Professional associations – don’t get left behind!

By Fergus Stoddart, Commercial Director, Edge

What could Australia’s professional associations possibly learn from international media heavyweights, The Economist or Harvard Business Review? Surely the only common denominator is the audience – time-poor, content-hungry business professionals wanting to extract the most pertinent insights to get ahead?

Well, it’s actually more than that. There are key lessons and insights around the impressive ROI they’re reaping from their forward-thinking content engagement and digital bravery. Since making their sizable and courageous digital and multi-channel investments some years ago, Harvard Business Review has watched its web visitors soar from 100,000 per month to 4 million! Meanwhile, The Economist has engaged a whole new crowd – 77% of its digital subscribers have never had a print subscription.

Both iconic institutions are featured in an important new whitepaper launched this week for the professional association industry, in a bid to help Australian organisations reap the member engagement rewards available through strategic digital investment.

The whitepaper showcases 10 leaders from around the world, unearthing key trends and tactics around the various channels on offer – video marketing, social media, microsites, segmented e-newsletters and blogs. It is a must-read for professional associations and member-based organizations wanting to increase their member loyalty and advocacy, curate content and customisable interfaces, achieve instant and global distribution at no additional cost, monetise web traffic and garner valuable member insights.

The Economist and Harvard strategies are not only noteworthy examples, but absolutely pertinent for leaders and marketers of associations, as it’s their content and e-learning investments that are also increasingly crossing the boundaries into what has traditionally been association-led territory. As Harvard Business Review Joshua Macht says in the report: “Make no mistake, there is an inevitable move to digital. It’s coming at you and going to get you, so there’s no point in trying to ignore this if you want your publication to survive. If you push me, I would say that we will have a digital-only publication within 10 years.”

The research comes from industry thought leaders, strategic content marketing agency Edge, who are driving the content revolution in Australia. In the last few weeks, Edge has been short-listed for both an international and local ‘best specialist agency’ award, opened a Perth office and announced it has secured the hotly-contested contract for Institute of Public Accountants (IPA). As well as producing the highly-regarded ‘Public Accountant’ magazine, Edge will be building and managing a new online engagement hub for IPA members.

Edge Head of Digital Richard Parker will be guest tutor for ADMA’s first Content Marketing short course in October. Marketing and digital strategists, client and agency-side are encouraged to download the whitepaper at and also book into the short course, which is selling out fast.

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