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Most membership organisations need to get better at targeting their content to specific audiences.
This is among the key findings of The Content Connection, a new research report that assesses how organisations in the sector use content to grow and retain membership numbers.
Thirty-five out of 37 membership organisations surveyed for the research said they tended to be limited to a “one size fits all” approach to content.
“Many membership organisations have segmented their internal and external audiences by, for example, creating special interest groups,” say the report’s authors Emma Thompson, from Ashridge, and CPL’s Mike Sewell. “However, that doesn’t mean they have extended this approach to their content strategy. This is potentially a wasted opportunity.”
The research was carried out during summer and autumn 2019 with in-house team members responsible for communications with members. It involved a combination of quantitative research and more detailed one-to-one interviews, which feature as case studies in the report. Professional bodies, trade associations, royal colleges and trades unions – ranging in size from fewer than 5,000 to more than 400,000 members – were among the organisations surveyed.
Each is at a different stage in its development and many have different internal cultures and commercial outlooks. But some common themes emerged, and these are identified as the five ‘key takeaways’ in the report.
In addition to the need to target content better, the other four key takeaways in the report revolve around:
A key priority for CPL and Ashridge was to make the findings as useful and relevant as possible. Each of the five takeaways also includes five key questions that membership professionals need to consider in the context of their content strategy.
Among other findings from the report are:
The report, which was launched during November at two events for those who had taken part in the survey, is available at: www.cpl.co.uk/thecontentconnection
To receive a hard copy, or to share your views and experiences of using content to grow and retain members, please contact email@example.com or call him on 01223 378008.