Welcome back to our How to Build a Community four-part series, I’m going to take you through how to build a community your members will be proud to belong to.
Part One: Find Your Tribe
Part Two: Content Strategy
Part Three: Report on Engagement
Part Four: What Does Success Look Like?
Now that we have a community of people in the same place—hungry to mingle and discuss industry/professional based topics—how do we keep them engaged by curating content they are interested in and that will fuel the conversation? If you’re not familiar with what it means to curate content—before moving ahead I suggest reading Beth Kanter’s Content Creation Primer. This is a great content 101 article to get you started.
Create a Content Calendar
Plan your editorial calendar just like you do for your association marketing communications.
The goal of the content calendar is to have a shared document for your team to plan your editorial activity. Use this space to plan the content you would like to write and use themes and content types (blog, infographic, video) to drive future content. Don’t forget to save some space for your user-generated content and some wiggle room for any important new items or user discussions to be slotted in.
Here’s a great infographic from Social Fish titled the Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas that should get your creative juices flowing
In your calendar, be sure you identify your audience and add goals you would like to achieve with each content piece. If you would like 50 views and three comments, be sure to share and highlight this content to draw the eye of your audience. Posting alone won’t be enough to get those views and conversions—be sure to share on social media, through your newsletter, and call on your champions to help share and generate the member engagement.
Share Content that Drives Engagement
Community content is different. You cannot just use this space for content about your association. You need a healthy balance of traditional content (announcements, press release, promotions) and user-generated content (discussions, committee news, blogging, user-shared articles, and think pieces).
The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducted a study to understand why people share content online. There were five key motivating factors for sharing:
- To spread awareness about brands/causes
- To entertain, or share valuable information
- To feel involved in the world around them (self-fulfillment)
- To establish relationships
- To define their personality
The research also showed that audiences wanted more content, from more sources, with more people, more often, and more quickly.
Your community members are hungry to be a part of the process—call on your thought leaders and community champions and turn them into authors. Your members will associate authenticity and trust with content pieces penned by other community members. In turn, by giving your users the opportunity to share, you are growing their profile and helping their involvement with your association.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask the staff at your association to get involved. Your CEO and other key staff members should have routine spot for penning their thoughts.
And remember, make it a healthy mix of traditional and user generated content!