Today’s digital world offers tons of channels to share your content, which is great. But it also means tons of content for you to produce and tons of sources to track. We often hear from associations that they have limited capacity and/or time to produce content, which is why it’s so important to know exactly what content resonates with your members. Using data in your content strategy will help you identify what content members value most, what isn’t resonating and what needs to be tweaked. This will ultimately save you time and money, and provide members with more value that leads to increased engagement and retention.
Here are some tips for using data to create relevant content for your members and customers.
Ask and observe your members.
This is essentially data collection. Any touchpoint a member has with your organization should tell you specific things about their interests. As you start this process, make sure to be deliberate, careful and comprehensive in gathering the information.
- Ways to ask: Get members to update their profiles, send an email to gather their feedback, or collect information at in-person events like what sessions they attend.
- Ways to observe: Keep track of purchases, follow member-generated content like community posts, or track what content and individuals members engage with.
Organize or create a taxonomy for your content.
If you don’t have a taxonomy in place, we suggest you implement one that is association-wide. Start by tagging and classifying content across your association’s digital assets. Identify top terms and build a hierarchy. Going 3 – 5 layers deep should give you enough to get started. Once again, consistency is vital. This will only work if taxonomy and tags are uniform. With a taxonomy in place you’ll be able to:
- Analyze performance: Look at the specific performance of one piece of content against other pieces. This will help you determine which content to produce more of, which to tweak and which to sunset.
- Target and personalize: With tags and taxonomy in place, you can start to target and personalize messaging to your members, who should engage more with your higher quality, more relevant content.
- Optimize your website: Make your search capabilities and access to your content easy. When a solid taxonomy is implemented correctly, it can improve your site’s SEO. The taxonomy, coupled with good website navigation, will make it easier for people to find relevant content and increase traffic to your site and pageviews.
Integrate and visualize your data.
Data typically resides throughout an organization. Because of this challenge, there needs to be a comprehensive and reliable way to integrate the data. We suggest using a tool to visualize your data, which will make it more accessible to average business staff than trying to decipher numbers on a spreadsheet.
The need for data visualization in the association industry was a key driver for the creation of our Acumen data analytics platform. With Acumen, you can use visualizations to see all of your member data in one place, and to break down data by topics, modality, location and more.
Let’s use course registration as an example. Acumen allows you to look at your taxonomy of courses to see how they align with your members. You can see registrations trends by year or month, determine which courses are relevant to which members by member type, job function, location, and more, and drill down to learn more about exactly who is using the product.
Take action with your data.
Use data to help build your content strategy. By evaluating the performance of your content, you should be able make changes and decisions with confidence.
Start at a macro- level. Keep your audience in mind as you create content. Align your content with the members you serve. For example, if your members are educators, you want to create overarching content that is valuable to anyone in the education space. After you determine the relevant content for a large segment, move on to the micro- engagement level. For example, content for teachers or content for principals. Use this lens to better target content to the right people. Identify how to make target groups smaller and ultimately get to the right message to the right person.
Test and Learn! Some types of new content can be labor intensive to produce. For smaller projects, test to see if the content resonates with your members. If it does, great! If not, you can sunset it easily. Start targeting specific products and services to specific people.
Let’s use course registration again as an example for an easy test. You discover that most members who attend your annual conference also took a specific course you offer. Look at the data to identify the conference attendees who didn’t buy the course and start marketing the course directly to them.
Some other helpful tips:
- Be data informed, not data driven. Yes, an analytics company said that! Why? Because you and your team are industry experts. Data will help you make decisions so they aren’t based solely on personal judgement, but make sure to use it to augment your staff’s wisdom and expertise.
- Innovate, don’t rely on one source to drive your content decisions. Follow industry trends. As thought leaders, you need to dig deeper to get the data points you need. Asking member feedback in a survey may not give you the full picture.
Ready to start visualizing your data to better target your members? Association Analytics is here to help. Our data analytics platform, Acumen, was built specifically for associations to integrate and visualize data and act on it.
We’d love to chat with you about how we can help you use data to create more relevant content. Schedule a demo to learn more or check out our recent webinar to find out more about using data to create relevant content for your members.