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The 7 Stages of Social Media

The Important Journey for Association Marketers - As you increase your presence social media pla...

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Analog vs Digital

Where is Your Association - Many associations have been slow to adopt a digital first policy. Boom...

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Upcoming Events & Webinars

May27

Non-Dues-a-Palooza Webinar - Growing Non-dues Revenue in 2021 & Beyond: The Future of Association Revenue

May 27th, 2021

In 2020, COVID accelerated the need for associations to engage digitally, creating a permanent shift in the importance of digital engagement to remain relevant with members. This shift disru...

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Jun17

Meeting Professionals International - World Education Congress (WEC)

June 17, 2021

Catch up with Dan Stevens and Doug Coombs of Association TV at the Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress on June 17th for TWO exclusive presentations. Tech Showca...

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July14

.orgCommunity Innovation Summit

July 14, 2021

Eric O’Connor, Chief Growth Officer of AANA and Dan Stevens, President of WorkerBee.TV and their Association TV® platform and services, will share with you how they organized the company for...

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Blog

It’s Hip to be Square: A Case for Predictable Content Planning

The best way to build and maintain an engaged audience is to keep them on their toes right?  Don’t let your viewers relax for a second. Give them a promo jab, a marcom right hook, and just when they’re on the ropes — POW! —an educational uppercut. Ding! Ding! Ding! The content belt is yours. The crowd goes wild… OK, back to the real world.  When it comes to the content subject matter and other creative choices like format and visual treatment, it does help to switch things up and subvert expectations. But when it comes to the distribution of your content, you’re aiming for the comfort and reliability of a weekly Sunday dinner with the family. Here’s where most associations go wrong.  An association develops a video to fulfill a purpose. When different departments work in silos, they set release dates based on when a video would be best delivered to serve that purpose. Say the events department has an annual conference, a half-day digital learning workshop and a golf tournament on their list of events to advertise using promo videos for the coming year. Their first instinct might be to say, “Ok, we know that the ideal time for a member to receive a promo to the event would be two months out. Far enough away that they have time to plan, but close enough that they won’t sweep it under the rug and forget.” Then they might say, “Ok, the workshop happens two months before the conference, and we don’t want to crowd the release of the conference promo, but people will need less lead time on an invitation to a half-day digital event. The golf tournament happens in the summer, so let’s release that promo in the spring before everyone has set their summer plans”. Maybe they did some market research that determined their demographic is most receptive on Monday mornings, but one of the Mondays they planned fell on a long weekend. So they put together a release schedule that looked like this: Workshop Promo: Tuesday, February 22 Workshop Date: Monday, March 21 Conference Promo: Monday, March 28 Conference Date: Thursday, May 26 Golf Tournament Promo: Monday, May 30  Golf Tournament Date: Thursday, June 28 At first glance, this calendar seems just fine, right? None of the timelines overlap, so the members will only think about one event at a time with plenty of breathing room between promo drops. Well, the problem is, for an association, one department’s release schedule is just a tiny segment of a much larger picture.  Because the departments each worked on separate calendars, the association’s release schedule actually looked like this: MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT: Call For Membership Renewal: Tuesday, February 22 EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Workshop Promo: Tuesday, February 22 ADVOCACY DEPARTMENT: PAC Promo: Wednesday, February 23 MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT: Educational Video: Monday, February 28 EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Workshop Date: Monday, March 21 EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Conference Promo: Monday, March 28 ADVOCACY DEPARTMENT: Capitol Hill Fly-in Promo: Wednesday, March 30 EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Conference Date: Thursday, May 26 MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT: Membership Testimonial Video: Monday, May 30 EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Golf Tournament Promo: Monday, May 30  EVENTS DEPARTMENT: Golf Tournament Date: Thursday, June 28   What a mess. Let’s unpack what happened here. As it turns out, Membership found the same market research as Events, so they also released on Mondays (except when there was a long weekend). In fact, they released their call for membership renewal on the same day that members received the workshop promo. That’s two promos with two calls to action on one day, meaning that members would be pretty likely to forget about one, or even both. The Advocacy Department releases on Wednesdays because the Advocacy VP works a flexible schedule – Tuesday to Saturday. Great! No conflicts with the Membership and Events releases, right?  Even so, Advocacy released a promo for their PAC right after the call for membership renewal and the workshop promo. So the following week, when the Membership department tried to release their educational video, members, who had received three advertisements the week prior, immediately deleted the email without ever opening it.  Gasp. Each individual department built a beautifully organized calendar with well-spaced, predictable releases, but what the individual member got was a non-stop barrage of ads on a seemingly random schedule.   So how can you make sure this never happens? Truly predictable content programming for associations means all departments collaborate on a single calendar – making sure communications of all mediums are released on a steady and reliable schedule. This way, you control the mixture of give and take (‘give’ refers to content that provides value for members, such as an educational video, and ‘take’ refers to content that asks something of your members, such as a promo). The last thing dues-paying members want is to open up their inbox and have to sort through a bunch of emails from you. If they feel exhausted by communications, and especially if it’s hard to discern at a single glance what is an ad and what isn’t, they won’t just ignore the ads, they’ll just start deleting every email that comes from you. Eventually, they might even think, “Why am I paying dues to delete all these emails?” and cancel their membership. In an ideal situation, members will anticipate when an email from your association is coming and even get excited about it. And when they get a predictable mix of ‘give’ and ‘take’ content (heavy on the give), they’re more likely to open your email and give your promo a fair shot.    Imagine if members were this excited to receive an email from you!   Here are some quick tips on how to make a content calendar so predictable, you can set your watch to it! Ensure all departments use one calendar. Pick consistent release day(s). Maintain a balance between ‘give’ and ‘take’ content.  Consider the cadence of the calendar overall – give each event enough space to be a focal point.   At Association TV we have 3 Ps that make up our guide for content strategy. Profitable Purposeful Predictable  Watch a video to learn how these three Ps will revolutionize your own content strategy and skyrocket your revenue.

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What is Sponsored Content and How To Make It (The Right Way)

Welcome to the land of sponsored content. You might’ve done a flyover of the topic before, but we’re coming all the way in for a landing, so fasten your seatbelts – exits are found at the top of your screen, and refreshments are available in your kitchen.  Before we even get to the how, when, or why, we must first ask the immortal question.    What is sponsored content? You know what content is? Great! You know what sponsorships are? Sweet! Sponsored content is what happens when those worlds collide like chocolate and peanut butter to make a delicious snack. It’s an easy-to-consume product that’s the best of both worlds (unless you’re allergic to peanuts or chocolate – sorry ‘bout that).  It can be anything: a podcast, article, or video – that a brand pays a creator to make or post on its behalf. The content looks the same as all rest of the creator's usual content, except this piece is about a topic relevant to the brand sponsoring it. Within the content, there’s usually a convenient link or reference to the sponsor’s product, solution or service. It’s selling by suggestion. Think of a Buzzfeed article – say about the differences between headaches and chronic migraines.  Oh, look…     This article is written in the same tone and format as all other articles on the site. It offers a little insight relevant to anyone plagued by head pain and suggests what you think are headaches, may actually be migraines. Never fear, you can contact your doctor to discover new effective and convenient migraine treatment options. How sweet of them to let us know! Now, look carefully at the bottom of that screenshot. You can see in the last line of text, this article is sponsored by pharmaceutical giant Allergan.  Allergan's objective in sponsoring this article is to prompt you, the reader, to contact your doctor about their product, BOTOX® to treat your migraines. Yes, we were just as surprised as you that BOTOX® is, in fact, a treatment option for migraines – further research indicates it’s pretty effective too (Allergan did not pay us to say that, by the way).  Sponsored articles and videos tend to have a written or verbal indicator of their commercial status — but some are easier to spot than others. A few industry regulators have developed helpful playbooks to keep everything on the up-and-up in response to the rise of ambiguously commercial content. In 2016, Ad Standards Canada introduced guidelines to “uphold the authenticity, honesty, and integrity of all online marketing tactics by requiring companies to clearly disclose working relationships.” The Federal Trade Commission outlined its initial requirements in 2009, and a rising population of influencers led to its publication of “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” in 2019. The big social media platforms also have their own policies to keep creators honest. You can find them in an article here if that kind of stuff floats your boat.   So now that You know what it is, why should your association Generate sponsored content? You have a dedicated audience who look to you for content. Now, you may have a paywall up so only members of your association can watch your content. That’s great! But what about creating a whole new revenue stream accessible to the rest of your market?   Say you’re a woodworking association and you have a master craftsperson available to interview. If you shoot or write that interview, you can publish it on your website behind your paywall. But you can also pay a popular woodworking YouTube channel or magazine to publish your content, putting your association and members in front of a whole new category of potential recruits. As a bonus, you’re providing more frequent content for your existing members. Even if it’s only one additional post per month, you're still offering more opportunities for your members to engage with you, drive up traffic on your platform and grow your audience.  And let's face it, by offering a paid incentive, you're opening yourself up to a wider and more exclusive range of thought leaders. A sponsorship that plays into a high-powered industry expert's own marketing plans can make them more inclined to participate.   So, what are a few tips on how to create your own sponsored content? The number one priority is to make sure you're creating a piece of content that's valuable to your audience. They should be getting solid, unbiased information from a trusted source on a topic they want to learn about. As long as you make sure it’s not simply an extended commercial for the sponsor, you’re golden. Say you’re doing a video about the benefits of changing your tires for the winter. You want an expert to come in and talk about the different types of tires and what makes some better for other types of weather. You also have a major tire company that is placing a banner ad on the page for the video. Well, why not offer them a sponsorship on the video? A package that includes a pre-roll (This video is brought to you by [insert name]), the banner ad they’ve already purchased, and the opportunity to have one or more of their product experts come in and talk about your topic.   The product expert will come in and talk about how different treads on a tire react to temperature changes or the differences between all-season tires, winter tires, and studded tires. Can you tell I need to change my tires this week? As the association making the content, you need to ensure that your guest expert doesn’t focus on their products alone, they need to relate to overall trends across the industry. You’re not making an advertisement for them, you’re giving them the opportunity to share their expertise and talk to your audience as an authority.  Remember: If you can’t replace the expert with one of their competitors, it’s just a commercial. It doesn’t have to be crass, it doesn’t have to be sales-y, it doesn’t have to be deceitful because it shouldn’t be one-sided. Balance is key. Your interviewee wins by reaching your audience, getting their key message out, making their name top-of-mind for potential customers; and you win by making high-quality content, engaging your audience and securing that sweet non-dues revenue.   So, when is it time to make your own sponsored content? Like all of your other content, find out when the topic is going to be most relevant to your readers/viewers. Don’t go making that winter tire video and posting it in the middle of the summer.  If you want to know how often to post sponsored content, that’s a bit trickier. First, you need to consider how your audience will react. Will they turn away from you if your content is primarily sponsored? Will they embrace it fully, not even caring or noticing? Will they question your authenticity if every second or third post is sponsored? I’d love to tell you the secret trick to know how often to post sponsored content, but I can’t. The only advice I can give on this front is, don’t betray your audience’s trust by oversaturating with sponsorships.    There you have it: the what, why, how and when of it all  If you’re looking to learn more about the topic, HERE is an example of a daily recap – a video with many sponsors, and HERE you can find content marketing options that appeal to sponsors.

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