Association Content: Recycling Isn’t Just for Saving the Planet

By Nikole TenBrink, CAE • June 27, 2018

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” doesn’t just apply to saving the planet. Associations can also employ a similar concept when it comes to their content.

At RIMS (the Risk and Insurance Management Society), we know that more than 60 percent of our members join for access to information and to increase their risk management knowledge. Therefore, we put forth a significant effort to produce cutting-edge content and research for them. However, we also know that our members don’t always read everything we send them. This provides a great reason to recycle content – they may have missed it the first time around. Or, they may not have been interested in a particular topic at the time it was published. Or, maybe we posted it on social media and some members don’t really do the Twitter thing. Either way, there are dozens of reasons that members may miss out on content that associations produce.

Since we know our members are thirsty for knowledge, here are some ways that RIMS has recently re-utilized existing content:

Re-construct it

RIMS Risk Management Magazine cover Global Perspective
RIMS publishes 10 issues of our Risk Management magazine annually, each with about 15 feature articles. That’s an average of 150 pieces of content on a variety of topics each year, with years of archives on file.

RIMS publishes 10 issues of our Risk Management magazine annually, each with about 15 feature articles. That’s an average of 150 pieces of content on a variety of topics each year, with years of archives on file. Since it’s not a news magazine, the articles tend to have a longer lifespan. Three years ago, in a last minute effort to provide event attendees with a takeaway, we decided to pull together several previously published articles related to the event theme. The effort resulted in a “mini-magazine,” with relevant articles that required minimal resources to assemble. Event delegates received additional value, and previously used  pieces were brought to life once again. We now do this for most of our events as a standard practice. Don’t have a large magazine archive? You can use blog posts, extracts from white papers or research that you may produce.

Re-format it

When it comes to providing content, there is no guaranteed mechanism that will ensure everyone consumes it. Adult learners have limited time, so they are selective when it comes to what they choose to access. When we have a topic that we know will be popular, we will reuse the content in multiple formats. We may take a white paper and turn it into a podcast. Or, we will host a webinar and then create a white paper based on the presentation. At our events, we have the opportunity to video some of the educational sessions. In the months following, we release those edited videos as standalone content pieces. There are many ways to reproduce your content offerings by using one topic with multiple formats.

Re-purpose it

RIMS Risk Management Magazine cover Cybersecurity
Risk Management content ends up in a searchable digital library that members can access any time. It is also re-promoted to prospective members or to non-members as part of event promotion.

Typically, RIMS will release a new publication via email, website, social media, a news release and advertising channels. But, what happens after it is no longer new? For RIMS, our content ends up in our digital library along with thousands of other pieces. It’s still available and searchable, but realistically, if we aren’t pushing it out it’s not getting visibility. One way RIMS re-purposes content is in our promotional efforts. We’ve taken members-only content that is no longer “new” (but still holds value), and offer it as an incentive for prospects to become members, or for nonmembers to register for an event. It requires fewer resources to review and update existing articles than to develop new  ones. Re-purposing also helps our association to build awareness with non-member audience segments. We just need to be selective about how much we share in order to maintain that member value proposition.

Re-distribute it

Associations pay very close attention to current events relevant to their membership. Our role is to equip our members with the resources and information they need to do their jobs more effectively. RIMS is constantly on the lookout for opportunities where we can align our existing resources with current events. For example, it’s reported that the job market is up, so RIMS sends a reminder that we have a compensation study available for risk professionals. A large bank/retailer/health system has a cyber breach, and RIMS sends its members its resources on how they can help their organizations institute best practices in cyber risk. While this already exists, members may not recall it (or may not have seen it at all).

Most associations have a stockpile of content. Though some if it may no longer be relevant, there may be some opportunity to do some updating and apply one of the above concepts. Members often need prompting to visit your website or read a new piece of content – they appreciate our efforts to re-distribute it at just the right time.

About The Author

Nikole TenBrink, CAE is the vice president for membership and marketing with RIMS, the Risk Management Society.