associationNation: How to Raise Your Member Voices

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New podcast episode explores ways to better serve members by letting them tell their stories.

When it comes to engaging members, many associations are overlooking a plentiful resource — their members.

In the newest episode of associationNation, Jaime Painter, vice president of client strategy for Imagination, talks about how to use your members’ experience and expertise in content as subject matter experts, sources, subjects, authors, and even on-camera personalities.

“We often find associations still tend to focus communication on ‘us’ the organization, rather than ‘you’ the member,” Painter says. “It’s ‘We did this’ or ‘We want you to know this’ rather than ‘You did this’ or ‘Here is what our work means for you.’”

associationNation is available on the AM&P and Imagination websites, Google Play, iTunes, and podcast apps such as Stitcher.

Joining Painter on the episode is Molly Polen, senior director of communications and PR for AACC. Polen has called on members — highly technical clinical chemists — to be storytellers and content creators for the association’s magazine, newsletters, video content, member forum, and more.

“You should reach out to the members,” Polen says. “We found these things that are working for us because we have listened to our members, and not just listened to them, but tried to get them to think about things in a different way than they have in the past.”

Polen shares several examples of platforms AACC uses to elevate their members’ voices. The Artery is a peer-to-peer networking forum that is strictly for member communication. No association business is posted there. The conversations and advice being exchanged on the site have led to scientific conference sessions and research papers.

Another popular feature is AACC’s Laborastories. In these short videos, laboratory experts share stories of everyday challenges, critical decisions, and moving moments. “When you’re in the room with these high-level scientists, they tend to come across any problem like it is a case study. That can be valuable, but you lose the emotional impact of the story,” Polen says. “So we put them in a different situation. Got them thinking with a different part of their brains. The idea is to get these emotional connections of how laboratorians are affecting patient care.”

associationNation is an Association Media & Publishing podcast series, created and produced by Imagination, that offers associations insights to help shape the future of the industry through a content marketing lens. The show focuses on practical topics that are useful in day-to-day work.

If you have feedback or ideas for future topics, Painter would love to hear from you at