Many clubs struggle to write content that focuses on their members instead of themselves. Although it may feel counterintuitive, sharing your member and customer stories is a more effective way of telling your story, too. You could spend all day telling people how great your club is, but hearing it from a member feels more trustworthy and believable.
Finding stories to highlight your private club can be challenging, especially when you factor in your subject matter expert's availability, writer's block, generating ongoing content, and your deadlines. Like so many things, it takes a process and planning to uncover and tell these stories. Here's how we, at StoryTeller, mine for great content.
1. Schedule Quarterly Editorial Meetings
An editorial meeting may sound formal, but it’s actually about brainstorming for story ideas and free-thinking, not following some stuffy process. The goal of an editorial meeting is about talking to individuals across your organization, so include more than just the marketing team! Bring in department heads and better yet, make content planning a standing agenda item in your ongoing staff meetings. Some of these individuals speak to members daily and know within seconds where there's an opportunity for a great story. Even if the ideas you suggest don't come to fruition, they may spark other great ideas worth exploring.
A single hour-long editorial meeting often generates an entire 90-day content calendar, chock full of the stories to tackle over the next quarter.
2. CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
Before you start just telling stories willy-nilly, you need to establish a plan. Think about:
- What are your marketing goals for the quarter and the year?
- Which target personas would help you reach these goals?
- What blog topics and stories could help you appeal to these personas?
- What stories would be ideal to include in your member newsletters? Stories are equally important for member engagement.
Take all of these ideas and align them with real dates on the calendar. Even if you have your department heads contribute to capturing the details of the story and have marketing or a marketing agency do the editing, don't forget to assign each topic to a writer and create deadlines that allow for revisions, copyediting, and optimizing for SEO.
3. Audit EXISTING CONTENT
If you've spent years blogging, it's a great practice to frequently audit your website. It not only shows you what needs to be updated, but it also helps you clean out the content that is no longer relevant. At StoryTeller, we've had great luck increasing Google's ranking of some of our blogs by updating and improving old content.
When reviewing your past topics, look for opportunities to insert stories. You may have a great educational blog that can be made better by incorporating a customer's experience on that topic. For example, your golf club may have a blog highlighting your most challenging hole, so why not interview some of your members on their tricks and tips to mastering it? It not only shares strategies for the hole but shows potential members what others at your club are like. This, in turn, helps readers understand if they would be a good fit for membership (aka your ultimate goal).
Auditing uncovers clear opportunities where stories can be added. After you identify which blogs could benefit from stories, it's time to brainstorm what those stories are.
4. Interview Subject Matter Experts
Talking to experts is one of the greatest aspects of writing content and telling stories. Your subject matter experts (SMEs) are the people who frequently engage with your club and understand your value -- your members, staff, tournament participants, or individuals who’ve hosted events at your club. Many people are often really proud of the topics you discuss with them and are excited to share their perspectives and experiences.
Pro Tip: The key to great interviewing is being an active listener and going into the interview with the flexibility to change your plan. Sometimes, the story you anticipate getting isn't what you actually get — but the result is something even better.
In addition to receiving a great story to compliment your blog topic, you may learn about other unique stories you can use in future content.
Great club stories can be discovered through a few different processes whether brainstorming ideas with your internal team or speaking directly with your subject matter experts. Showcase the people and experiences that inspire you and put together a plan for doing so. With compelling member stories included in your content, you will soon see increased blog traffic numbers, which will, in turn, increase the bottom line and bring new members and customers knocking on your door.