3 Reasons to Invest in Member Stories
Updated: Sep. 10, 2019 | Categories: Membership
People are inundated with information. To keep your organization one step ahead of others with similar offerings, you need highly interesting, relevant ways to provide value. Storytelling is an effective tool for demonstrating your chapter’s impact to members, prospects, and your industry. Studies show that this approach to information sharing is more engaging and easier to relate to than pure data, general information, and those “we did this” kinds of statements.
Case studies or case stories, member spotlights, member success stories, whatever you call them, combine information and emotion, and provide real world examples of things your organization has accomplished, told by those who’ve done it.
These types of content provide:
Credibility & thought leadership: It’s wonderful to be able to say your organization helps members get continuing information credits, meet great people, and advance in their careers. But when members discuss what they’ve gotten from being members or their specific role in getting legislation passed, readers are more apt to believe your organization does what it says it does, because they’re hearing how others are personally affected by what you do.
Information directed to specific audiences: Each piece of your content resonates better with some audiences than others, so stories allow you to better segment that content. Find people in your organization who can talk about the same issue, like why they became a member and how being a member has helped with their career, from different perspectives.
Opportunities for spinoff content: From one story, you can develop multiple pieces of content, like blogs, white papers, etc. that drill down into the topic and other topics mentioned in the story. Use that new content to drive additional traffic to your website and additional interest in your chapter.
An Example of Stories in Marketing
A local chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) prides itself on its diverse membership, welcoming marketers in many disciplines at different points in their careers. As marketers, storytelling is a key piece of their communication plan, and, says Dov Hoffman, AMA vice president of programming and past president, “We can personalize and tailor our content to meet people where they are. Providing it in this format gets us away from one-size-fits-all programming.”
AMA uses member success stories in their marketing and member engagement campaigns. With three tiers of stories—seasoned professional/long-term member, new graduate/new in career, and someone in the middle—members and prospects at different points in their careers learn from members just like them.
The chapter leverages these pieces in their marketing – email campaigns, newsletter, and in social media – and more intimately, in one-on-one conversations with current and prospective members. Once they understand the person they’re talking to, they respond with the appropriate, tailored piece of content, which, Dov says, shares “a more relevant story and provides value.”
Jessica Lewis, AMA member and volunteer, and one of their story writers, sums up how their stories benefit members, prospects, and the entire AMA chapter:
Prospective members can see if the AMA is right for them and the type of value AMA will provide. Members can see profiles on other AMA members, for a deeper sense of the types of people they can network with. And, for the organization, it reinforces that our members are engaged and involved in their industries.
Stories paint robust, emotional pictures of your organization. There’s a strong chance your members would love to share their own stories with members and prospects. Capitalize on that feeling and get your own members to show how and why they value your organization.