Gold Key Opening a Gold Lock (with Clipping Path)

Your Content: Lock It Up or Set It Free? (The Secret to Content Marketing: Part 2)

ashin June 9th, 2014

In our last blog post, The Secret to Content Marketing – and Why You Should Care, we explored the basic fundamentals around content marketing and how your association could quickly implement a content marketing strategy. We received several great comments and questions after we posted the blog. Below are our answers to the most frequent comments and questions:

Comment #1: Our members sign up with our association because of our content. We don’t want to give our content away or no one will join!

AMP Response: This was the most frequent comment we received. And it’s a very valid concern. This debate has raged in the publishing industry for years, if not decades. What should be considered high-premium content that requires a payment? How much are people willing to pay for content? What content should be free, if any?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. It comes down to analytics, metrics and a good old-fashioned understanding of your industry and your members’ needs. The annual research study that your team spends 6 months compiling, analyzing and creating? Probably should stay behind your pay wall as a members-only piece of content. However, the executive summary of the research and key findings? That would make for a great content marketing piece that can generate interest in the full, paid version.

Comment #2: We don’t have the resources to create another set of content.

AMP Response: Many associations lock 100% of their content behind pay walls, which makes it very difficult for prospective members to understand the tangible benefits of joining.

Remember, step one is to get an email address to continue building your relationship with your prospects to convert into members. Take a good, hard look at what people are engaging with most on your site, and keep in mind that your most valuable content may not be the most recent content you’ve produced.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. If there is a popular article, interview, infographic that is ALREADY created – and it draws traffic to your site – put up a quick form that requires an email address. Try it for a month and see what happens. Again, this is with a piece of content that may or may not be locked and available to members only. It can’t hurt to try and perhaps generate a few more prospects along the way. If it doesn’t work, lock it back up. And perhaps investigate the true value of that content. If no one thought it was valuable enough to provide an email address, perhaps it’s not as valuable as it seems!

Comment #3: We don’t have the resources to manage multiple log-ins, email systems, databases.

AMP Response: We recommend the KISS formula when just starting out with content marketing.* You don’t need to start with multi-variant testing and high-dollar marketing software platforms to start realizing the value of using content marketing.

Depending on your website platform, many sites such as WordPress and Drupal come with standard form generators. These are easy to set up and can be used for a short period of time to test how different pieces of content perform.

*KISS = keep it simple…

In our next blog, we will cover conversions. How can you convert prospects into members?