Online communities are becoming more and more common, especially in a COVID-19 world. Because of this, helping your brand’s community stand out in an increasingly busy crowd is becoming harder to achieve – however, it’s certainly not impossible.
Community building can be made easier and more effective by creating content that is valuable to that community. But to do this, you need to ensure you properly understand your audience and produce content you know will engage users. How? Let’s take a closer look…
Outline your goals
Brand communities are all the rage right now, but what’s the purpose of yours? While online communities are set up for differing reasons, the main purpose is often to establish an informational and conversational hub around your brand, products and services. This is where your content comes in.
One thing is for sure, however – community building will be a whole lot harder if you only write sales content around your product/service. This is where having a clearly defined goal for your community is important. Without this, your content will quickly become unstructured and ill-informed, leading to low community engagement as a result.
So, define your community goals early to better inform the types of content you produce. From striking up audience conversations with user generated content to keepings users up to date with the latest in industry news, establish purpose and goals to ensure you’re producing the content that drives the results you want to see.
Know your audience
Of course, engaging content relies on your community being, well, engaged! To do this successfully, you’ll need to first ensure you know your audience. Now is the time to ask yourself: do I really know my community?
If you found yourself answering no, then you’ll need to spend time getting to know the ins and outs of your audience before creating any community content. An effective way of doing this is to look at your current content and who is participating within the community. Is there a common theme? Do the same people start conversations on a daily/weekly basis?
From this, you should be able to obtain a list of ‘super fans’ – these are highly active users within the community and people you know you can rely on. Quiz and poll these now trusted sources for insights into what keeps them active within the community (our handy market research feature enables you to do exactly that), seeking first-hand advice on how the community could better serve the audience’s needs, wants and expectations.
Of course, content differs depending on your target audience – you can have one piece that works for audience X, but not audience Y. All the content you produce should be captivating for the audience you’re targeting, meaning it’s useful to ask yourself these 3 simple questions before putting the proverbial pen to paper:
- Does this content reflect the brand’s personality?
- Does it provide the authority you want your community to be driven by?
- Does it speak to your audience and drive them to participate?
A community shouldn’t only be about selling products or services, but more a hub for brands and consumers to share knowledge and experiences with one another. Of course, it should still complement your business by driving sales and traffic, but this should never be your primary aim.
Re-imagine your content
At the time of writing, there are over 500 million blog posts online. 500 million and 1 once this is live.
With this in mind, bringing innovative and never-before-seen content to the table is by no means easy. However, this doesn’t mean your content on topics covered by someone else won’t be interesting or engaging to your audience.
On the contrary, you can bring a fresh lease of life to old topics and ideas through the re-imagination of your content. By this we mean, rather than recycling content that already exists elsewhere, how can you bring a new and unique perspective that adds genuine value? Whether it be expert knowledge, first-hand accounts or breaking news, there’s plenty of ways you can get creative to avoid your content being stale, outdated and lost in the crowd.
One of the best ways to write valuable and engaging community content is to tell a story.
Curating a compelling story isn’t the easiest thing to do, but by using the audience knowledge you obtained from tip 2, you should be able to identify general customer personas. Look to utilise these as a way of aligning your stories with the typical problem points and interests of your users, ensuring captivating storytelling by tailoring your narrative specifically to them.
The application of this narrative depends on what you are writing and the audience you are speaking to. Whatever and whoever that might be, it’s always recommended that your narrative is felled by a desire to spark a response, build a connection and establish an authentic meaning.
You’ve got top-class content and your community is engaging regularly with it. What more could you want? Well, you need to ensure you have every piece of engaging content you create primed for SEO.On-page SEO best practice is ever-changing and incorporates a whole host of important considerations. The following factors should be considered potential SEO quick wins for any piece of content, ensuring you have the fundamentals set in stone to enable your content to perform well in SERPs:
- Meta description
- Meta title
- Page headings
- SEO friendly URL
- Keyword choices and placement
- Internal/ external links
- Loading speed
- Page Content
- Image alt text
Properly search optimising your content, whatever form it takes, is a super effective community building technique by helping you reach a wider audience and, in turn, grow your community members.
Gathering feedback on the content you’re producing is vital in ensuring your content is always hitting the mark.
So, reach out and encourage your community to give their opinions on what’s working and what’s not. This can be through polling and questionnaires, or by encouraging your readers to send in their thoughts and opinions in your CTAs.
Of course, some readers will provide negative feedback. Should this be put to one side and ignored? Absolutely not. If anything, this critique is more valuable than the positive feedback, as this will help you adapt your content topics and styles to better meet the needs and desires of your customers.
Whatever your brand, the above 6 tips are sure-fire ways to help build engaging content for any community. Why not get in touch to request your free demo of our community engagement platform and see how 6 Circles can help you along the way?