The tactic of using members to promote your association is nothing new. But have you ever considered using members to promote the value of your association’s publications? Here are five ways to use members, or even readers, to promote the value of your publications, leading to higher readership and possibly more advertising dollars.
- Put them in print. Most associations continue to do print pieces to promote their association to members as well as non-members because print is still effective when used smartly. Your publications are a key member benefit, so the value of the publications is promoted in any print pieces you produce for the purpose of recruiting and retaining members.Print promotions are the perfect place to use targeted testimonials. Target testimonials allow you to show segments of your audience the value of the publications in a non-promotional way because the testimonials come from their colleagues, not from association staff. When using testimonials in print, or any other format, it is beneficial to include testimonials from different segments of your key audiences so that readers will see themselves represented and associate themselves with the value being presented.
- Find the social media champions. Social Media is a great way to create engagement and spread information quickly. Many associations are already involved in this medium on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and more. In addition to sharing information and creating conversation, you can use social media to locate individuals who are already talking about your association or the topics that you cover, and contact them about becoming a champion for your publication.This does not mean they promote your publication, or your association, but it does mean that you feed them important information or exciting things that are happening in your publications and ask them to participate in the conversation on your social media sites or on their own. If you recruit the right people to serve as champions, your content will get coverage without much effort on your part.
- Encourage members to forward content via enewsletters. Using your members to help spread the word can be very simple if you are producing an e-newsletter to recruit members or to inform current members about key happenings in your association. It is simple because almost all email programs make it easy to insert a “forward-to-a-friend” link within your e-newsletter. Not everyone is going to actually take action on a forward-to-a-friend link, so to maximize its usage, suggest that e-newsletter readers pass the message along, and then track how many recipients actually do so.E-newsletters are also a great place to insert video testimonials or links to video testimonials. A video testimonial can be captured at one of your events or can be self-produced by a reader. Like a written testimonial, a video is a great way to promote your publications in your readers’ own words.
- Feature testimonials on the website. Your website is a great way to communicate with members and non-members alike. Testimonials about your publications, videos about how members and non-members have benefited from your publications, and quotes from authors and social media champions can all be posted on your website for your community to see. The real estate on your website is very valuable and because of that, many of your association’s departments will want to have a presence on the site. However, since your publications are valuable member benefits, commit to making sure that publications have a regular presence there.
- Promote from the inside. It may sound silly to promote your publications within your publications, but it is a smart thing to do. If you have multiple publications, promote content from one publication in another publication so readers of one will learn the benefits of another. Including testimonials or links to videos or social media comments about your publications within the publications is a good way to engage more people, ultimately leading to a higher level of commitment and understanding of your content offerings. Messaging about sharing the publication with other colleagues increases awareness within the right audience, with the added benefit that the publication was suggested by a colleague, not a staff member.The members of your association and your industry are resources that you should take advantage of. Having these types of people speak for your association and spread the word about your publications provides a level of legitimacy and authenticity that staff spokespeople cannot duplicate. If you are not already using members to tell your story, start doing so right away. Happy hunting!
This article was originally published on www.associationmediaandpublishing.org, the website of Association Media & Publishing and is based on a presentation given by Oser and Dave Martin of the Electronic Retailing Association at the ASAE Membership, Marketing and Communications Conference in Washington, DC.