Researching and documenting the member journey is a great way to uncover insights about your members. The next milestone is to apply these insights to your programs and measure the outcomes.
In our previous post on Member Journey Mapping, we laid out the process for gathering information about how members engage with your association. If you followed the process, you likely have new clarity about your different member personas. For instance, you may have learned that new professionals are more likely to participate in online communities. Or you may have identified that existing members developed a preference for online learning and remote work during the global COVID pandemic. By digging deeper into data about members’ online behaviors, you should also have new insights into the paths they take to discover, consume, and ideally, share your content.
Getting to these insights was no doubt a heavy lift for your organization, and one with a significant payoff. But only when you make them actionable. Improving the quality of your content and how it’s packaged is a good place to start.
Develop a Member-Centered Content Strategy
So, you’ve uncovered ways your members discover and consume content. Now what? The first step is to assess your current content to see how well you meet their expectations. Some insights will lead you to re-think the way you deliver existing content and programs. For example, you may already have great educational content in your Learning Management System (LMS), but is the content organized in a way that is intuitive for members? Is it in a format that meets their needs? Maybe your members listen to podcasts during their morning commute. Applying this insight may spark new ideas for breaking down lengthy educational content into commuter-friendly 20-minute podcast episodes.
Insights from the member journey map can also identify gaps in your content. You may have members in foreign countries who need localized content. Or you may identify a completely new member-type and need to create content that is focused on their interests. A medical association, for example, may further segment their members based on urban and rural areas and create content to address specific needs for each practice type.
A more member-centered content strategy has the potential to improve engagement – but only if your organization is operationally aligned. The next step is to assess your resources for creating and delivering content to members.
Implementing your member-centered content strategy requires aligning internal operations in three key areas: people, systems, and reporting. First, identify who will be responsible for creating and publishing content and maintaining content channels such as email, websites, social media, and events. You may need to update job descriptions or outsource functions depending on the skills needed. The important thing is to define roles and responsibilities and assign resources accordingly.
Second, evaluate your systems based on how you need to deliver content to members. Legacy tools like your AMS, LMS and Content Management System (CMS) may need to be reconfigured or better integrated to meet new requirements. You may also have gaps in your technology stack that need to be addressed. Prioritize requirements and work with IT stakeholders to set an implementation roadmap. You will also want to budget resources for training team members to use systems to create and deploy content.
Last, you need to be able to measure and report outcomes. Establish metrics and a reporting framework that will help your organization assess how well you’re moving towards improved member engagement. But be realistic and think about these metrics in terms of how they relate to your business. Vanity metrics like pageviews and “likes” don’t tell the full story. Make sure your metrics can directly align to business goals. Determine a regular cadence for reporting and work with stakeholders to provide leadership with meaningful data and analysis.
Continue to Demonstrate Value
Implementing your new content strategy and organizational alignment will have a positive impact on member engagement. Regular tracking and reporting on key metrics will help you assess how well you’re meeting members’ needs by delivering relevant content in a way that is easy for them to consume it. This creates value for your members and makes your association more “sticky.”
Through regular measurement and reporting, you will also identify signals that indicate when member preferences start to change. New technologies, shifts in industry best practices, and the way people engage are constantly evolving. Maintaining status quo will soon make your organization out-of-step with members constantly changing preferences. Leadership will need to regularly evaluate member data and apply new strategies as needed.
The member journey is dynamic. To continue to demonstrate value to your members, your organization must also be dynamic. This may mean testing new models for member feedback. For example, we recently recommended a member advisory board to an association who sought ready access to member perspectives. When you commit resources to regularly evaluate the member journey and act on insights, you will ensure your association continues to meet growth and retention goals.