to take the next step, coupled with positive social reinforcement as they complete steps, could ultimately lead to more committed members. But they never need to think they are playing a “game”. The same goes for our political and advocacy clients… their work is too serious to be a game, but incorporating gamification techniques consistently delivers results.

Here’s what game techniques can do for your organization:

  • Reward interaction! Give points for every action… commenting on a blog post, sharing an event, searching for an article, participating in forums or groups.
  • Introduce benefits, features, and information in bite-size pieces. Games don’t give you all the rules and features when you sign up. (Unlike associations that send you massive new member kits.) Don’t dump all the information at once but don’t expect people to find it on their own either. Decide what you want members to do, figure out how that is different for new and experienced members, and then encourage the right action at the right time. Checklists and tips customized by member “level” can produce big results.
  • Reward exploration of benefits and products. What’s the key to retaining members or customers? Getting them to take advantage of everything you offer. Reward them for exploring, downloading, checking out new features. Use checklists, levels, badges — whatever works.
  • Reward daily engagement. Every game out there gives rewards to players for checking in daily. Do the same thing for your members!
  • Encourage everyone to create and share content. Your members are experts in your field. Incentivize them to write blog posts, start discussion threads, comment, create graphics, submit proposals to speak. Take a look at the kind of engagement that your site and your organization needs and then create a reward system that encourages people to take action.
  • Show your members how to jump in and help you. Is your association understaffed? (Who isn’t?) Consider adding missions where members can earn points or achievements by completing specific tasks. That doesn’t have to mean volunteering to serve on a committee… it could be helping with tagging archived articles, completing surveys, or even typing up meeting notes! You could even allow members to set up missions!
  • Reward members for networking, mentoring, and connecting. It’s all about interaction. Build a system that makes it fun and easy to connect.
  • Recognize members for their achievements! That can mean badges, but go beyond and share their success with their colleagues! We all know some members are more active than others. Let them shine.

What is a reward? Your reward system does NOT have to be expensive.  Recognition, for example, is free. Plus, think about how games work — often, you need to reach a certain level in order to unlock new opportunities.  Discounts, contests, and give-aways certainly can add value to your site, but, you’ll be rewarding the members who are adding value to your membership. That ultimately helps you MAKE money by making the group more exciting and interesting to new prospects.

That’s just a tiny preview of how gamification techniques can revitalize your website, engage your members, improve retention, connect new and seasoned members, and appeal to younger prospects. O’Connell Meier is actively looking for a few groups who want to explore these new techniques. We’ll help you analyze your needs, evaluate cost-effective programs that may be able to work with your existing website and databases, and design and implement your program — and the first few groups to sign on will enjoy discounts on our time and discounts from gamification sites/programmers. Call Rich Meier today at 866-391-1415 (ext. 92) or email him at rmeier (at) Ask him about our experience with Zynga’s Player Advisory Committee!

Lynn O'Connell is the Creative Director of O'Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

Lynn O’Connell is the Creative Director of O’Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirect.

How to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Program in 2013 Infographic

Check out this article from at ClickZ for an overview of six key budget sectors for your social media marketing. Figures are based on a mid-sized organization and should be on target for national associations. Given the wealth of content your association probably has, you may be able to save by repurposing existing content. Strategy may require a higher initial investment if you have multiple member segments as well as a need to communicate with prospects, vendors, press, and the public.

How to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Program in 2013 | ClickZ.

How to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Program in 2013 | ClickZ

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