#1 The ‘issue’ mindset is on its way out – get creative!

The concept of an issue comes from the print mindset, particularly the monthly issue. We can’t expect members to behave the same way in the digital environment and await the digital monthly issue going live as eagerly as they did the print issue dropping onto their doormat.

The Economist are a good example of reaching out this way. They have a range of monthly and weekly editions, but their newest (award-winning) app release is ‘Espresso’, which delivers a ‘shot’ of 5 news stories each morning. This encourages daily engagement with the app, and is specifically targeting morning commuters.

This newsletter-type delivery is how everyone is engaging with digital. Imagine if Facebook worked by delivering a digital bundle of all your friend’s updates once a month to your phone – it would be overwhelming! Little and often is a good approach to take when thinking about re-inventing digital ‘issues’.

For membership organisations, content can come from many sources to help keep the continuous updates trickily through. It may not need to be just magazine content but could be content already prepared for the usual e-mail updates, website news, blogs, industry reports, research papers, forthcoming events and social media stories.

#2 Users are expecting a lot more from digital

This point can seem a little overwhelming when many membership organisations and their publishers are struggling to find their feet in the digital world, but it is an important point to bear in mind for the next year or two.

This point can seem a little overwhelming when many membership organisations and their publishers are struggling to find their feet in the digital world, but it is an important point to bear in mind for the next year or two.

We have recently seen a client of ours use personalisation to turn their digital app strategy around. TES segment their digital audience into seven streams which each deliver focused and relevant articles. At a recent conference, TES used their media partnership to drive a special stream of conference-themed articles and commentary to delegates on a dedicated login.

Giving users the ability to control a personalised feed of topics has further driven engagement amongst teachers and readers of TES. This approach could be extremely useful to membership organisations to provide additional benefits to higher level or high-value members. ‘Digital Packages’ can be provided, or sold, which offer premium experiences to members, such as webinars, training and CPD.

Personalisation is not a new concept in itself, but TES shows that it can be done with very little effort or extra writing. Apps are approaching the next stage where they can be places full of relevant articles, CPD, breaking news and traditional issues.

Carefully targeting content that many organisations are already producing is a clever way of adding value to your digital content and can be done through just one app.

#3 Experiment with social channels

Huge strides have been made this year with social, and everyone seems eager to get a slice of the publishing pie. There is increasing recognition in the media industry that people are spending 90% of their time on mobile in just 3 or 4 apps, and these are usually social apps such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

The power of social certainly shouldn’t be dismissed – Facebook is proving it can take on Google as the top referrer to publisher’s sites.


We know for many membership organisations this is an unfamiliar landscape, and understandably, caution needs to be taken before jumping straight in. However, using social to distribute is (for the most part) completely free, and is worth spending a time and effort experimenting with.

Social always comes with a health warning, and using social channels just for the sake of it will not produce successful results. Membership organisations must consider what content is going out and what they hope to achieve on each platform. There is no substitute for developing a clear social media strategy which should sit alongside, and integrated to, their mobile member first strategy.

These are 3 very different points, but are hopefully useful in addressing some of the digital communication challenges that membership organisations are facing. Get in touch with us – we’d be happy to talk these over or offer advice!

timTim has been working with membership organisations to develop their digital marketing and member communication strategies for many years. He’s recently joined our team and is ready to help you reach your members in new ways.

Call Tim on 0207 183 3695 or drop him an email to talk over any issues you may be facing.

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