Association Content Strategy – The Hybrid Approach

Published by Dan Loomis | Topics: Content Strategy, Online Publishing

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Hybrid Content Strategy for AssociationsRecently, I posted the blog article “Association Content Strategy:
Free or Fee?
” The title might suggest an association’s content strategy must be one OR the other – free or fee. But for some associations that may not be the best solution.

For many associations, a
Hybrid Content Solution
may be the answer. A Hybrid Content Solutions combines the best of both free and fee-based online content strategies.

If you look around, isn’t our world full of hybrid solutions? Hybrid solutions exist in many forms from flowers, to cars and even golf clubs. In fact, most of these hybrid solutions as a whole are generally better than their original counterparts individually.

So in the world of online association content, how do you turn your educational content into a fully loaded hybrid content strategy to propel membership growth, satisfaction and overall revenue for your organization?

To start let’s review some of the typical content strategies associations use today.

3 Common Association Content Strategies

For many associations, content is usually available in one of the following ways:

  1. Free Content: All content is free to members, non-members and general public.
  2. Members Only Content: Content is only available to members. No content is for sale, so non-members must join an organization in order to access content.
  3. Member Benefit Content: Content is discounted or free to members. Non-members and general public can purchase content for a fee.

To leverage the value of association content, a content strategy should include a combination of all three strategies. The more diversified the content strategy, the greater the value to your organization and the entire content community.

4 Ways to Develop a Hybrid Content Strategy

  1. Always provide some free content. No strings attached… just free content. Free content is a basic expectation of anyone surfing the Internet. A few examples of what you can offer include: An abstract or the first several pages of premium content, or access to older publications or proceedings content from previous year.
  2. Provide premium content only available to members. Members are an elite group. Provide some premium content that is only offered to members; either at a discounted fee or free as a membership value.
  3. Provide premium content only available to attendees. Consider providing only conference attendees access to proceedings content for 90 days after your annual meeting.  Then switch to a free content or member benefit model after the chosen time frame.
  4. Provide content non-members can purchase. Whenever possible, allow non-members to purchase content. Not only is this a potential revenue source, but also an opportunity to gain a new member if you have good content. Providing free content is tricky for some organizations based on the fact premium content is not intended for public consumption for various reasons. In those cases, associations will need to be creative in order to produce some content non-members can purchase.

Aligning Content Strategy with Association Objectives

Maybe now’s a good time to schedule a long lunch break with some colleagues to kick around content strategy ideas.  If not now, when?

Get started with one simple question “Is our current content strategy helping our association reach its objectives?”


Image: Toyota Yaris HSD concept – full hybrid B segment car by Toyota Motor Europe

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About Dan Loomis

When Dan Loomis took over as a Product Director, he aspired to be like his new role model… Santa Claus. “There’s no one more skilled in fulfillment than Kris Kringle,” Dan more

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