How to Increase Association Memberships with Content SEO

Created by Cori Albrecht

tug of war content marketing

The Tug Between How Much is Too Much in Content Marketing.

As association marketing professionals, we can find ourselves at odds with the editors of our association journals. We're constantly looking for ways to increase traffic, generate more leads, and boost membership while also trying to toe the line between providing value to prospective members and giving away too much. One effective strategy that can cause some angst is long-form content, or pillar page, creation. While some might hesitate, fearing that giving away too much content for free could be counterproductive, the reality is quite the opposite. Let’s explore why long-form content and pillars/pillar pages are invaluable assets for your digital strategy.

Understanding Pillar Pages

A pillar page is a comprehensive, authoritative piece of content on a broad topic that is linked to several related but specific subtopics. This page acts as the hub of content for a given subject area within an association's website, linking to and from multiple detailed blog posts or articles that address various aspects of the topic. By organizing content this way, pillar pages enhance the user experience by providing thorough and accessible information, which is crucial for SEO and user engagement.

1. Enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pillar pages are structured to provide an in-depth look at a broad topic, making them highly effective for SEO. By covering a topic extensively, pillar pages target a wide range of keywords, including high-volume keywords and long-tail phrases. This breadth and depth improve the page's visibility on search engines, drawing in traffic that might not have been captured through more narrowly focused articles alone. Furthermore, the interlinking nature of pillar pages and subtopic content creates a network of backlinks that enhances domain authority, a key metric used by search engines to rank websites. Improved visibility in search results directly correlates with increased traffic and, by extension, leads and potential members.

2. Positioning as Thought Leaders

Associations strive to be viewed as leaders and authoritative voices in their fields. Pillar pages facilitate this by showcasing the depth of knowledge and resources the association offers. By extensively covering a topic and providing valuable insights and data, associations position themselves as go-to sources for both existing members and potential new members. This perceived leadership helps in building trust, an essential component in converting casual visitors into engaged members.

3. Improved User Engagement and Experience

The comprehensive nature of long-form content in pillar pages addresses another critical aspect of digital marketing: user engagement. Visitors are more likely to spend time on a well-organized, informative page that answers all their questions in one place. This increased dwell time signals to search engines that the content is valuable, boosting the page's rankings. Additionally, the ease of navigation provided by well-structured pillar pages enhances the user experience, increasing the likelihood of visitors returning to the site or exploring it further.

4. Generating Leads through Value Offering

While some may object to giving away content freely, this approach can actually generate more qualified leads. Providing free, high-quality content builds goodwill and demonstrates the value of the association to prospective members. By using calls-to-action strategically placed within pillar pages—such as newsletter sign-ups, download opportunities, membership information, or event registrations—associations can convert their informational advantage into actual membership growth.

Ready to level up your content strategy?

Pillar pages are not just about giving content away; they are strategic tools for building authority, enhancing SEO, improving user engagement, and converting traffic into leads and members. They enable associations to demonstrate their value and expertise on a grand scale, attracting individuals who are genuinely interested in their fields. Journal editors and marketers alike should view pillar pages as investments in the association's future, essential components of a broader strategy aimed at thriving in a competitive digital ecosystem. By embracing this approach, associations can significantly enhance their visibility, influence, and membership base.