A good content strategy can give your community a huge boost and turn it from inactive to one that’s engaged and interested, and that’s good for the bottom line. Sales, customer service, and product development all benefit from an active community. Read on to find out how to create content for online communities and encourage user participation.
Content Should Be Driven By the Community
“Maintaining a thriving online community is all about creating content that interests the members of the community. This content should be inspired directly by the needs and interests of the members,” advises Latanya Lavigne, writer at AustralianHelp. What makes good content? It needs to provide value to the community; it’s about them, not you. The content you create should come from the perspective of the members because they are the ones who need to relate to it. This doesn’t mean you need to focus on a certain type of content, what’s important is the perspective. Look into the kinds of discussions and personalities that exist in the community to see what angle you should approach your content creation from.
Finding Out What Kind of Content is Right For Your Community
Investigate what kind of stuff your community is into. There are tools, such as Resonate, that can be used to recognize themes and find out what the most popular threads are. Create a community based on what you already know your customers are interested in. Facebook groups and Instagram work well for this purpose. It’s also a good idea to conduct customer surveys to see what they are interested in, and what they consider important. Put out the call to your most devoted fans to see if they’re willing to participate in a phone survey. Doing phone surveys will net you much better quality information, and you get to connect with your super fans and make them feel appreciated. Remember that your community content is not about promoting your company, you’re not selling anything. You’re creating content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise. If you do your research properly and make content that resonates with your customers, not only will they want to join in on the community, but also buy your products.
Learning How to Tell a Compelling Story
One important skill a community manager needs is the ability to tell a good story. The strength of a community manager’s storytelling lies with her knowledge of the customers. She knows what her customers care about and has the ability to turn those ideas into interesting stories. Of course, interesting doesn’t mean lengthy. You can tell a very interesting story that is also quite brief. The way you tell the story is key; visuals are a big part of that. Simple illustrated stories that are targeted can be very effective. Simplicity can be beautiful, and it’s also a very effective way of communicating with your customers. A good user experience is one that is clean and easy to navigate. Apple has this part down to a science. Every article tells you at the top what you will learn, and at the end, it is very easy for the reader to start or join in on the discussion. Small amounts of simple, but targeted and purposeful content are far more useful than churning out content that is not targeted.
Encourage User-Driven Content
One really effective way to get the community generating content is to hold a contest. Having community members submit a video, photo, or design entries increases engagement and helps a community thrive. People like it when you ask for their opinion, and they really like it when you request their help creating content. They feel like they’re valued, and if you get the community behind you, you can really get some amazing content creation happening.
Writing Content With Online Tools
People appreciate it when you take the time to write quality content, and a big part of that is proper writing, editing, and proofreading. These resources will make the process easier.
Creating an interesting and relevant experience for your customers is key to maintaining an active community. Find out what your community cares about and values, and create content that is relevant.