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March 7, 2013

5 Content Strategies for Your Online Community

by massmarotta

As your online community matures, trying to find new an inventive ways to keep members engaged with fresh content is an ongoing challenge for community managers. Here are 5 content strategies to keep things fresh and active:

  1. Choose Your Own Adventure – You may remember this concept from your childhood. It was very popular during the 80’s and into the ‘90’s. It also goes by “Pick Your Own Ending.” It’s quick to consume and has a high visual impact. In essence, you take your members on a comic book -style journey starring a hero who shares the same characteristics as your community members. At the end of each segment, your members determine the path the hero should take by a voting mechanism. In some instances, the hero may need some sort of ingenious device to escape a tight spot. The community could propose designs and the winning proposal could be featured in the next installment.
  2. Seasonal content asks – Seed discussions based on the time of year. Ask for pictures of the local foliage or winter activities. Every calendar month is littered with holidays. Find out how they spend St. Patrick’s Day or what their favorite Super Bowl dish may be. As a community manager, you can warm up to your members in a casual and personal way.
  3. “On the street” reporting – Grab your camera and turn yourself into a content generating machine. Pop in to a product manager’s office for an impromptu interview. Capture some shots of your customer conference or industry events. Get some of your members on camera to give a little testimonial or endorsement. Some words of advice; keep each video segment between 1-2 minutes. It’s not long where you lose your audience, and it’s not too short where you would lose value.
  4. Scavenger Hunt – This is essentially a game where the organizer (the community manager) prepares a list of items for participants to seek out and gather. The first participant to return with all items on the list wins. Read my full write up, How to Run a Successful Online Community Scavenger Hunt for complete details.
  5. eNewsletters and Corporate blogs – Ok, this could’ve been two separate strategies, but decided to lump them together since they’re both corporate communications. But hey, if someone in your organization is already cranking out his content, why not use community as their home? It’s fresh. It’s relevant.

What content strategies are you employing? Leave a note; I’d like to hear from you.