Last September, Lindy Dreyer of SocialFish posted a very helpful overview of how a digital content “funnel” can drive business results. In it, she identified six content stages for associations:
- Public and open
- Public, but sign-up is required
- For sale, but free to members
- For sale, but at a reduced price for members
- Free, but member only
- For sale, and member only
Dreyer’s argument in part claims that “content strategy for associations is different“. While I like her content funnel, I’m not as sure that it is unique to associations.
Many business-to-business publishers employ a similar approach to gather contact information, compile data and ultimately monetize some content. Today, consumer publishers are more likely to give away content, but Bloomberg’s acquisition of BusinessWeek illustrates a successful exception that could influence others down the road.
As models evolve, even book publishers need a content funnel. It’s almost reflexive to talk about the growth of verticals and niches in book marketing. Creating a niche presence often starts with free content and moves on to registration and rewards for loyal participants.
In business, we’re inclined to spot the differences across companies and industry segments. The more fertile ground may be found in the things that tie association, magazine and book publishers together.