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Content Marketing was unknown in 1956 when wily Sam Phillips, the Memphis-based musical producer who launched Elvis Presley on his path to stardom two years earlier, realized he was hosting something worthy of attention … four Hall of Famers singing together. Many private clubs may be missing similarly engaging, newsworthy and interesting events that show the lifestyle proposition of the club through online messages and images intended to stimulate interest.
Like many private clubs, Phillips’ Sun Records Studio was a news-making place. On this day, rockabilly legend Cark Perkins was in the studio to record a follow-up to his “Blue Suede Shoes” hit. Hanging out with Presley and Perkins was his friend, Johnny Cash whose “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Walk the Line” had made him a star. The fourth member of this coincidental foursome was a brash pianist by the name of Jerry Lee Lewis, who was working sessions for Phillips at $15 per hour.
Phillips, ever the promoter, sent for a photographer at the nearby Memphis Press-Scimitar, whose image of the four ran with the caption that has become legend, “Million Dollar Quartet.” That is content marketing.
Your club can communicate—not advertise—events and activities that may be of interest to members and the broader audience of potential members. Global Golf Advisors estimates that less than 10 percent of the 4,400 clubs in North America are full with a waiting list. So, most clubs need to fortify their brand awareness for prospective members. Those prospects are often friends of current members.
Here are six ways for private clubs to put content marketing to work:
Build and share a photo library. Develop a ready supply of professionally produced photos of the club and its amenities. Inform local and regional lifestyle publications, who may benefit from ready-to-use images of the local community lifestyle.
Curate interesting content that helps others get to know your club. From the children’s holiday gingerbread-decorating parties to chef’s table and wine- or spirits-tasting events, encourage your club members to share their stories and photos. Many non-members will be interested to learn more about their friend’s club.
Reward loyalty with games. Nowadays gamification—using incentives and points to encourage participation—is popular and productive. Your members can drink and dine in many venues.
Reward them for thinking often of the club first. Set objectives that increase usage and capture-of-wallet metrics for your club.
Increase engagement efficiency with infographics. Your members are busy. Brief them and make it quick! Use images collected in one format to provide quick snapshots of club news, such as financial results, membership growth, special events and activities that should be added to their calendars.
Expand the social reach of your club. Use social media in the ways and to the extent appropriate for your club. The great force of social media is its connectivity and expansive reach. Create focused social media messaging that reinforces the core values of your club. The keys are to plan all messages and posts; communicate on programs and events in ways that maintain your club’s private status; tell the story that your club is always improving itself through photographs of new furnishings and fitness equipment; and, reinforce your club’s commitment to environmental stewardship and engage members with the flora and fauna of the club through nature-oriented stories and photographs.
Tap into the mobility of your members. Everyone seems to be on the go these days. See that your club’s mobile app is capable, robust, and current. The most frequent mistakes made by private clubs are having a mobile app that doesn’t work and outdated content or incorrect time or date coordinates. Be mobile and be accurate.
The musical greats entertained themselves singing their shared roots in gospel music during production breaks. While content marketing can create immediate impacts, the nickname given them quickly caught on with rock-and-roll fans who would not actually hear the music made that day for 25 years when the first portions of the lost tapes were discovered and released.
This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for the National Club Association. Henry DeLozier is a principal at Global Golf Advisors, a Legacy Alliance Partner of the National Club Association. GGA serves club management professionals from offices in Toronto, Phoenix and Dublin (IR).
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