Turn Top Discussions Into Definitive Resources (and close the golden loop)
The golden loop works like this.
- A newcomer has a problem. This triggers her to find the solution. She searches for the problem and finds a resource on your community.
- She tries to use that resource to solve her problem. She applies the material to her own context and learns whether it works or not.
- She shares how she adapted it to her context. She highlights whether it worked, any adaptations she makes, and reviews the solution on the page.
- More newcomers find the problem. The additional longtail words catch more newcomers to this page.
This is the golden loop. The knowledge is built upon into definitive resources. You want to turn someone seeking to solve a problem into sharing their adaptation of the solution. This increases traffic, participation, and valuable engagement.
You can optimise this at several stages.
1. Build your discussions into definitive resources that solve the visitor’s problem. Begin doing this for your biggest discussions. You will have 5 to 10 discussions which bring in a significant percentage of the traffic. Turn this into a resource page that includes the information shared in the discussion (Discourse has a great feature for this).
Link back to related discussions. Embed videos and texts. Include links to related discussions in different sectors within that page. Continually update and add more information to keep this fresh.
Or, even better, tell the individual who posted the discussion in the first place to become the guardian of this definitive resource page. Make sure the visitor doesn’t need to go back into Google to solve their challenge.
2. Make it tactical.
Most advice is broad and not specific enough to be useful. The best rated talks and highest quality discussions are those which are as tactical and relevant as possible. If you want more people to try the solution in the resource, ensure it breaks the solution down into very tactical steps (with screenshots/videos) that anyone can follow.
3. Ask for reviews, adaptations, and further questions.
Most people consume information and leave. That’s unfortunate. Each discussion needs to prompt the participant to rate the material, say whether it worked for them, what adaptations they had to make to their particular context, and any questions that were left unsolved.
You need to close their feedback loop. So either add a prompt, use ad retargeting (expensive, but gets the habit started), or establish the social norm of giving feedback on resources. Use empathetic messages about how much the feedback means to the contributor, not how it would help the community.
The goal over time is to see pages that bring in a lot more traffic to the community, a good conversion rate, and (hopefully), social norms of giving feedback on contributions which have helped members.