Do you know that 76% of internet users are involved in online communities?
Online communities are an excellent way to foster stronger ties with your target audience.
It promotes trust and growth for your business.
And you know what?
Starting and managing online communities using content marketing is a good idea.
I'm sure you heard this... "members will come for the content, but they’ll stay for the community."
It makes sense, right?
In fact, it's hard to talk about community without talking about content. Or vice versa.
They're equally important and complement each other.
That is why content marketing and community engagement should work hand in hand.
Because a community is inspired by good content.
And content marketing helps you serve your customers better.
When done correctly, it can have tremendous benefits for your business.
So take time to invest in community building strategies.
And combine that with good content marketing and it will spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s.
In this blog, we will discuss the benefits and the steps you need to take to get started.
Ready? Let's start with...
The Benefits of Creating Communities
Online communities are beneficial for businesses and customers for a number of reasons...
Encourage Product Improvement
The best way to know what product improvements need to be made is to ask old and new customers.
You can ask them what they love about your product and what they hate about it.
In an online community, you can freely ask members of your own community.
And they tell you how you can improve your product for them.
The second benefit...
You Learn About Other People
With an online community, you'll be able to understand your target market.
You know how they feel before and after your services. You will know what they need and want.
You'll discover their pain points so you can enhance your offerings.
And you can improve and make your community strategies effective based on their responses and opinions.
This leads to my next point...
It Gives Them The Emotional Benefit
It's important to understand this emotional benefit. So you can take full advantage of your online community.
People's need for connection is innate. Psychology studies reveal how deeply ingrained this need for connection is within humans.
Connecting meaningfully with others is more important to people's brains. Even more than power or other intrinsic incentives... such as money and fame.
In this survey, you can see that a greater sense of genuine connection is desired by 36%.
This means that the need to have meaningful connections and conversations is important.
It will help your business and in the same way, it nurtures your customer base.
Relationships Matter A Lot
It isn't enough to just rely on the functional attributes of your business or products and services anymore.
You must take additional steps to create loyal customers by nurturing relationships.
Connect with customers' identities to form emotional bonds. And creating communities will help you achieve this.
Moving on to the next benefit...
Strengthen Your Brand
Contributing to online communities allows you to engage with your target market.
Yet the potential impact your involvement can have on brand awareness is often overlooked.
Think of it this way: If you position yourself (via your content) as an expert in your industry... you're increasing the number of relevant people viewing your content.
People who are interested in the topic you're discussing will be exposed to your brand.
Especially if you create content that your community enjoys.
In turn, your business will become much more prominent in their minds... compared to a competitor that doesn't participate in a community.
The result will be an increase in your brand awareness.
Let's get to the next...
Queries Can Be Transformed Into Relevant Content
It is a good idea to use their questions as market research if you notice that they are all asking the same questions.
You can then develop your content out of their queries.
You can also respond to their questions using your blog posts and other content you have.
Now that you know the benefits of having a community, let's get into our main topic...
How Can You Build A Community Using Content Marketing?
1. Aim to Educate
Your content should be educational for your prospects and current customers alike. Most people join communities to learn.
And when it is done right, it becomes much more than just people merely reading your content.
It develops into a community of like-minded people. These people come together to learn, share, and live their values.
They become partners who are part of a vital and meaningful network... that binds them as individuals and you, as a brand.
This leads me to...
2. Create Shareable Content
Shareable content is content that engages readers so well... they want to share it on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Content that is shareable resonates deeply with members.
When a piece of content is shareable, it:
- Supports a belief or challenges an opposing viewpoint.
- Arouses passionate discussion
- Boosts the sharer's credibility
Consider which topic you will write about in your content. It should inform the community the most.
You must evoke an emotional response in your audience in order to create shareable content.
It doesn't matter whether it connects with your readers on a deeper level. Or spark a debate in the comments section.
So don't hesitate to share your expertise and valuable insights about certain topics in your community.
You can also share some form of entertainment.
As long as it is good, mind-stimulating, or entertaining... they are shareable content that can benefit your community.
You can't miss the third step...
3. Gather Community Opinions
Asking your community to give input on your content is one way to engage them.
Ask them about their thoughts on a certain topic.
Contact them for research. Email them and ask to do a short survey. And post questions on social.
This will assure them that you are paying attention to them.
This will also give them the impression that their opinions matter. And that they are important in the community.
4. Highlight Community Members
There are many diverse ways to add customer-focused content.
Try to include regular customers or do community spotlights.
You can feature them in one of your blogs or posts.
For example, you can interview a member or a customer.
Or you can also create graphics or visuals that highlight customer testimonials.
And it's also a good idea to ask them to contribute an article or blog post.
Your content will be not just your organization.
You share the spotlight with the members of the community.
This will allow both you and your contributors to gain a wider reach.
If you want to go the extra mile, you could add a shout-out to them in the final piece of your blog.
Acknowledge their contribution to your community and business.
Most likely, they'll be flattered and grateful for the opportunity. And in the long run, will also benefit them.
Plus, it gives you and your audience the opportunity to learn something new.
Next is valuable...
5. Write for a Specific Audience
Think about a specific person as you develop your content ideas.
Do you segment your target audience or community members? Create buyer (or community) persona.
By this, you can diversify your content. At the same time, you can provide value to someone.
When you write, pick a single topic that meets the needs of one particular group at a time.
Then check how much engagement you get.
The next point is crucial...
6. Engage Productively With Relevant Content
Engage your intended audience with content that helps and develops them.
And focus on user-generated content that will be beneficial to the members of your community.
Hydro Flask, a known water bottle brand, engages its community by sharing stories they know their audience can resonate with..
Profiles of travelers, adventurers, and life-embracing people are being featured in their content.
And it makes their community participants so engaged.
And it gives them a sense of worth making their brand stand out without really selling products.
And they also make use of user-generated content to support its social media.
Also, the use of engaging hashtags encourages consumers to be a part of the brand.
This brings me to...
7. Keep Members Interested
A community can be a place for online social gatherings.
It is a place where members want to keep returning.
As a brand, it's your responsibility to keep things interesting.
You or your community manager can facilitate meaningful conversations with your community members.
Take for example, Buffer community with more than 4,000 members.
Buffer's community grew rapidly on Slack before moving to a dedicated space in 2019.
Buffer users can participate in community activities.
They have weekly Community Mastermind discussions.
This is where members exchange strategies and pieces of advice about their businesses.
They have discussions held monthly via Zoom. These meetings are facilitated by their own members.
During each six-month period, members can apply as community hosts.
Community hosts welcome new members, work on special projects and facilitate discussion.
Take note of this...
8. Find Ways To Reach Out
Getting in touch with members of your community in a way that works for them is crucial.
Perhaps your audience prefers to read and will appreciate a weekly blog post more.
Do they lead a busy life? If so, maybe posting videos on social media would be a good idea.
You can also try to use a poll feature in your community.
By using this feature, you can learn what type of content they are most interested in.
And you can encourage more interaction.
We're down to #9...
9. Maintain Consistency
Getting involved in your community needs consistency.
Showing up on a regular basis will help your members build trust with you.
It's hard to build trust with someone you don't interact with on a regular basis. Do you agree?
Keep your followers engaged by keeping an ongoing schedule.
So they will keep returning to your community and make sure you are an active part of it.
Also, it will give your marketing a human touch and a sense of authenticity.
These are important to community peeps.
Don't you dare forget #10...
10. Develop And Implement A Content Strategy That Works
A content marketing strategy can establish your community as an authoritative source.
If your visitors find your content valuable, unique, and highly engaging... they will join your community.
How can you make sure your content will be valuable to members and visitors? Ask.
You have nothing to lose by asking.
Offer specific, useful content like how-to's, tutorials, and guides.
Doing so will showcase your own expertise and knowledge in your industry.
And this is beneficial to your community marketing.
Ultimately, it will attract new visitors as well.
There you go... I hope you find this blog helpful.
10 Vital Tips To Build A Community Through Content Marketing
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