“Content is king,” wrote Bill Gates in 1996, and apparently, it is still true. According to a May 2018, Smart Insights survey, content marketing has the biggest commercial impact out of the 16 different outreach methods that were polled.
There are more, and cheaper, methods of distributing an organization’s content now than ever before, but choosing the right medium and creating relevant and engaging content is not as simple. SmithBucklin, the largest association management and services company, already has free guidance to support content strategies, including an infographic on the value of association content and the white paper Five Ways to Make Your Content Come Alive. But a new initiative, SmithBucklin Content, aims to help strengthen associations, government institutions, and nonprofits by providing tools for better content curation and dissemination.
Jason Meyers, senior director, content strategy at SmithBucklin, says, “We saw the need across the board to present associations as thought leaders and decided the time was right to integrate our content capabilities into a comprehensive portfolio.” Something as simple as optimizing an association’s content for mobile can increase readership levels, given that the most common entry into online information is through smartphones.
Since content is not just about exposure, but education and conversion rates for membership and attendance, it is not just about amplifying the message, but having the right message.
According to Meyers, clients may request an audit from SmithBucklin Content to give them recommendations, or they might have already identified a need to upgrade their content offerings. He says, “These are a set of capabilities that we have been developing for some time in different ways that grew organically. It supports the development of content across all categories.” Meyers cites Mary Meeker’s global trend study, which found that Americans spend 3.3 hours a day on mobile and 29 percent of their free time watching videos. “We have a whole team dedicated to video content and podcasts and these are complimentary content to newsletters and websites.”
Meyers calls content “the connective tissue between events,” saying it is particularly important for associations to know that their events can’t exist in a vacuum. “You need to connect before, after, and during; whether it is pre-event interviews with keynote speakers or live content, it enhances the life of the event and the value to members who want to attend but cannot.”
As well as disseminating relevant information to current members, SmithBucklin hopes to help associations monetize their specialty knowledge with display advertising and sponsored content. As a primary source of relevant industry intelligence, association newsletters and other publications can help advertisers reach a highly targeted audience. The National Association of Realtors and IEEE both generate revenue from advertising and sponsorship packages. SmithBucklin Content also offers advice increasing ROI on existing association content by repackaging valuable data including surveys, white papers, and other industry intelligence for sale, and storing content in searchable formats for future researchers.