As a community manager or moderator, it's your job to ensure that all curated content is in line with the community guidelines. That's why we advise you to have clear content guidelines that you can share with your partners and community members when they join.
Have you downloaded your Community Readiness Canvas yet?
Imagine your community is an office water cooler for a second. When people gather there, what will they talk about? You will need to think about all the conversations that you want take place in your community, and how you will enable those conversations happen.
Remember, conversations focused on questions and answers create an entirely different dynamic than updates and news about your organization. Depending on your community, conversations will either be opinion-based (comments on news or products), knowledge-based (answering help desk questions), or experience-based (sharing tips & tricks).
For example, if you explore Airbnb's public community for their hosts, you'll immediately get an idea of the type of discussions that take place. Conversations range from hosts sharing tips on how to go the extra mile for their guests to discussions on how to handle local regulations. The best thing about Airbnb's community? Everything is centered around empowering hosts to create an unforgettable experience for their guests.
What will conversations be about?
- Questions and support
- Critical feedback
- Product tips and tricks
- New ideas and suggestions
- Local events
- Trending news
When creating content for your community, you should answer these two questions: What content will drive members to your community? What content can you and your partners create to spark discussions and engagement.
As Neptune Software discovered, you can drive a lot of initial traction to your community by creating valuable and relevant content. In the Neptune Software Community, the company started off by compiling helpful documentation to highlight all the features and functionalities of the platform, and explain how developers can use it for their platforms.
While documentation content is a great introduction to a community, together with experts, people from Neptune Software write general blog and how-to articles to keep new members engaged with the community, and encourage them to keep coming back.
What content can be created by your organization or partners?
- Research and stats
- Insightful articles
- Thought-provoking questions
- Help and support
The most successful communities find the right balance between content shared by the organizers and content published by members. There are even some communities that completely rely on members creating content.
Take the Indie Hackers community for example, which connects the founders of profitable online businesses and others who are starting and growing their own companies. Most people who join the community are looking for advice and feedback from other members. To encourage their members to share their stories and expertise, the Indie Hackers community occasionally hosts online round tables where entrepreneurs can share how they came up with great business ideas, and more.
What content should be published by your members?
- Product feedback and ideas
- Job opportunities
- In-person events
- Tips and tricks
You'll be happy to hear that not all your content has to be completely original. Like social media sites, many communities thrive off members sharing external content to share interests and spark discussion.
Designer News is an example of an online community where members discuss and share interesting third-party content related to the design industry. To prevent members becoming disengaged, the content shared by the community always needs to be relevant, inspiring and non-promotional. That's why Designer News allows members to up vote their favorite links in order to make sure the most relevant content is seen.
What third-party content can be curated and shared in your community?
- Relevant articles
- YouTube videos
- Useful tools and frameworks
After completing this section, you will have laid the groundwork for your community's content strategy. Now that you know what content you want to share, a good next step is to think about the specific modules you'll need to display the content, such as a blog, an events page, or knowledge base.