When planning ways to engage your community, you often think about content and resources that will give your members valuable information.
One source of content ideas could be the marketing collateral your company creates. But while marketing content may have great information and ideas within, it may not have the right feel or tone for your community.
You’ll also find discrepancies between conversations in the community vs. what’s in the marketing collateral. The topics your community discusses may be different from the marketing topics, and there’s a reason for this — marketing content can have different goals than community conversations.
For example, marketing content is often focused on prospecting strategies, whereas community conversations are a direct indicator of what your community — which likely includes current customers — wants to know more about.
So where are you supposed to find ideas for creating content that resonates with your community? Sometimes the best content for your community comes from your community.
When you look at your community, you already see the bounty of great ideas, conversation pieces, thoughtful questions, and so much more. It’s a direct window into the questions community members have, what topics they’re passionate about, and what they want to know more about. With community-sourced content, you’re creating content you know the community wants because they’ve told you so, either indirectly or directly (more on this below).
One of the best results of community-sourced content is the engagement it’ll bring to your community. Members who contribute to the content, or even just share quotes, will want to share their involvement with their network. Not only does this elevate your members, it also increases your community’s reach to their network every time they share their involvement.
When asking contributors to share their involvement with your community content, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. You can do this by creating a document that hosts best practices around when, where, and how to share. Then send them calendar reminders to share at the right day and time. Make sure to communicate this process with them so they know to expect the document and calendar invites.
Another benefit is that more members will want to raise their hands — they saw the work and they want to be involved. This involvement could be as simple as members starting more intentional and thoughtful posts to more people engaging with the actual content on social networks.
One of my favorite ways to source community content is from hyper-active threads. A busy thread means there’s a healthy discussion going on over a topic that seems to matter to your members. You can directly quote members who commented on the thread (don’t forget to get their approval first!), and you could use those quotes and general conversation topics to put together a powerful piece of content that came directly from the community.
Then share the content on social media to drive views and engagement.
At Sales Hacker, we would often pull quotes from engaging threads and highlight them on LinkedIn. This was a great resource because it enticed prospective members into the community purely by the engaging and exciting quote.
To remove any doubt about what your members want to learn more about — ask them! You’ll get direct feedback from the people you’re creating this content for. There are a few ways you can do this:
Community-sourced content is only as good as the planning around it — once you’ve gotten content inspiration from your community, you need to plan how you’ll use that content, what collateral should go with it, and where you’ll share it.
Your members and prospective members all consume content differently, so why not create different types of content that share the same conversation? For example, you could share the article on LinkedIn, while also posting questions from it on Twitter, and at the same time making a funny TikTok about it.
You could use content from these active threads to create:
After establishing how you want to share your content, take time to edit and beef up quotes and snippets.
Let’s look at what we did at Sales Hacker: I would find a cool quote and send it to the content team to post. They would share either a graphic with the quote on it or some sentences that gave context to the quote. From there, we would end the post with a call to action that asked those engaged to share their thoughts in the comments or to share the post.
Take the time to create a process on how you gather, test, and build specific content pieces from the community. Evaluate what your community is already talking about and what you learned from interviews or surveys. Choose the topics, source the conversations, pick the appropriate avenue to share that content, and plan how you can highlight those assets in a way that encourages and motivates members.
By taking the time upfront to create a strong plan, you will save yourself lots of time during the actual content creation process.