Creating Better Community Content
The purpose of community content is to disseminate the best expertise from members across the rest of the community.
Too often communities have blogs filled with content like ‘top 5 ways to [xyz]’ or ‘how to [xyz]’ – often created by an author who isn’t an expert on the topic. Sometimes this content is created without even attempting to gather and validate the incredible expertise of members.
Our approach with clients is different.
1) Source the topic ideas. Aim to create one ‘pillar’ content per quarter. Post a question in the community and invite members to suggest what topics they want covered. Remember who shared each idea.
2) Let members vote on the topics. Once the list is created, use a survey or poll and invite members to vote on the topics to find the top 2 to 3.
3) Create a shared Google Doc and let members list the sub-topics to cover. Specifically ask members to list any challenges within the topic. You can @mention the members who voted and suggested the topic to help guide this process.
4) Post questions in the community asking for experiences and expertise. In each section, post questions asking members to share how they overcame the challenge, share relevant resources, and any other useful tips.
5) Invite members to share any useful templates they use. In most topics, having some useful diagrams or templates can be handy. If members don’t have any they can share, help co-develop your own with members.
6) Co-write the resources. You might need to take the lead on pulling all this together, but invite feedback at each stage of the journey. Ask your small group of insider members to proof-read it and make comments.
7) Create a specific page for it (forget eBooks). eBooks help gather email addresses, but over the long-term, creating specific pages for this content works better. You can see this on our ROI, strategy, or superuser articles. If they were published as eBooks they wouldn’t have had anywhere near the longevity. You should set aside a small budget for the design and development of this work.
8) Plan a promotional campaign. In the weeks leading up to the publication, reach out to members to promote it when it goes live and plan to host a launch day sharing the best advice. You might even put a small social ads budget here too.
9) Keep it updated once per year. The hard part isn’t just creating a useful resource, but keeping it updated. This allows newcomers to pose new questions, new expertise to emerge, and helps with search optimisation too.
This type of content is frequently referred to newcomers and outsiders, typically becomes a useful landing page, and provides the most value to members over the long-term.
This process takes a lot longer, but it also creates content that helps the majority of members, which makes members feel proud, and puts the incredible expertise of your members to work.