A 3 Month Pre-Community Strategy

March 30, 2009Comments Off on A 3 Month Pre-Community Strategy

If you want a successful community launch, you need a huge number of people ready and eager to join the day your interface is live.

If you’re planning to start an online community in April. These ideas might help.

April: Laying the foundations to become a community member.

  • Identify relevant online communities and key people.
  • Launch an industry blog.
  • Introduce yourself to two people bloggers/influencers per day.
  • Start a database/spreadsheet of people you have permission to speak to, record the conversations you have and when the next contact will be.
  • Interview key influencers for your blog.
  • Learn the unwritten rules of your target audience (i.e. begin writing them down for yourself).

May: Building relationships that matter.

  • Use existing resources/assets to help biggest influencers/connectors. Don’t ask for anything in return.
  • Starting a mailing list for people you feel want to be a part of something/make a difference in the industry. Invite them to join.
  • Continue e-mailing 2 new people per day. Make sure each e-mail is unique and tailored to the individual.
  • Create a technological profile for the average member (what technology do they use? Why? On what platforms are they most prevalent?
  • Pick the 3 most important communities and begin participating in a range of issues.

June: Cement friendships, involve the client, plan the interface

  • Ask for advice on what people would want from a community. Use as much of it as possible to design your community.
  • Arrange an online or offline event for members to be involved with. Invite special VIP guests to give a webcast/speech.
  • Continue e-mailing 2 new people a day.
  • Compile your research and approach your company/client with your recommendations on what they need to do to build a community.
  • Agree business constraints/resources and create a list for the community needs.
  • Involve web teams/agency to design the community interface.

July: Launch

  • Host a best of series on your industry blog featuring the best posts from the top bloggers.
  • Invite your most enthusiastic contacts to test the community.
  • Ask them to invite 1 friend to try the interface.
  • Design a rewards program for members that discover the community early and seed content.
  • Launch your online community.

A few notes here. The client-side work is extremely more complex than detailed here. Finally, spending time on developing these relationships always pays off when you launch. Always

Good luck.

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