Evolution or revolution – that’s the theme of this year’s MEMX16, the annual best practice conference dedicated to increased membership value and growth, takes place this Thursday.
Speakers come from organisations as diverse as the Association of Accounting technicians to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, with topics such as “Micro-learning – a new term for membership bodies to be aware of” to “Using events to drive deeper member engagement.”
I’ll be speaking on “Raise your profile, increase your influence: a practical guide to great PR for membership bodies.”
One of my messages will be that membership bodies should capitalise on the built-in advantage they have over many others when it comes to PR: namely that you are not trying to sell anything (try getting a regular stream of positive stories about widgets, for example).
What you do have is an abundance of one resource that news organisations with hours of airtime to fill and news websites with an insatiable need to constantly update their stories.
Watch any news bulletin, read any news report and you’ll see an experts quoted in virtually every one, as the objective voice who can give an unbiased overview of a particular topic.
You have hundreds of thousands of people – members and staff – who know their field inside out. And that is a fantastic resource for any PR department to have at their disposal.
Being membership organisations, rather than commercial outfits trying to sell something, your spokespeople will be seen as objective and therefore far more attractive and credible than anyone a private company could provide (even if they are a member who works for a business).
** Associated British Foods commenting on Mars announcement they are putting new warnings on food packaging – not ideal, if you’re a journalist. **
** Tom Smith, from the Food and Drink Federation (who happens to work for Associated British Foods) – great. **
Three main strands
As well as talking about using your expertise, my speech will cover three key areas:
- Creating an effective media strategy (of which building a team of expert commentators is just one part)
- Some inside tricks and techniques to help you get wider media coverage
- How to include your members in your strategy
If you want to find out more about how to get great PR for membership bodies, there are still tickets available for MEMX16. It is organised by the Memberwise Network, an independent professional networking group that provides practical help and support to over 3,900 membership organisation and association professionals based in the UK and overseas.