Monthly Archives: July 2015

Online communities: you get out what you put in

arrowMany online communities go through an initial pain barrier.They are launched in a wave of enthusiasm yet without sustained commitment participation can fall away. Why?

Too often, managing a community is thought of – though it never should be – as an extra item on someone’s overflowing “To Do” list. We all know that “To Dos” only get done regularly if they become integrated into the daily routine. So it’s time to think differently – managing an online community is not an extra chore. It is a brand new operating system for information and insights directly from and about your community members, whether they are business prospects or simply enthusiasts bound together in a common cause.

Success in building an online community is based on reassuringly old and trusted principles – you get out what you put in. So let’s apply some good old common sense. First, just banish for a moment all the tactical talk of the bewildering array of many social media channels available for your community (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and hundreds of others.). Secondly, step back from the never ending stream of information pulsing through the veins of each. Finally, just keep asking the same 3 basic questions of any community: “Is online where our community wants to be?”; “What does our community want?” and “Why would they want to participate?”

  1. Where are your community members? If they really don’t use online communities, then don’t use them. It’s simple. Don’t though make it an excuse for inaction – there are few business or leisure interests for which this is still true. Concentrate on one main channel through which your community prefers to operate.
  2. What do they want? Your community could be the quickest and most comprehensive resource you will ever have ever have for understanding all sorts of trends affecting the way your community thinks and acts. So ask them for their views to find out more.
  3. Why should they want to take part? When a community member isn’t sure of a view or perspective, you want him or her to share. To do this thought, they need to know that the content you are sharing is about the issues that directly affect them.

When it comes to online communities you only get out what you put in. So make the leap – take the online community off the bottom of your “To Do” list and instead make it part of your daily routine. The rewards will flow.

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Merriborn Media is a business dedicated to developing clever content, engaged online communities and effective collaborative working and learning for clients. Both Merriborn Media and its founder Trevor Merriden were ranked in the Top 3 of social learning evangelists for 2016 in a recent major study.

Content will never be King – until you take it seriously

content kingHigh-quality, well thought through content has never been as important as it is now, yet it’s never been harder to find. The evidence is all around – we’re being bombarded from all angles by a host of different channels polluted with self-serving baloney. And “baloney” is putting it kindly.

Is Content King? No – only Great Content is King. I have been, am and will always be unashamedly passionate about the value of great content for your business. But you can – and must – pay lots of time and attention to it. Why? It’s important because it sets the tone for everything that happens afterwards. The services that you sell are central to any successful business and the simple, clear and direct messages you send out about them is the way in which you let the world know.

Notice I wrote “messages” in that last sentence – not the “media” you use. The media we use to convey messages have changed greatly in recent years. They will change some more – media will come and media will go – but clear messages and great stories will outlast them all.

Content is also important because an elevator pitch today feels like a luxury of time. Instead, your time to make a pitch is now the few seconds it takes the buyer inside the lift to push the button to slide the doors shut – with you potentially left on the outside. Under this kind of pressure, you don’t need to talk quickly. But you do need to talk clearly and simply about the difference you could make.

Content will never be King – unless you take the time and effort to make it so.

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Merriborn Media is a business dedicated to developing clever content, engaged online communities and effective collaborative working and learning for clients. Both Merriborn Media and its founder Trevor Merriden were ranked in the Top 3 of social learning evangelists for 2016 in a recent major study.