How To Find Content Ideas


Asking members and donors is often a starting point for many associations when it comes to deciding what to develop next. Here is some wisdom from Elizabeth Engel Weaver at Spark about asking what your audience wants.


“In the association space, we do a lot of research with our members, we do a lot of surveys, we do a lot of trying to find out what’s going on with them, and that’s all great and really important, but we tend to ask the wrong questions, and one of the questions we’re really fond of asking is what do you want? And people don’t really know. ... I can't picture what the possibilities might be out there, and asking me to do that is kind of unfair. It’s not really my job as a professional in whatever industry or profession the association happens to be serving.

... We ask that question, and then we don't get much by way of response and then we’re really disappointed and we get into this bad cycle around that: ‘Oh well, we asked people what they wanted, and nobody said anything, so I guess we’re doing fine.’ ... (If an) association were killing it and were doing an amazing job, every single person who is in any way connected with our profession or industry would join, and we’d have as close to 100 percent retention as one could reasonably get, and everything would be fine and groovy and dandy all of the time. Very few associations are in that place, so then the question becomes, how do we get better information out of people?” 

Based on Elizabeth’s feedback, we need to do the thinking for our members to identify what they need and which topics to develop. Spending time thoughtfully choosing the right topics will have large returns when your audience reads, engages and follows through with the call to action in your association’s content.

As Elizabeth says, there are two key questions:

  • “What are your most important goals in your profession or industry that you’re having trouble achieving?”
  • “What are the problems you’re having on a day-to-day process that you can’t seem to solve?”

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