Association’s Content Strategy: Free or Fee?
The conversations always include whether content will be monetized or free. Some associations have a solid direction with how their content will be accessed online, while others are curious to know what other associations are doing.
Accessing Association Content
When it comes to selling content or providing it for free, associations are split as to which model to provide to their members or audience.
Associations who support Content for Free models suggest…
- Access to online content should be provided as a member only benefit.
- Free content is a basic expectation of membership. Without free content, members would become dissatisfied and discontinue their membership.
Content for Fee advocates suggest…
- Access to valuable online content should be sold for a fee just like the printed proceedings, handouts and educational publications.
- Free content models cannot sustain long term.
4 Questions to Analyze Your Content Strategy
Both models work. Some associations even choose a content strategy that combines some free content as well as other content that is sold for a fee. In order to make a good decision about content strategy, associations must evaluate what’s in line with their association’s objectives as well as the expectations of their community and members.
Four questions to ask may include:
- How do members utilize the association’s content?
- What are members’ expectations regarding accessing content for fee or free?
- Can an association’s content provide value to non-members?
- Can an association capitalize on a revenue opportunity by selling some content?
Fee or Free? – It’s About Your Members
Whether you decide to provide access to content for free, monetize it or provide it as a member only benefit, you have to consider the community you serve. What’s right for one community isn’t always right for the other. Give some careful thought to your content strategy, but don’t let the difficulties of the decision making process prevent you from taking action. The key is to GET STARTED! You can always change your model after you get some experience and feedback from your community and member base.
3 Content Strategy Resources and Discussions
To help you get started, here are a few other blogs posts that talk about content strategy. Including one from association media and publishing site that talks specifically about having content as a members only benefit- as you’ll read you’ll see not everyone agrees on this topic.
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