Should we offer non-members periodic information from the association?

Every association offers member communications such as a newsletter, magazine or email-based publication. But should your association also be producing a publication for people who are not members of your association? The answer for your association is probably yes, for three reasons:

1) Almost every association has an external audience that is important. This may be the media, government staff, legislators, potential customers of your members, or prospective members.

2) At least some of these external audiences may appreciate receiving information from your association. Depending on the audience, they may wish to receive periodic association news updates, highlights of important industry issues, tips on working with members of your profession, or alerts on important legislative issues.

3) Most of the information that you will share with these external audiences doesn’t need to be created from scratch by your association. Instead, it may be that most of the information is merely a subset of your current association member communication.

The only audience that you don’t want to share too much member information with is prospective association members. But giving prospective members a taste of what they can expect as members can be an excellent marketing tool for your association.

If you’re not sure there is a demand for your association’s information among one or more external audience, there is no better way to find out than testing. Create a sign-up form for one or more of these external audiences on your association web site. Place the link in logical places such as your press area or prospective member area. As requests come in over time, you may find there truly is a significant demand for your association’s information. Even better, your association may build credibility and influence with your external audiences, be they the media, legislators, potential customers of your members, or prospective members.

Does your association offer email newsletter to any external audiences? How much additional work is required?

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