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Association publications are a great place to stand out and establish your organization as a thought leader and authority in the industry you serve.

The amount of content that’s pushed in front of your members on a daily basis is high. So it’s more important than ever that the information in your association publications really stands out. 

Gary Hunt, the content strategy and media director at the Ohio Society of CPAs, said it’s “critical” that associations strive to be thought leaders in any content they publish.

“From a content perspective, it works two ways,” Hunt said. “The content in and of itself is valuable, plus you're using that content to sell your other products and to highlight the value of all the other things you're doing.”

How can you make your association publications stand out?

Anything your association publishes should be visually appealing and on-brand. But even the most well-designed flyer or report can lose value if the content is not up to par. 

Keep these tips in mind when planning and producing your association publications:

Make the name SMILE

In a recent Sidecar workshop, Alexandra Watkins, author of the best-selling book, “Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick,” said great names have SMILE qualities.

The acronym stands for Suggestive, Memorable, Imagery, Legs, Emotional.

Watkins said the best brand, event or publication names are suggestive of what your organization is about, are memorable and catchy, have interesting or useful imagery, contain the ability to branch off into legs and form other brand opportunities and has an emotional attachment to the user. 

Engage frequently with members

It’s common for associations and membership organizations to engage deeply with members through a seminar, event or publication. But most don’t engage again until the next event or publication months later.

To attract and retain a loyal following, organizations should aim to foster brand habits and build deeper relationships with members.

You can do this through content in your association publications — both in print and online.

Your content should provide valuable insights, engage as wide an audience as possible and be shared in your association’s newsletter, blog or social media pages.

Create engaging content to attract potential members

While your members might look forward to your regular association publications, finding ways to reach potential members can help your organization stand out. Offering some of your content for free is a great way to expand your reach.

You could do this by publishing a blog or an email newsletter designed to share updates, plus links to curated content from other sources your audience should find interesting.

Use video whenever possible

According to Gather Voices, video is among the best free marketing tools for trade and professional associations. And you don’t need fancy equipment or expensive lighting to make it work. 

There are a number of ways to use video to make your online association publications stand out. A few easy ways to get started include having a member of your leadership team talk about the work you do and your accomplishments, asking members to describe why they joined your association and what they get out of their membership or answering frequently asked questions.

By making a few tweaks, your association publications can really stand out.

Heather Nolan
Post by Heather Nolan
March 18, 2021
Heather a skilled communicator with expertise in social media and marketing strategy, brand management and journalism. She uses storytelling and audience growth skills to help companies showcase their brand and expand their reach.