Become the trusted information source for your industry

Beth Farrar

August 19, 2021

    Who can you trust for information these days?

    Research sources (if you trust them) show that the American public distrusts common information sources: According to Pew Research Center, Americans’ trust in the federal government is at near historic lows. According to Gallup, Americans remain distrustful of mass media as well, with 60 percent saying their trust and confidence in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly” is “not very much” or “none at all”.

    While these statistics might seem disheartening, they point to a bright opportunity for your association. As a member-based organization, your association can be THE trusted resource for information in your industry or profession.

    Because your association already focuses on your industry, you likely have access to the latest news, papers, research, and insights for your industry. So, becoming the go-to source for industry information is more about getting that content into the hands of your members when and how they need it.

    Three effective ways to become the trusted source of information in your industry

    Provide a one-stop-shop for information sharing.

    You can become a part of your members’ daily habits by providing an online member community where members can find industry information and share ideas with each other and your organization. Some key elements for a successful online member community:

    A modern online member community platform – Look for technology that supports a modern experience, with tools that help you share information, including:

    • A quick announcement area – to highlight important information, such as newly-available industry reports.
    • A social networking feed – so members can view and comment on relevant content.
    • Dashboards and analytics – so you can keep an eye on member activities to better understand trending topics and what types of information members want.
    • Valuable content – Make sure your online community offers members important information, such as details about professional development, the latest reports on industry best practices, and new insights from industry thought leaders.
    • Marketing – Access to your online member community as a “hub” for information in your industry is a major selling point for joining and staying with your organization. Be sure to promote your online community’s benefits in your member recruitment and onboarding activities.

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    Offer year-round learning opportunities.

    For your members to stay in the know about your industry, they need to be well-educated. Be sure to include learning opportunities in your meetings and conferences. At the same time, it’s important to engage members in a variety of year-round learning opportunities to address members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.

    For example, offer live and on-demand webinars on a variety of relevant topics all year long.

    Expand your online career center.

    If you think about your online career center as simply a place for job postings, you’re missing out on an opportunity to give members more of the trusted information they want. Your online career center should offer a wealth of career advancement information and resources, including:

    • Career pathing tools – Help your members see a clear roadmap to reach their professional goals, with an online tool that helps them visualize the steps needed to move from the job they have today to their dream career.
    • Career insights – Give your members detailed data, including salary, education and skills requirements, activities performed, outlooks for job growth, related jobs, and more, to help members make informed career decisions.
    • Articles, tips, and recommendations – Offer articles and other content including résumé writing tips, interview techniques, job search ideas, and tips on social networking.

    As the public remains distrustful of typical news and information sources, make sure your association is there for your members with content they can trust, available in convenient formats. Put the approaches in this article to work, and you’ll be well on your way to being the ultimate place to find trusted information in your industry.

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