Community is a team sport

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I spent the last few weeks traveling to conferences to spread the word about the concept of Content Potluck. If you are visiting my website then you already know what it stands for. If you are new, let’s just say it explores the concept of content strategy as a team sport for your community.

Community is a team sport

I was really lucky this year to present this content potluck concept to two vastly different audiences with the help of my esteemed colleague Laurel Nicholes. (Both recordings are available here if you are curious.)

Content Potluck Concept:

The gist of the Content Potluck is that your customers don’t care where the content originates. They also don’t want to simply consume content; they want to co-create in a community setting. Communities flourish when they have authentic, helpful voices providing a variety of content with a consistent level of quality.

Add Voices to your community:

The fun thing is, adding voices to your community is really easy. A multitude of voices brings authenticity and engagement to your community, which in turn will resonate with your audience. It is not sustainable to have one or two people writing in a multitude of voices and levels of expertise, so don’t try to trick your audience. Simply consider your internal community and your content strategy as a team sport, then go for the hunt of the right voices.

Finding your contributors Phase I:

Think of your obvious content writers such as your marketing team, the training team or your product managers and technical writers. It is their daily job to create content that promotes the brand, and support the product(s) or the company. It should be fairly easy to convince these guys to publish their content on the community. After all it is the public knowledge hub for your products and brand.

But at this point you have not really diversified your content strategy yet. What you did, is centralize your publication efforts, which is a great achievement. Most of your customers will thank you for simplifying their lives by offering one spot for all documentation, training and instructional content such as videos, white papers and infographics to name a few.

Finding your contributors Phase II:

With the content potluck model, I challenge you to think laterally.

Think of the teams and colleagues that create content that is never seen by the public.

Your customer service team tackles calls and emails with a wealth of knowledge. Your professional services team and sales engineers meet with clients pre- and post- sales cycles. They answer technical questions, resolve implementation issues and so much more. If you could only capture their knowledge in some way or another, you would enrich your community and your customer’s experience in an impactful way.

With a community you can do that! Build those connections to people who are less likely to contribute to the community. Ask them if they mind if you capture the nuggets of wisdom that they usually share on a one-to-one basis with customers. Help them publish blog posts, capture a quick how-to video, release a code snippet or command lines as customer tool kits that normally don’t see the light of day beyond an email exchange between two people. Help your colleagues share their knowledge and you will find supportive and willing participants in the most untapped teams imaginable.

The goal is to Win:

All the content you can glean from these undiscovered sources will add value, voices and authenticity to your community. In exchange the contributors will receive kudos and gratitude from your community members. Such behaviour often spurs participation by other colleagues and departments. Before you know it, you will have a diverse and rich content strategy, and your community will love you for it.

It is a Team Sport, you are not alone!

Community Managers often think that everything has to be done by themselves.  If you stop and think, you will realize that managing a community can not be done by one person alone. It is just too much to ask and it is also not what your community wants from you. Don’t be afraid to enlist your colleagues help to join your efforts.

Community content strategy is a team sport. Everyone can contribute and gain at the same time. Most importantly, you (and your customers) can only win if everyone is participating.

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