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Now on to business! In last week’s blog, I wrote about one of the most important awards that our Chapter can earn, the Yerger Award, which is given when the Chapter is doing a really good job of bringing exceptional educational and social experiences to its members, which is reflected in the fact that the organization both retains and grows its membership. At the end of that blog post, I said that in the next blog post I would outline the details of those Yerger Award applications. And it is only fitting that the first one that I outline actually talks about blog posts! The first Yerger award application was titled:
Digital Communication – Blogging for faster, more innovative communication while reducing costs.
Historically, our chapter published a hard-copy newsletter with 5 or 6 issues a year. Although the newsletter provided great content, after a thoughtful evaluation, we identified a number of concerns with the printed newsletter. Publishing and mailing the newsletter carried a hefty financial cost. The editors and our administrative support team spent significant time not only obtaining and reviewing articles but formatting and reviewing copy prior to publication. Summaries of educational events were published months after the actual event occurred due to the publication cycle. The printed newsletter, even when recycled after use, had a negative environmental impact. Aside from photocopying or scanning an article, it was difficult to share news and resources with peers. Additionally, aside from returned mail, there was no way to leverage metrics in tracking readership. An interim transition to an electronic-only newsletter alleviated some of these issues, but issues of timing and difficulty sharing information persisted.
The chapter decided it was time to make the switch to an electronic format and selected a blog that could be updated real-time and not be dependent on a publication schedule.
This allowed us to increase the frequency and ease of communication with you our members, enabled “sharing features” across social media platforms which we hope will lead to more wide-spread awareness of our messages, and drastically reduced cost to the Chapter while maintaining a high level of educational, social, and membership-related content. We have highlighted chapter events, both social and educational with photos and summaries. These posts are very popular and posting them soon after the events is a priority.
The weekly email summary of posts reaches over 800 members providing real-time chapter updates. Since the blog launched last June, articles have been shared on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites over 60 times. We also track click-through rates on articles and unsubscribe requests in order to monitor the engagement of our membership in the blog.
Overall, our move from paper newsletter to electronic blog has been highly successful from all perspectives – financial, administrative, and customer satisfaction. We hope that you are enjoying the mix of educational and social content –if you have attended an event recently, go to the blog and look for yourself in the many photos we post!
Next week, I will be outlining our second Yerger award winner: Innovating Behind the Scenes: Preserving Historical Events, While Being Willing to Make (Major) Changes