Tuesday, June 28, 2016
COPA Digital Media Spotlight -Association websites/publications for B2B Advertising
In my opinion, content marketing has its roots with associations that produce content for their members as a form of industry branded content, as their views are not typically neutral like traditional media.

It has been estimated that there are 18,000 associations in 1,500 subject classifications in the Associations Canada directory. To attract members, a magazine subscription has been used as an anchor for the member recruitment package. This has evolve in the digital age to include a website, newsletter and digital and print versions of the magazine. Through the use of digital editions, many associations have saved on the printing and distribution of a print magazine with digital opt-in at 20-40% of the member lists.

As a media planner I have always liked association publications for B2B campaigns, as the audience is equivalent to a paid audience and each firm must be a member to get the magazine. I can also target by vertical market and there are a lot of industry associations to choose.

Companies like MediaEdge Publishing and Naylor Associations Solutions have helped associations in producing their magazines/websites/newsletters and selling advertising to help pay the costs. So lets take look at various associations’ websites and see what they are doing.

 
I noticed that association content strategies differ from traditional media sites. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) uses more of a member service approach with content for physicians like CMA policy and medical industry advocacy, clinical resources, professional development and financial planning.

They provide print/digital journals, websites in both English (CMAJ) and French (Santé Inc.) and an email newsletter. Each issue of CMAJ's digital format is sent to 16,000 medical students and residents, plus additional journals for psychiatrists and surgeons. There are over 83,000 members across Canada and each can receive discounts items such as car rentals, luxury cars, courier, phones, computers, travel and private golf memberships.  

 
The association of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one the largest in the country with over 200,000 members. The bilingual website provides the content you would expect geared to the accounting professional with articles that talk about the nitty gritty of the profession, including audit & assurance; finance/investing; financial reporting; management accounting; strategy risk and governance; and forensic/investigative accounting. There is some free content on the site plus paid that can be bought through the online store that has 1,300 titles.  CPA Canada offers a website, two email newsletters and a magazine in print and digital. The bilingual magazine has 250,000 subscribers with 25% opting for the digital version. CPA Canada also has a members discount program for expenses such as hotel, cars, wireless, fitness clubs, courier and clothes.

 
That’s right there is even an association for associations call the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE)with 10,000 members. This modern looking website offers their members a magazine style format for content with a blog, articles, research, bookstore, events and a supplier directory to help their members do their job better.

Michael Bell, from MediaEdge, who works with the CSAE says that long form journalism is alive and well. He says it's needed to explain issues in depth that cannot be done in a snack size article (500 words) that has typically been used by the adtech community as click bait. You can check out the digital version of their magazine at this link
 
 
The Association for General Contractors in Ontario has a wide range of content for its 2,500 members that includes news, events, government relations, health and safety and a store. The store enables members to buy industry related documents and sign up for courses. They have a discount program for members for the purchases of cars, insurance and medical services like we saw with the CMA.  They have also partnered with a company called biddingo.com that enables tenders to be advertised online for subcontractor procurement and bidding. Their magazine is branded “The Generals” and is available in print and digital.

After looking at these sites you will notice they all have similar content style and a reader service approach seen in traditional media models. What is unique about industry associations is that they can use their collective buying power to generate discounts for their members on products and services that you do not see on traditional media sites. For B2B marketing, associations offer media products that are highly targeted and deliver a qualified audience that is like a paid subscriber, the ultimate proof of readership.

If you have missed the previous COPA Digital Media spotlights you can check them out below. Up next and our final spotlight will be on Niche publishers in Canada. The deadline for entries for the 2016 COPAs is July 11 and you can enter here.

COPA Digital Media Spotlight

- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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