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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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No need for a net: catch your audience where they already are

Posted by Sarah Hill

Ever post a blog or have an event to promote and you think, "If only I could catch that person with a net and make them sit here and listen to me! We'd both be happy! They need this information and I need them to have it!"

There's an easy solution there: go to where your target audience gets their news.

But every few years the same article circulates on social media: “Nobody’s getting their news in this place anymore… they’re all somewhere else!”

The fact that this story keeps resurfacing year after year with different headlines indicates that there probably isn’t a definitive answer as to where people are getting their information.

Let’s take a look at the big available mediums and figure out where your members are, so you don't need to run after them with a net. Then we’ll break down the pros and cons for reaching out to your audience by that outlet.

Fishing Net Scoop Net

1)   Television

TV used to be a “fad” and finally, 60 years later, we’re 100% on board. But TV is changing. Most of the "fatherly" news broadcasters of the early days of TV news are gone, and reality TV doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but up.

The case for: Practically everyone watches TV somehow. The chances you’ll hit your target are very, very good.

The case against: Online streaming TV websites such as Hulu are making a big splash, and availability of TV shows online and through services like Netflix are threatening cable subscriptions. Also keep in mind that when it comes to a lot of news outlets, your story has to have a certain appeal to be shared. Check out my blog on media releases to see what I mean.

 

2)   Radio

Radio is another front that’s changing, but probably isn’t going anywhere. Despite years of content sharing and copyright infringement battles, the web consumer hungry for free music and the record companies seem to have struck a balance with Internet radio. 

The case for: Radio ads can be fairly inexpensive, and think about how often YOU listen to the radio in one format or another. Also, there are a ton of local stations and talk radio broadcasters who need content including a lot of business-related daytime shows.

The case against: It takes some time and know-how to put together a radio ad, and they can be unfocused from a target-audience standpoint, unless you happen to know for a fact that all of your members are country music fans.

 

3)   Newspapers

It’s sad, but true that newspapers are on the decline. I doubt they’ll ever go away entirely, but many papers are (wisely, in my opinion) adopting a hybrid print and online format (the Christian Science Monitor, for one) and a few others have unfortunately closed up shop for good.

The case for: Most big newspapers, while reformatting and changing, won’t go away entirely. Or, if they do, it will be a lot further down the road once everyone has a tablet. There are still readers. If you spread your message in the paper, you’ll still get eyeballs.

The case against: There’s no instant connection with an actual newspaper. If a person reads an ad or story about your organization you have to count on them to write it down or tear it out, remember it, and follow up when he or she has time. Also, the average newspaper reader tends to be in the mid-to-late 50s. Does that fit your target demographic?

 

4)   Social Media and other online space

This one is a no-brainer. Literally all of the other platforms are being pushed to the online area, and I know if you’re involved in a small business or association you’re being pounded over the head with this message constantly.

The case for: If you tap into any of the other mentioned mediums, you’ll wind up online somewhere. It’s hard to avoid. Social media is free, and even though the audience isn’t quite up to “everyone” it’s up to “pretty darn huge.”

One thing to remember: There really isn’t a case against here. The only caution is that you can post on a website or social media from dawn until dusk, but you have to draw people to your profiles/website first. It’s a catch-22: you need people to have thriving content, but you need great content to get people. My advice is to invest a little time in both content and driving readers/viewers each day and you’ll reach your goals.

 

Information consumption is slippery. If you feel like you’re chasing your audience around trying to put your message in front of them, you’re not alone. But the fact is that if you’re broadcasting to an empty room, so to speak, you won’t get any results. Ask your members where they are, even in casual conversation. Then go there, and share your messages!

Topics: social media for associations, event planning

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