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Top 13 #Association Posts on @GreenfieldSrvcs Blog in 2013

The team here at Greenfield is busy wrapping up the year.  We have been truly lucky to work with great organizations this year, learn new skills, and have the opportunity to contribute to the industry through our research and the knowledge shared on the Membership Engagement Blog.

In the spirit of sharing, we thought we would wrap up 2013 with a re-cap of our top-read blog posts this year - and we dug through our stats to put them in order of popularity:

  1. #Association Goals & Objectives [Infographic]:  Our first infographic on the Membership Engagement Blog, this post showcased some key statistics derived from our 2013 Pulse Report on Membership Marketing & Engagement practices.  This infographic highlights key goals, and key concerns based on the associations who responded.
  2. Are You Using Social Media to Engage Members?  This post was inspired by research and whitepapers produced by Avectra, a US-based provider to associations.  In this post, we encouraged an understanding that "the true value of social media investment comes from figuring out how many of those followers - or fans, connections, private online community members - are engaged in ways that align with your association's goals.  
  3. Smart & Steady Wins the Race: This post was inspired by Shelly Alcorn, CAE.  Her original post suggested that when times get tough, association executives' narrow their focus to looking for the one solution that will solve all their problems.  In contrast, we encouraged a smart and steady alternative (other than slow & steady - does that even exist anymore!) - by understanding what your members need and want, building reliable revenue sources, and adding secondary revenue streams.  
  4. Social Media Marketing - So Much More Than Just Technology: this post I believe hit home with our readers because it talks about creating strategies that are thoughtful, strategic, authentic and engaging versus jumping in hoping it works.
  5. Using Twitter for Events - Part 1: Preparation - my colleague Gwynydd Murray, our Social Media Coordinator, created this three-part series.  In Part 1, Gwyn encourages association's to truly be prepared for social media at events, including hard copies of important info, event hastags, and a low-tech contingency.  
  6. Where to Look for Member Engagement:  This post recommends that we recognize the opportunity that is just beyond our reach, and allocate our resources accordingly.  Communication & member engagement models are changing fast, and the future belongs to associations that can make the transition.  
  7. Using SEO to Make Your Website Searchable:  my colleague Jeff Chabot, our Web & E-Marketing Coordinator, created this post.  Jeff talks about what SEO is, and what it can do for your online brand.  He also suggests five things that associations can look at to increase their SEO ranking.
  8. Using Twitter for Events - Part 2: Mastering Your Tools - Gwyn's second post highly recommends that we don't just install the app to our smartphone and start tweeting.  Instead, we should become well versed in what the app can and cannot do, and prepare for it.  
  9. How to Listen to Your Members All Year Round:  In this post, we talk about member surveys.  While they are great for benchmarking, a continuous conversation is needed to truly listen and engage members today.  Social media can help - and we have offered up six steps to build your online presence into the continuous conversation that you and your members need.
  10. Effective Associations: Making Your Conference a Powerhouse - in this post, we talk about what it takes to make your conference the powerhouse it deserves to be - by getting participants to the table, giving participants what matters most, and the investment that matches the return.
  11. Declutter Your Communications with Your Members in Mind:  This post was inspired by Naylor LLCs study on communications.  They reported that most associations are pre-occupied with cutting through the clutter, but they are unclear on their strategy on how this will happen.  Our response to this study supported their findings in this post.
  12. Using Twitter for Events: Part 3 - Engagement:  In Gwyn's final post in her three part series, she talks strategically about using Twitter, and reminds us all that Twitter exists to engage; before, during and after the event.
  13. A Dangerous Disconnect on Member Retention:  Our final post in the top 13 discussed the strategy and marketing around member retention.  For the second year in a row, our Pulse Report showed that associations lack staff, strategy and resources to conduct a well-rounded retention marketing campaign.  

We hope that you enjoyed reading our thoughts and opinions on our blog this year.  Thank you all for your continued support!  We wish you all the very best this holiday season; we look forward to engaging with you in the New Year!

Top 13 blogs of 2013

2013 was a year of great blogs, opening the doors to great education opportunities.  Here are my top 13 blogs from this year:

  1. Mitchell Beer’s post on the Content Marketing Lifecycle encourages organizations to take a step back and really work the research and information they have to share.  He provides us with six questions to determine what an association’s content lifecycle could be.
  2. Don’t Poke the Meeting Feedback Bear Unless You’re Willing to Act. This has been the subject of many conversations I have had this year.  Why ask about the food when you can do a better job at getting feedback on the content of the meeting or conference?  Donna Kastner says it so well here.
  3. This year, I was thrilled to come across Daniel Varroney, a consultant based in the US.  His blog has been extremely informative.  One of my personal favorites is “Can Silos Stunt Association Revenue Growth?” – the short answer is yes, but this blog both explains the dangers, and what you can do about it.
  4. As Jeff Hurt’s “unofficial #1 fan” – I always include a post of his.  And while there are so many to choose from, “5 Conference Conditions that Lead to Attendee Focused Attention” is my favourite  with his advice to increase the attention span of your conference delegates.
  5. Ever wonder what Gen X & Y need to trust you?  Sarah Sladek provides us with six ways you can build trust.   My personal favorite is about work-life balance.
  6. Personal connections still remain one of the best ways to keep sponsors, clients, and members loyal.  AllĂ©e Creative talks about this – and ways to implement on social media, in this post.
  7. To share or not to share?  This blog sparked some great conversations online, all about non-members and sharing your associations’ info.  Thanks to Associations Now for starting the discussion!
  8. How is your organization pitching your membership?  Membership180 shares five different ways associations pitch to non-members.  I really like the second point about “diffusing the objection” and explaining how an organization’s value goes far beyond networking events.
  9. The Infographic produced by Socious “The Anatomy of a Private Online Member Community” was full of great information.  It shows you the various steps of strategy, features and community building it takes to be successful.  
  10. Avectra produced a blog earlier this year on the skills needed to be a membership professional. The short answer is that it takes a lot of skills, but there is a breakdown.  Being a membership professional is not for everyone, but this can certainly be a great way to build your skill set!
  11. Putting the strategy into strategic planning by my friend Meredith Low is another great post. She is constantly challenging the status quo, and encouraging organizations not to be generic when they are trying to be strategic.  
  12. Virtual Inc.’s Association Management Blog posted a great article by Andy Freed on why professional associations’ need a strategic plan - right now.  Strategic planning should not be an annual effort, but should be looked at quarterly, especially with emerging technologies and changing member needs happening frequently.  
  13. Social Tables rounds out the top blogs I have seen this year with their two-part series on event marketing to Millennials.  With this generation, email, online and social media are in, and print & direct mail are out.  Check out their tips and best practices in part 1 & part 2 of this series.

What were your favourite posts this year?

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Greenfield Director, Meagan Rockett, to speak CSAE Trillium Winter Summit

Greenfield Services' Meagan Rockett will be speaking at the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) Trillium Chapter Winter Summit on January 31, 2014 in London, Ontario.

“A Lost Opportunity? Membership is Declining and We Need to Pay Attention” is the subject of the session where Rockett will report on key statistics from Greenfield's latest Pulse Report on the membership marketing and engagement practices of Canadian associations.

Participant outcomes include:
- Opportunity to discuss the key findings of the study;
- Identify areas for improvement and appropriate strategies in these key areas;
- Peer exchange and discussion amongst of strategies that have worked

For more information on the Winter Summit, or to register, please click here, or download a copy of the Greenfield Pulse report here.

Meagan looks forward to joining other esteemed speakers at this conference, and helping Canadian association executives with ways to work through membership engagement issues!