What is a blog?
For years, blogs (short for weblog) served as online journals for aspiring writers who wanted to chronicle their thoughts or share information with niche online communities. After all, when blogging emerged in the 1990’s, the internet was in its infancy and most information found online was not highly credible. If your impression of blogging is consistent with these visions from 30-years ago, you’re in for a real surprise!
A blog is simply a collection of pages on your website. Many websites today, especially private club websites, are not updated frequently and are generally static online brochures. By adding blog functionality to your website, your club will not only create a dynamic element that delivers new information on an ongoing basis, it will also add a feature that will help your club rank higher in online search (ie. It will appear on the first page of a “Google search”). The content that fills your blog has the ability to attract new members and also engage your existing members!
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Changing Buyer Behavior
It’s no secret that connecting with today’s club prospects is a challenge. Past marketing and communication strategies, like postcards and club open houses are not as effective as they once were. Thanks to the internet, your future members are used to making purchasing decisions in ways that are convenient for them - they research and choose the information that they find interesting. The best way to attract the attention of your prospective members’ is to provide information on your website that they are seeking, not necessarily the marketing messages you’re attempting to “push out” to them.
Blogs help you differentiate your club from other clubs
If you look at all the club websites in your metropolitan area and put them side by side, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between the clubs. They all look similar - beautiful golf course, breathtaking clubhouse, swimming pool and fine dining. Your clubs are different, but do they really appear unique? Of course not, and yet, these are the assets you have to leverage.
By adding a blog, you have an online resource to share the club stories that are unique to your club and your members. Whether it’s a feature story about your newest member or a recap of your club championship - a blog provides the opportunity to share stories and information that are uniquely yours! Plus, blogging is a cost-effective way to help your club stand out online without having to redesign your entire website.
5 Benefits of Blogging for Private Clubs
One thing every Membership Director realizes is that each member has his or her own interests and perspective on activities at the club. Family members have different needs than Junior Members and when it comes to catering, a bride is looking for information that a meeting planner may not find as helpful. Blogs allow you to address each audience’s interests. They also provide space on your website to share testimonials, case studies and examples of your club’s events and activities.
Storytelling (not Storyselling)
Every club is rich with wonderful stories - about members and staff. Look around and listen to the conversations and you’ll hear stories of triumph, joy and, at times, struggles. Unlike traditional marketing channels, blogs are a fantastic platform to share stories that can bring members together and open a window into the heart of who you are as a club. What the prospective member wants to know is “can I see myself fitting in at this club?” It should provide them with an intimate look “behind the curtain” of your club.
Readers become Prospects
You’ve probably noticed as a consumer, that people buy products and services differently today. It’s become common for shoppers to do online research before making a purchase - whether it’s a $.99 app online or a $50,000 initiation fee for a club, people research before committing. Blog content can help in this process. Using compelling information to answer high-level questions, prospective members will thirst for more details. By providing additional information, like a membership guide with initiation and dues information, in exchange for an email address, you can better identify those who are most interested in your club. With this access, you can begin a trusting relationship by providing additional resources.
Many clubs today are active in social media and marketing and membership directors have become proficient in posting information that shares insight into the club. From pictures to posts about upcoming events. Additionally, social media is an ideal distribution channel for unique blog content. A single piece of blog content can be posted on Facebook, and even LinkedIn if you’re hoping to attract more executives to your club. By engaging your members and club staff in your social media sharing, the greater likelihood you’ll engage prospective members.
A fundamental element of a successful blog post is a unique and thoughtfully selected image that can help tell the story of the post. Through blogs, you can capture and share the beautiful surroundings and experiences taking place at your club. This can help the perception your members have of your club and also provide a prospective member a real sense of what it’s like to be a member. Visuals help connect and transport the viewer.
Blogs are how people find you — they create a side door into your website. They provide opportunities for prospects to learn more about you and allow you to start the conversation and begin building trust. What’s more, blogs have longevity and continue to drive results long after you first publish them. Over time it’s not uncommon for blogs to move up the ranks in search engine results. They’ll be found through organic online search and social media and will help you engage your audience and ultimately grow revenue.