[Infographic] Rising from the COVID Era of Free Content

By Chris Gloede and Tracy Talbot • January 19, 2021

Membership value is realized through four pillars: cause, community, communications, and content. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many associations substantially changed their content pillar, adopting virtual formats, eliminating membership access requirements, and reducing fees. Notably, virtual education and virtual conferences were commonly available to registrants for no charge.

Intentional changes to the membership content pillar brought unintentional changes to the value of association membership. To support associations facing content-related revenue setbacks, we developed a Roadmap to Recovery white paper with guidance for a route through this time of great change.

Our research shows that 84% of associations opened previously-protected research to the public during the pandemic, with valuable education and web resources suddenly provided for free and important revenue streams eliminated.

These eight content strategy markers can help guide your journey:

  • Agility: Encourage the entrepreneurial culture developed during the pandemic.
  • Mission: Use mission as a guidepost when adapting content to expanded audiences.
  • Proposition: Understand content needs of new audiences through analytics and research.
  • Potential: Identify high-value content by measuring popular products and services.
  • Virtualization: Revisit virtual technologies and processes made under pressing deadlines.
  • Messages: Update repetitive messages, especially automated and transactional emails.
  • Paywall: Update paywall strategy after reviewing recent COVID-related paywall exceptions.
  • Pricing: Review content pricing, especially virtual events and online education in high demand.

Content Roadmap to Recovery HeroOur eight-point guide shares our full content roadmap context and details for all of our content strategy points. While the road ahead remains unpredictable, associations have the power to transform through innovation. With rich content, associations have the opportunity to meet member needs and fortify their business models with enduring value.


About The Author

Chris Gloede is the Chief Consultant for Ricochet Advisory Services, a consultancy serving professional associations. Chris helps associations leverage modern marketing technologies and strategies to build stronger connections to prospects, clients, and members. Previously, Chris was the first Chief Marketing Officer of the American Bar Association where he created a culture of innovation, helped the organization recover from the recession, and reversed decades of membership decline.

About The Author

Tracy Talbot served as McKinley Advisors’ Senior Vice President for Marketing, where she helped associations expand marketing capacity and optimize resources. From organizational marketing strategies to program, product or conference campaigns, Tracy and her team provided clients with the needed resources and guidance to modernize associations’ marketing efforts. Tracy provided full-service marketing solutions as well as revenue-generating and audience building campaigns specific to virtual events, in-person conferences, credentials, and membership conversion.