Pinterest for Associations – Visual Content is Key

With travel budget cuts affecting your meeting attendance, engaging members year round with your association content is more important than ever.

Finding the right way to deliver educational content is critical, and more and more associations are taking advantage of social media sites to reach their members and attract new membership. Chances are if your association is doing this, Pinterest is already on your radar.

Pinterest is a popular virtual pinboard where users can bookmark all the fun and inspiring content they find on the Internet. But just because it’s popular, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your association.

3 Questions: Is Pinterest Right for Your Association?

  1. Do you have visually appealing content?
    Does your association have fun infographics, engaging eBooks and free on-demand webcasts to share? It may be the perfect time to consider making over the first page of your association eBooks, or the cover page of your white papers. If your content is extremely text heavy, stick to Twitter and LinkedIn. Pinterest is all about creating a visual representation of your association content.
  2. Do you have somewhere to link out to that makes sense?
    Remember… You’re dealing with visual learners, so you don’t want to send them to a page with long paragraphs and little white space. Make sure you’re linking your “pinned” content out to visually appealing websites.
  3. Are your members using Pinterest?
    If your current members aren’t using the new social platform, chances are your target market isn’t either. Make sure the social sites you are choosing to present your association on are the ones where new membership can find you. But remember, just because your members aren’t using Pinterest or other social media sites today, doesn’t mean they won’t be using them in the future. Keep these social sites on your radar.

If you’re still not sure if Pinterest is the right social media platform for you (or maybe you’re a visual learner who needs an infographic rather than a blog article to decide), check out this decision tree by Column Five Media and published by Intuit : Should Your Business Be On Pinterest?

Infographic – How to Put Conference Materials Online

Associations understand the importance of putting their session materials, proceedings and other annual meeting content online in order to remain relevant to members and to attract new members.

I know what you’re thinking… “But what is the right way to put conference materials online?”

To answer the question: it depends. (Don’t roll your eyes yet!)

Are you trying to create a year-round online community for attendees to interact? Do you want to become more discoverable by major search engines? Do you need accreditation?

Follow along on this infographic to discover the right way for your association to put conference content online.

Click to zoom, or here is a print-friendly version.

conference handouts websites

How should your association be putting conference materials online?

Share it with your co-workers and friends by clicking one of the social links below.

 

Association Update: Now 1 in 5 American Adults Own a Tablet

Whether you like it or not, your association’s publications are trickier to convert into an eBook format than John Grisham’s latest novel. Complex tables, graphics and mathematical formulas can often be a bit of a challenge in the conversion process.

But, that is no excuse for your association to avoid this “whole eBook trend.”

… eBooks are here to stay!

3 Reasons eBooks are Here to Stay

  1. eBooks are being offered in libraries .
    In a recent article on NorthJersey.com, it was stated, “With the rise in popularity of e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad and Nook from Barnes & Noble, local libraries are seeing a major increase in the demand for e-books, but there’s not enough of a supply of them.” With demand increasing, local libraries are now putting more focus on their digital collections. But, the pressure for eBooks will not just be on local libraries, if you’re association isn’t feeling the heat yet, it will soon.
  2. Tablet owners nearly doubled over the 2012 holiday season.
    In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the number of tablet owners nearly doubled after the 2012 holiday season. Now 1 in 5 (19%) of American Adults own a tablet. As tablet sales increase, so will the number of requests for your association’s educational publications and conference proceedings to be offered in eBook format.
  3. eReader technology is only getting better.
    In the same study by The Pew Research Center, while they didn’t mention the most popular tablet, they did attribute the surge in tablet sales on the release of the new Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablet. According to a recent article on CNET, Amazon has been reluctant to give away sales figures, but analysts have estimated Amazon shipped nearly 4 million Kindle Fires during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Association Content Delivery is Critical

Your association’s educational content is what drives growth and keeps you relevant to your members. Providing that valuable content in the format your members want is just as critical as the content itself.

If you aren’t providing your eReading members your educational publications and other association content in an eBook format, someone else will.

Where do eBooks fit in your content strategy for 2012?

 

BTW – We’ve created “The Omnipress Guide to Association eBooks” to help our customers understand the conversion and distribution processes. You can check it out in the Customer Tools section of our website.

 

Is Your Association Attracting Generation Y Membership?

In the words of Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changin’.”

I’m not sure if Bob Dylan was intending for his 1964 hit to reference associations, but it’s fitting, isn’t it?

Recently, Steve Manicor and Tracy Gundert sat amongst other association professionals at the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives (WSAE) meeting where a hot topic was the changing demographic in associations. Networking and educational content were big talking points, and here I’ve mixed in my Generation Y perspective.

Associations are Facing a Shift in Demographics

If we look at associations today, it’s becoming clearer that the median age of members is continuing to rise. In order for associations to continue to grow, it’s important to start looking at ways to attract the next generation.

The problem with attracting Generation Y is that we are of a different breed. As a “Gen Y-er,” I can attest I need more than a face-to-face annual meeting with keynote speakers and a printed manual to join your association.

As you know, networking and educational content remain critical to attracting new members, but technology and the generation gap have complicated things.

Networking Isn’t Just Face-to-Face Anymore

Are you providing your members with a place to network year-round? Are you leveraging your association on Twitter and other social media sites?

Networking remains an important factor in gaining new members, but the way we network has evolved greatly. Networking isn’t just face-to-face anymore, and Generation Y loves to “Facebook stalk.” Before we meet new people face-to-face, we like to check them out on social media and learn about their interests. Whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or a conference website, it’s important for associations to provide a place for their members to engage, network and, of course, “Facebook stalk.”

Face-to-Face Meetings Have Evolved, Too

Are your annual meetings educational and fun?

If you’re still holding your annual meeting in outdated session rooms of older convention halls with the buzzing fluorescent lights, metal chairs and one-way speaker communication, you’re risking your members being uncomfortable, bored and not engaged. The associations attracting Generation Y members are leveraging breakout sessions, themed events, social gaming and different presentation formats such as pecha kucha, fish bowls and so forth. It’s about the attendee experience.

How Findable is Your Educational Content?

How are you leveraging your association content to attract new members? How are you making sure they are finding your content on the internet? How are you making your content more usable and shareable?

Access is critical! A printed conference program is no longer sufficient. To keep Generation X and Y happy, you now need a printed program, a conference flash drive chock full of speaker presentations, session handouts available online before, during and after the meeting (don’t forget about Wi-Fi and mobile-friendly access!) AND an eBook. (Ok, so you may not need ALL of these, but member expectations are rising in regards to what they are getting for their money.)

Consulting your crystal ball won’t help. Understanding how members and attendees want to receive your association’s educational content is not a guessing game. The key is to ask members what they want, provide options and be multifaceted.

Generation Y Learned Differently

We aren’t trying to be a pain in your association – This is how Generation Y learned!

In college, we learned through two-way discussion sessions and watched streaming presentations. We bought printed course books and study guides, but we also were required to read scholarly journals online (that we didn’t have to search for far and wide on the internet).

We network online. We spend more time on social media websites networking than we’d like to admit. We use Facebook and LinkedIn to build relationships and share information just to stay connected. If we know we’re going to meet someone new, we like to connect with them ahead of time online.

And guess what – My Generation X boss feels the same way.

So while you listen to some Bob Dylan, talk to us on Twitter!
How is your association attracting new Generation Y membership? #omnipress