Moving Toward a Measure of Success: Do You Have a Content Strategy?

Topics: Content Strategy

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Content is core to the missions of most associations and non-profits, and the strategy to create, deliver and repurpose that content is an ongoing process for organizational leaders. Wikipedia refers to content strategy as “the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance” as well as “a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process.”

A few years ago ASAE released a fascinating analysis of nine different associations that, for all intents and purposes, could be considered successful. These associations had all been in operation for at least 20 years, finished in the black more years than in the red and seemed to have the ability to retain members, donors and/or market share during the study period.

The final report became 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Do Not, a book that established criteria to measure an association’s success.

Two of the measures are particularly interesting to an association’s content strategy.

Measure 7– Alliance Building. You Have To Build Alliances When You Manage Content

Information is coming in from far more channels today – industry experts, speakers, leaders, members and when you invest in social media you’ll discover contributors you don’t know today. Building those relationships helps you create focus on the content to support your mission and create critical mass – volume and quality to build your relevance.

In addition, you’ll have to build alliances with the consumers of your content – you have to understand their needs and preferences and even the value they place on different types of content.

Measure 2 – Alignment of Products and Services With Mission Falls Directly In Line With Creating a Content Strategy

Having a clear vision of what content you want to capture helps your team focus with intent (governance). In addition, a good content strategy will leverage your existing content to produce multiple products and services.  One of the biggest opportunities for Associations is being that aggregator and organizer of content.   The delivery of content in multiple media (products and services) is far more important – without an audience (reader) you just have a log of cool stuff. And it is about meeting the demand… not placing hurtles to get access to the content.    A single strategy of moving everything online can limit your ability to deliver critical knowledge to key stakeholders.  And finally, your distribution model needs to be designed for speed – in collection and distribution.

That said… Here are a few questions to consider for your organization:


  • Have you considered a content strategy?
  • How do you build alliances?
  • Do you have alliances with your content consumers?
  • Do you have a clear vision of what content you want to capture?


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August 4th, 2010Dave Lutz says:

David, nice post! I think the other two areas that are critical to consider in an association’s content strategy today are – co-creation and content curation. This blog is a great example of co-creation. With many associations, curation is best accomplished with a well thought out segmentation strategy. So many associations send everything to every member. It would be better to identify a finite number of segments and try to make sure that the content that is being sent to them is on target and useful.

There are lots of associations sending out newsletter blasts from companies like MultiBriefs that are a one size fits all based on keyword’s. If they were to apply a well thought out segmentation to this and hand pick (curate) more content, more people will pay attention to it, comment on it, forward it and not hit the delete key.

Twitter: velchain


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August 5th, 2010David McKnight says:

David, thank you. I agree with your additions to this line of thought. Segmentation, co-creation and curation are challenges, or I’ll change that to an “opportunities” for all kinds of organizations that serve a diverse group of people (members, clients, customers, attendees). Especially as information is moving, as you and Jeff have pointed out, from push to a pull distribution.

The heavy lifting comes in on execution…as it usually is. How to you manage multiple segmentation content channels. Instead of one e-mail or newsletter how do deliver 3, or 5, or ? How do you implement a pull distribution? Technology does and will offer some help. Sounds like another blog post, or a product/service improvment, hummm.

Twitter: Djmcknight

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