I’m always amazed how many professional associations do great things and then forget to tell anyone about it. Your organization’s accomplishments shouldn’t be a secret. Good news is inspiring, and your audiences—stakeholders, association members, future members—will want to share in the moment.
So what are the best ways to spread the word about your initiatives?Here are a few rules to remember:
1. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.
It takes persistence to ensure any message is heard. The same television commercials air more than once. The same news stories warrant repeat coverage on different channels and programs. So if your association announcement is really worth sharing, be sure to tell your members more than once. Take an integrated approach, and reframe the story for your newsletter, your blog, and other communication channels, which we’ll discuss below.
2. Create a regular “value report.”
Several of our trade association clients produce customized “value reports” that help demonstrate a member’s return on investment. These reports, issued with a frequency appropriate for your association, allowing you to: identify cost benefits such as how many individuals attended discounted educational programs, the number of free briefings received, etc. Over the course of a year, these numbers add up, and they make a compelling case for membership renewal.
3. Take advantage of press releases.
Increasingly, people are getting their news online. But press releases still work—arguably, even better—for digital publications. For professional associations, this means your story doesn’t have to target the New York Times print edition in order to be press release-ready. Google News will display a press release on Business Wire the same way it does for traditional publications. So consider sending press releases targeted toward inclusion in the online news sites your members and prospects visit.
4. Plan ahead with your social strategy.
In 2013, no promotional strategy would be complete without a social media component. But that doesn’t mean you should wait for major announcements and success stories before you tweet and post. Start planning your social media schedule now, so you can build and maintain a broad following of key influencers. Use social media to share everyday items and relevant external news. That way, when it comes time to advertise your own success, you’ll enjoy better context and more attention.
No matter what you do, you can’t afford to be shy. If you need more advice on association marketing for your professional association or trade group, Virtual is here to help.
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