Association ManagementCreativeMember Engagement

Use Layers to Formulate Your Communications Plan

How does your association communicate with its members? Newsletter? Magazine? Facebook? Videos? Nowadays, the options are endless and it’s hard to know where your members are looking. And who’s got time to create something for each of those different communication platforms?

When it comes to tailoring messages, start with a foundation – something that is strong and forms the base for different communication platforms. A strong foundation is your core message – the most important thing you want your association members to know.

Then think of your plan in layers. The first piece of information could be brief and to the point – such as a “Save the Date!” message about the upcoming annual meeting. If possible incorporate an electronic email calendar aspect to this first message so that your members can get it on their busy schedules.

Then build upon the “Save the Date!” with something more substantial that packs a lot of punch. This should include your core message, or theme, which will be carried through to the other layers of your communication plan. And don’t forget the who, what, where, when, and how.

While it’s important to keep the core message at the center of your campaign, don’t be afraid to have fun as you’re adding layers to the information. This will keep your members engaged. On social media, you could get members to provide testimonials about the benefits of attending the annual meeting. Or, even better, ask them to post a picture of themselves at last year’s meeting. Offer a prize for the best testimonial or picture, such as half off an annual meeting ticket, a prime seat at the President’s table, or a drink ticket.

Although it’s difficult to know where individual members look for information, it’s safe to say it should be available in three places – on at least one social media platform, website, and in a newsletter (print or digital).

  • Social media: These messages should be short and include a link to the website so that everyone can get more information and register. Video messages are extremely effective on this platform to promote your event. Try to draft a well-known association member for videos, as your members will be drawn to someone they know.
  • Website: Drive people here for detailed information, to register, and for last-minute changes. Your home page is your front door, so make sure there’s an inviting invitation to your event.
  • Newsletter: Articles (digital or print) are longer and more detailed. Make sure to let people know to go to your social media accounts or website for last-minute changes.
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