Does your association offer location-based events? Do you wonder if you could benefit from a more expansive approach to content packaging and repackaging? As a learning solutions analyst focused on the continuing education landscape, I’ve been wondering the same thing for more than five years.

On one hand, offering multiple live and on-demand options seems like a no-brainer for any organization that wants to boost non-dues revenue. After all, thanks to advances in live streaming, webcasting, and other virtual event technologies, it’s now remarkably easy and affordable to implement multiple delivery modes.

But, just because you can pursue this kind of content strategy doesn’t mean you should. We all face limited time and resources. Therefore, many organizations consider several additional questions:

  • Under what circumstances do multiple content delivery channels make sense?
  • Do these new methods truly live up to their promise?
  • In this kind of environment, how should organizations define program success?

For answers, I decided to talk directly with learning leaders who are applying these innovative methods in the real world. That’s why I invited three experts to join me for a virtual roundtable:

  • Nora Murphy – Online Learning Manager at Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R), a 4,000-member association that promotes ethical standards for those involved in biomedical, social science, and behavioral research oversight.
  • Katie May Grier – Senior Learning and Data Analyst at North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA), an organization devoted to ensuring competence, civic responsibility, and success among the state’s accounting professionals.
  • Jessica Lane – Director of Client Success for Freestone LMS at Community Brands. Throughout her career, Jessica has collaborated with many of the company’s 13,000 association and non-profit clients as they developed and delivered successful learning programs.

The stories and advice these panelists shared confirms what I’ve seen and heard in my life as a consultant. Smart associations aren’t waiting for others to prove a multi-channel content strategy works. They’re committed to staying ahead of the pack. This means they continuously test, tune, and optimize creative new programming and delivery strategies. And, they move forward by building on what works.

For example, when NCACPA leaders saw that in-person seminar attendance was declining, they added live streaming as a complementary delivery channel. This option opened the door to new member segments, and as a result, overall attendance soared.

Similarly, PRIM&R offers a virtual version of its annual conference. The organization asked digital participants to imagine what they would have done if no virtual event were available. Ninety percent of attendees said they would not have participated at all.

In other words, by expanding content delivery options, these organizations aren’t “cannibalizing” their in-person audiences, as association leaders often fear. On the contrary, they’ve found multiple channels attract a larger total audience, comprised of segments that are unique in their consumption preferences.

Expanding your total audience is only one of the benefits your organization can expect. As Jessica Lane says, associations are also:

  • Boosting member engagement by making professional development more accessible to more people
  • Generating more revenue by delivering high-value content on a continuous basis
  • Increase ROI by leveraging event content more fully and extending its “freshness” date indefinitely

Above all, associations that fully leverage content have an opportunity to establish a competitive advantage among continuing education providers.

As our discussion unfolded, each panelist shared numerous ways their organizations are working toward these strategic objectives. They also suggested ideas for getting started and making meaningful progress. I came away energized by their resourcefulness and inspired by their commitment. I think you will, too.

To learn more firsthand from these forward-thinking learning leaders, you can replay the on-demand webinar here: “Next-Level Live Online Events: Strategies from Successful Associations.”

And if you have questions or stories you’d like to share about multi-modal content strategies in your organization, feel free to contact me at

About the Author

John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC. Named one of the Top 20 Global Elearning Movers and Shakers of 2017 and 2018, John is a fiercely independent learning systems consultant, podcaster and blogger who helps organizations develop and implement extended enterprise education solutions. John’s advice is based on 22 years of industry experience, having served as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to nearly 150 learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $65 million. You can connect with John at @JohnLeh on Twitter or on LinkedIn.