Tag Archives: blogs

The Power of Blogging for Associations

I work for a local trade association that is affiliated with a national association. A few times a year the national association hosts meetings at which all of its volunteer leaders get together to discuss the association’s business. Last week I attended one of those gatherings and sat through several committee meetings and general sessions, and at one of those sessions a staff member from the national organization excitedly described several new initiatives upon which they had embarked. Most of the announcements were good news for my organization and the other affiliates from around the country, but one was not so good – the service they were launching had the potential to compete with one of our services and have a negative impact on our income and to confuse our members/customers. I instantly messaged one of my counterparts from another affiliate to see if she felt the same way and she immediately replied with a strident YES!

This came to mind as I read the following excerpt from an article written by an association executive who is arguing that blogging is a powerful tool for associations:

As a member of several associations myself, I much prefer an association news stream that talks to me like a colleague and gives me updates on the good work (and sometimes risky experiments) that the association is doing to advance its mission and the industry it represents. The people closest to those projects should be reporting on them, not just describing the work they are doing, but the reasons certain decisions are made, and how they tie back to something that is of value to the members.

Blogging is a much better platform for this kind of communication. Using the traditional method, a staff person may work an entire year on launching a new product or service, and say nothing about it to the members until it’s ready to be sold to them. With blogging, the staff person can share information about the developing program throughout that year–its impetus, its initial framework, challenges it encounters along the way–all of it inviting and encouraging feedback that can be used to make it more attractive to members when it’s ready to launch.

As you might imagine I’ve always been a big fan of the blog as communication tool for an association, or any business for that matter. We’ve had one at our place for years, but until now I hadn’t really thought of the power of using it to communicate our “works in progress.” What a fantastic idea, if for no other reason than to avoid scenarios like the one I described above. Until now we’ve used our blog to cover industry news, share “members in the news” items and to promote some of our events, but I’m thinking we should use it to communicate some of our “skunk works” projects and, hopefully, get helpful feedback from our members.

A Tale of Two Cities

I live in Lewisville and I work in Greensboro for a trade association that works with companies throughout the 12 counties of the Piedmont Triad so you could say I live the whole "regionalism" thing.  Because I'm paid to stay on top of what's going on throughout the Triad I track the news in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Burlington, Mebane, etc. and every once in a while I'll notice an interesting contrast between the various municipalities.  Today after checking my news feed I came to the startling realization that if you went by the local blogs alone you'd have to believe that Greensboro is a graveyard for restaurants while Winston-Salem is experiencing a veritable renaissance of eateries.

From the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership blog in the last day or two:

Via Ed Cone's blog I found this post on 99 Blocks titled Vanishing Eateries – Can you help us out? about the restaurant closings in Greensboro.

As commenters at Ed's place pointed out the restaurant business is notoriously risky and in any given downtown you're going to see any number of restaurants come and go on a regular basis.  My point is that if you were to base your assessment of the health of these two cities' restaurant sectors on what you read online you'd think that the folks in Greensboro are going to all be burning up the travel lanes on westbound I-40 to get a decent meal. I know some folks in Winston-Salem who'd claim that's always been the case, but I'm here to tell you that there are some great places to eat in both cities.  If you feel like picking up the tab I'll be happy to take you on a tour.