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 omdirect.com

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 omdirect.com

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=”http://www.slideshare.net/lynnoconnell1/super-charge-your-google-plus-page-18622982&#8243; title=”Super Charge your Google Plus Page” target=”_blank”>Super Charge your Google Plus Page</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/lynnoconnell1&#8243; 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!)

What the New Facebook NewsFeed Means for YOUR Page

Wondering what the new Facebook News Feed changes will mean for YOUR page? A LOT. Page posts will now be segregated into a separate “Following” feed, which means that your posts will no longer flow into the general newsfeed. As Facebook tells us that users spend more than 40% of their time on the newsfeed, that means you need to take action NOW to ensure that your most dedicated fans and members share your content with their friends — that’s the best way to get your content into the general feed.  And, that’s just ONE of the changes. Our Lynn O’Connell worked with @CarlyAThorne to create a short presentation for their social media training group, Social Media Superchargers, to give you a quick overview of what the newsfeed changes will mean to you.

Slideshare: What the New Facebook News Feed Changes Mean for YOUR Page

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/lynnoconnell1/facebook-news-feed-changes-and-your-page&#8221; title=”Facebook news feed changes and your page” target=”_blank”>Facebook news feed changes and your page</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/lynnoconnell1&#8243; target=”_blank”>Lynn O’Connell</a></strong> </div>

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 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

http://lynnoconnell.brandyourself.com/

The Best Infographics on the Planet: Social Media Work Flow Infographic

How much time do you and your staff spend on social media? If you’re like most groups, the time investment is increasing geometrically. Take a look at this infographic to see how you compare. (And, remember: the New Year is a great time to review your social media plan, strategy, and editorial calendar. Shameless plug: The O’Connell Meier team is standing ready to help!)

The Best Infographics on the Planet: Social Media Work Flow Infographic.

Social Media Work Flow

Today’s Association Marketing Tip: Launch a Pinterest account

I was inspired to collect some inspiring examples of associations on Pinterest  after reading Jeff Bullas’s blog article on 10 Creative Ways to Market on Pinterest. (Check it out and follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBullas.)

Unfortunately, I was surprised to find that many of the association pins I found on Pinterest were posted by members, NOT the association itself. So today’s tip is to take 10 minutes today to start or enhance your Pinterest boards to help your members and increase your visibility:

If your association does not have a Pinterest account, start now. You may have to request an invitation — it takes about one week to receive from the site, or you can ask a friend to invite you. You don’t have to plan your content or have everything ready in order to get started. All you need is your username, password, and email address. Everything else can be added later.

Pick one or two items from this list and add to your Pinterest boards right now. Think easy, think content you already have, and take 10 minutes to post something right now. Don’t wait until you have everything you’d like to feature. Pinterest boards grow over time. Post what you have at hand and plan to expand later.

  • Member logo or badge. Make it easy for members to show they belong!
  • Videos from sessions or from your association’s YouTube channel. You can easily add YouTube or Vimeo content to Pinterest pins.
  • Career advice. Do you have a Career center? Job listings? Articles about finding a job or managing your career? Information for students considering your field? Start a new board and link a few items. Use photos or graphics from the articles or website for your pin.
  • Photos promoting your next event. Speaker head shots, city photos, event shots — use the same materials you gather for your early bird promotions. In a great location? Dedicate a whole board to the city.
  • Slideshare presentations from your last conference or event.
  • Book covers or author photos. These can be from books your association sells, books written by speakers at upcoming events, or books by your members. Use the caption to explain the tie to your association — “John Doe will lead the general session at our next conference.”
  • White papers or research reports. Use the cover for your graphic and link to a page where people can download or purchase the report.
  • Posters, Infographics, Brochures. Have you created a poster to use as a membership marketing incentive? A useful brochure to help the general public understand an issue? Pinterest is the perfect place to highlight your content.
  • Sponsor logos. Create a board to highlight your sponsors, post their logos (same ones you use for your promotions), and link either to their sites, or to the page where they are honored on your site.
  • Recent article from your magazine or e-newsletter. Feature your cover story or a general article that will be of interest to people in your field. Use a photo for the pin, put the article title and publication name in the caption and link to the article online. (Pick content that is available to all site visitors.)

When possible, link each pin to a page on your website where people can find more information. That way, people can easily find your source material as members share the pins with their friends.

Remember: think easy! Your association has a wealth of information available. Think of a few pins you can quickly add using existing content to add sizzle to your Pinterest page.

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

Bookmark this blog or follow us on Twitter @omdirect and watch for upcoming blog posts on:

Pinterest Boards to Highlight Member Benefits and Products

Fun Pins to Add Sizzle to Your Pinterest Boards (who says association life is boring?)

 How to manage Pinterest in 10 minutes a day. (We’ll include tips on how to get your colleagues to help!)

Check out my social media and digital + direct marketing boards on Pinterest. You’ll find lots of infographics… feel free to share with your members!