10 Effective Ways To Build A Strong Community With Great Content

Inno­vate, evolve, and give the audi­ence what they love.

Michael Georgiou By Michael Georgiou from Imaginovation. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Con­tent dri­ves dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and for it to suc­ceed it needs to hit the right notes with the audi­ence. Web­sites with active audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion are the most suc­cess­ful. This is true, regard­less of your niche.

Com­mu­ni­ties are cru­cial to the suc­cess of a blog, busi­ness or oth­er­wise. These are the peo­ple for which your con­tent aims to help. These are the peo­ple who will, hope­ful­ly, turn into cus­tomers. Com­mu­ni­ties are also a uni­ver­sal seal of trust. When a busi­ness builds a strong and loy­al base, it con­tin­ues to ben­e­fit from it year after year.

Here are some ways in which you can build a strong com­mu­ni­ty with the help of tai­lored con­tent.

1. Start with in-depth market research

You need to pos­sess an in-depth under­stand­ing of the mar­ket you oper­ate in as well as the con­sumers it attracts. Don’t look at them as JUST con­sumers, or as belong­ing to a spe­cif­ic demo­graph­ic. These are human beings first and fore­most.

Gar­ner data through mar­ket research to under­stand what your tar­get audi­ence wants. Com­pile a list of com­pet­i­tive key­words for the pur­pose. The con­tent you pro­vide should match their expec­ta­tions and needs.

The con­tent should also appeal to the audi­ence emo­tion­al­ly. It could evoke laugh­ter, or sad­ness – it has to elic­it an emo­tion. Giv­en the explo­sion of con­tent over the past few years, only arti­cles that touch their read­ers will have an impact. This means that dry, over­ly-pro­fes­sion­al, or even a gim­micky tone will not work.

2. Research the kind of community you want to build

Every niche has its own unique audi­ence.

Peo­ple who are the most enthu­si­as­tic con­sumers of con­tent browse the Inter­net in search of answers. Not just any answers, but spe­cif­ic and detailed expla­na­tions that strike at the core of their prob­lems.

Because these peo­ple are unique, even though their prob­lems might not be so, bring­ing them togeth­er results in the cre­ation of a unique plat­form.

If there are any com­mu­ni­ties such as the one you have in mind, go there and study them.

3. Participate in these communities to learn what drives them

Be a part of the kind of com­mu­ni­ties that you want your blog to attract so you can learn what dri­ves them.

It’s one thing to be an observ­er, to stay on the out­side and dis­pas­sion­ate­ly observe those who par­tic­i­pate. The meat, how­ev­er, is in the mid­dle.

Unless you par­tic­i­pate in the dis­cus­sions that take place on such forums/blogs, you won’t real­ly under­stand the com­mu­ni­ty.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion will also bring you greater under­stand­ing that will elude you if you stay on the fringes. You will be privy to emo­tion­al out­bursts, rants, con­trite apolo­gies, trolling behav­iour, pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tions, as well as the mod­er­a­tion of this all.

4. Build authority via great content

So you now under­stand the tar­get audi­ence and know what they are look­ing for.
The next step then is to cre­ate con­tent that caters to them on all lev­els – as would relate to your busi­ness.

Writ­ten or visu­al, con­tent in order to be con­sid­ered qual­i­ty should:

● Be rel­e­vant for its audi­ence.
● Address spe­cif­ic top­ics.
● Pro­vide in-depth advice.
● Be prac­ti­cal in the kind of sug­ges­tions offered.
● Backed by exper­tise and expe­ri­ence.
● Puts the best inter­ests of its read­ers at heart.

Con­tent moves from good to great when it meets all the above-men­tioned cri­te­ria.

New busi­ness­es, how­ev­er, might want to guest post on estab­lished blogs or appear on pop­u­lar podcasts/shows to estab­lish cred­i­bil­i­ty. It takes time for an indi­vid­ual for a busi­ness to build author­i­ty. Do not expect rave reviews and crazy par­tic­i­pa­tion right at the begin­ning.

Keep cre­at­ing con­tent to the best of your abil­i­ty and you will even­tu­al­ly see peo­ple turn­ing to your blog for answers. Once you have posi­tioned your­self as a reli­able and author­i­ty fig­ure, you will attract more of the kind of peo­ple you actu­al­ly want to vis­it your web­site.

5. Create an intuitive website

You don’t want to lose an audi­ence because it was dif­fi­cult for them to find the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion.

You might have cov­ered the top­ic of ‘SEO blun­ders for new web­sites’ a hun­dred times, but if you haven’t laid this out on your blog in a man­ner that a new vis­i­tor is able to find all the rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion eas­i­ly, you might poten­tial­ly end up los­ing poten­tial read­ers.

You also wouldn’t be doing full jus­tice to the great con­tent you have so labo­ri­ous­ly and con­sci­en­tious­ly put togeth­er.

The eas­i­er it is for peo­ple to find rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion, the greater the chances of them hang­ing around.

6. Market to the right people

Social is all the rage these days, but email mar­ket­ing is still a great way of reach­ing the right peo­ple.

When you have access to people’s inbox­es, you are able to talk to them at length, link them to all the great down­load­able resources you have put togeth­er and share with­out wor­ry­ing about char­ac­ter lim­its.

It gives your busi­ness a spot­light, so to speak. Also, every­one checks their email every day. Make the most of this won­der­ful medi­um to nur­ture leads and build rela­tion­ships with the peo­ple you would want to do busi­ness with. Lead them back to your blog/YouTube video where all the action is tak­ing place.

There is no right or wrong plat­form for mar­ket­ing. Find what works the best for you. Some peo­ple have been able to pro­cure and nur­ture leads from Quo­ra, Red­dit, even LinkedIn.

7. Make the readers feel heard

As a webmaster/business own­er, your par­tic­i­pa­tion will lead the way. If you don’t have the time, put some­one in charge of respond­ing to com­ments, answer­ing ques­tions, and in gen­er­al encour­ag­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion from read­ers.

8. Find your best platform

Some web­sites are able to gen­er­ate great con­ver­sa­tions right there on their blogs, oth­ers see detailed par­tic­i­pa­tion on social.

For some Face­book leads the way, for oth­ers Twit­ter is more excit­ing.

As you build a com­mu­ni­ty, you will have to exper­i­ment in order to find the plat­form that suits its par­tic­i­pants the best, or the one which encour­ages them to par­tic­i­pate more.

Don’t get too attached to any one plat­form – be pre­pared to move with your audi­ence. Per­haps they have become less active on Twit­ter, but are con­vers­ing and shar­ing more on Insta­gram or Snapchat.

9. Keep innovating and evolving

There is such a thing as too much of the same old, even if this same old was awe­some to begin with.

We have seen this with our favorite web­sites. We have seen this with our favorite Hol­ly­wood actors, too!

Your ideas might have sound­ed ground-break­ing in the begin­ning. But once they have been around for a cou­ple of years and you haven’t done much to build on them, they might lost the charm for the audi­ence.

Peo­ple need rea­sons to keep com­ing back to a blog with the same lev­el of enthu­si­asm as before. Google rewards fresh con­tent as well.

Inno­va­tion is key. But it is eas­i­er said than done. For con­tent to stay fresh its cre­ators need to evolve with the times, keep abreast of the chang­ing trends and be able to relate this to their tar­get audi­ence in a man­ner that might look famil­iar but nev­er stale. In the world of con­tent mar­ket­ing, you can nev­er rest on your lau­rels. Your audi­ence is smart, their needs evolve, and new play­ers enter the mar­ket all the time.

10. Give the audience more of what they love

If you have been pay­ing atten­tion to what your read­er­ship loves the most, this should be easy to fig­ure out.

If they love videos, make more of them. If they love lis­ti­cles, give them more of that. If they love moti­va­tion­al sto­ries, then that is where you should look. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing this though. One is to rehash old stuff and bore the audi­ence with each iter­a­tion. Even­tu­al­ly you end up los­ing them. This is the lazy and inef­fec­tive way.

The oth­er is to keep the essence alive but offer some­thing new incre­men­tal­ly. It will require you to rack your brains more and more as time pass­es. It is hard work but ulti­mate­ly a bet­ter and more sus­tain­able approach.

Build­ing a vibrant, knowl­edge­able, and loy­al com­mu­ni­ty is essen­tial­ly sim­ple. But it can­not be bro­ken down to an exact sci­ence.

Con­tent is a strong enabler of it, but you would still have to take care of oth­er fac­tors such as strong tech­ni­cal sup­port, con­tin­u­ous inno­va­tion, and a pos­i­tive vibe that encour­ages peo­ple to open up.

Here are a few web­sites that have accom­plished this. These are most­ly estab­lished brands but there are a few instruc­tive lessons in it for ambi­tious busi­ness­es of any size. If you know of any excel­lent com­mu­ni­ties that you love to vis­it, please share in the com­ments.

What are you top tips for build­ing strong com­mu­ni­ties?

Michael Georgiou

Written by Michael Georgiou

Co-Founder & CMO, Imaginovation

Michael Georgiou is the CMO and Co-founder of Imaginovation, a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He's a dynamic business professional with proven success in creative strategy, online branding, project management and communication projects.

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