A community consumes a lot of content, and if you are just starting it might seem difficult to create enough content for your community.
But, content planning is important when starting a community and it doesn’t have to be hard. You can make sure you have relevant/fun content your members will appreciate without breaking the bank, while also making plans for additional content efforts for the future.
Content Curation for Community
One of my favorite aspects of content is curation, bringing content together for your audience. This is an important skill because people want to save time by finding all of the content they need in one place when possible.
This is why an author can have a blog they write on everyday, and bring it all together in a book that sells. No one wants to spend the time to bring it together, organize it, and present it. But, if you have the time, you can do it for you community, without spending money on creating content.
Curation includes bringing together blog posts, articles, tweets, images, webinars, podcasts, videos, downloads, presentations, themes, and any other form of content you can find.
Where do you find content for curation?
Archives of blog posts on popular websites in your industry. – Every influencer in your industry likely puts out some kind of content, visit their archives, whether it’s a blog, Youtube channel, or Slack group, and start saving it for future shares in your community.
- Hashtags – look at industry tweets and posts on Instagram, some of the hashtags are very interesting and can help you come up with creative ideas for the community to use for discussion.
- Feedly – add the top industry blogs and check in daily to see what the new content is. You can also look at all of the old content on these blogs and see what’s been the most popular (great topics for hot discussions).
- News – Top news is always good for discussion.
- Course sites – I’ve recently started looking at course sites like Teachable, Udemy, Skillshare, etc for ideas to discuss in community.
- Books – look at the table of contents for ideas for discussions (do not steal content, just ideaize from this).
- Reddit – look at topics in similar communities, you can look at Facebook Groups as well.
- Competitor’s Social – Watching your competitors and related businesses on social media should also give you ideas for content.
If you or your company has content in any form, you can reuse it for the community. Look at high traffic pages on the site to see what was popular and take parts of it for the members to read. You can also look at your most popular social media posts. All of your best content can be re-used to help the people in your forums.
Think of different types of content, not just different mediums, for instance:
- How to’s – how do experts and influencers do difficult tasks in your industry?
- Debates – what do your members take different sides on? ex: Apple or Android, Cats or Dogs, City or Country Living, Books or Device Reading, etc.
- Videos – Youtube is a great place to look for your industry, influencers, and experts on your topics.
- Demos – specifically from related companies and tools/software.
Content That Involves Little to No Prep
Another subsection of content I use for communities is content that involves little to no prep. This is content that can quickly increase engagement and help a community grow without my own efforts.
For instance, this could be an AMA with an influencer – most of the work you do is getting them to say yes, show up, and promoting it to your community. The content then comes from the questions being asked and answered.
Debates work for this as well. Come up with a list of topics your industry is either undecided on or has solid arguments on both side. Once you’ve got it posted, ask members from either side to share their opinion and reasoning, then share to social media.
Recommendations – communities love to share their expertise in choosing the best tools, methods, and services with each other. Posting a question asking for recommendations or even reviews/feedback will quickly get a community to talk openly about their preferences.
Accepting Blog Posts – Let the community know that they are welcome to submit content for publication on the site. You should take the time to edit and promote this content when it’s ready, by making sure you distribute the content, you’ll help the author gain exposure.
Content for the Community’s Future
I use content curation to quickly bring in content for a community with out having to create it myself or with the use of company resources. The first goal is to get the community active.
As the community is active, you can start looking at your data to see what the community likes to read and engage with. You’ll want to create more of this content.
Now that you have more time to plan you can get this content professionally created in the form of videos, podcasts, and lengthy articles. Since you know the community appreciates these topics, you’ll be sure to have their interest when it is published.
The important thing to keep in mind with content is to create a content calendar. While I’ll use a future post to go further in depth on this topic, I’ve found a spreadsheet or Trello board to work well for this purpose.
Your calendar should list out topics for discussion, specific topic copy, and curated content pieces to use in your community. By keeping a calendar of this content, you’ll always be sure to have content to share and engage with your community.