aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Revisiting Relevance

Posted by Ellen on June 7, 2011

Remember a few years ago when the association blogosphere trampled all over the notion of “relevance”? The hue and cry went something like this: “Don’t be relevant. Be innovative.”

I raled against the suggestion that relevancy is passe, and a few agreed that maybe they shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

At the time, I focused on the need for relevancy in learning. A few folks raised their glasses and said, “Here’s to relevancy in education and training. But for association management, innovation is still king.”

Something I was reading about relevancy in learning brought this whole online discussion back to me. Never one to hesitate about stirring the pot, even one sitting on a cold fire — I figured it’s about time to revisit the antiquated notion of relevancy.

My comment is actually very simple: If your organization isn’t relevant to me, why should I join? Renew? Participate?

I’ve had to cut back on my memberships over the last couple of years, and you know what? I don’t miss some of those organizations at all. I glance at their online blog or e-newsletter or other missives (of course I’m still on their e-mail list, despite a lapsed membership) and nothing makes me think, “Oh! I need to know about that. I should resurrect my membership to attend that event” (or read that members-only article, etc.).

If it’s not relevant to me, I don’t care about it.

You can be as innovative as you want. You can provide me with the latest trends and experts and future-thinking ideas, but if none of them are relevant to me, then I just don’t care.

I. Just. Don’t. Care.

So while you’re concentrating on being innovative, resuscitate the notion of relevancy. Make sure you’re connecting in a meaningful way — being relevant to — your members.

Innovation is the icing. Relevancy is the cake.

Yeah, it’s always tempting to just scoop up the icing with your finger, but where would that icing sit without the cake as a foundation?

One Response to “Revisiting Relevance”

  1. […] Innovate all you want, but it won't matter if you're not relevant, says Ellen Behrens at the aLearning […]

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