The golden age of blogging has long-since passed, but doesn’t mean blogs have totally lost their usefulness. Content is still what drives everything from social media engagement to education and purchasing decision in the online world. Blogs not only give associations a chance to create this content, but to produce quality content that helps achieve an organization’s goals. Here are four reasons why associations, as well as other organizations like small businesses, should maintain a blog in this day and age.
Search engine optimization allows your organization to be found easily on Google searches, which means more people see your website, your brand and your value. This is one of the first steps in gaining more members/customers. One of the main ways that Google decides who gets top billing on its searches is the amount of fresh, keyword-focused content that appears on the site (along with factors like mobile compatibility and Google AdWords). A blog is a fantastic way to frequently create new content/links for your site while incorporating more and more keywords. Pairing a well-maintained blog with other SEO strategies will, over time, prove very valuable to your organization or company and give you a leg-up over the competition or the alternative.
One survey of thousands of association members from 2014 found that access to specialized information ranked second (after networking opportunities) as the most valuable element associations provide to members. Associations are in a unique position to be aware of the latest industry news, trends, experts, issues and developments. Most associations are excellent at providing this specialized information through publications, but blogs are a great way to go that extra mile and provide even more information for an increased value proposition for members. Writing blog posts about the issues that matter to your association’s members and industry will capture the attention, the engagement and the investment of its target market and will strengthen your organization’s overall performance and image.
Take a moment and think of all the elements of your website that your want members and potential members to see. There are probably pages detailing member benefits, member registration, event registration, event descriptions, contact information, strategic plans and several other areas that are helpful to both the member and your association’s bottom line. However, if people never visit your site, there’s little value in these pages, which makes website traffic immensely valuable. Blogs can generate a substantial increase in website traffic. Creating a blog with content that’s relevant to your audience and spreading it to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms gives your audience a reason and a pathway to visit your site. Once there, they can explore (or be subtly directed elsewhere by you) and find value in your website, which is a win/win for your organization and its members.
The Freemium Model
The Freemium model is based on a two-tiered approach to selling content, products and services. The first tier consists of free items, such as a free one-hour webinar, that aim to introduce your target audience to your organization and its value. The second tier consists of more comprehensive, valuable and exclusive content, products or services, such as a full-day workshop, that can only be accessed with payment. The logic is that once your association proves its value, people will be more likely to invest in membership, or at least some of the products and services it provides, such as a conference.
Blogs can be a big part of an association’s successful adoption of a Freemium model. Writing blogs that connect to various association products, services and member benefits can give industry professionals a chance to connect with the association, take some value and see what is possible with full membership. For example, write a blog about resume-building and interview tips for people in your industry and then link to a page about member benefits that have to do with professional development and job cultivation. People get some tips for free and then are more likely to recognize and invest in other benefits.