Creating a Resource Library for Your Community
A 7-step guide to building a resource hub for your community.
If your everyday content is a list of your singles, think of a content resource library as a collection of your greatest hits — and who doesn't love a 'best of' album?
Whether you manage a Community of Practice, Product, or Interest, you'll know that a lot of content gets produced, and unfortunately, much of it gets buried beneath conversations happening daily, never to be seen again. How do new members easily access your best work? Similarly, how do veteran members quickly find their favorite content?
Enter: a community resource library.
What is a community resource library?
A community resource library is a curated hub where your members can find the most helpful and valuable resources to help them learn something new, get answers to common questions, or, in a Community of Product, learn how best to use your tools.
This hub goes beyond just having a blog or newsletter, which are typically the domain of the Marketing department (though these things can contribute towards it).
At Commsor’s The Community Club, we've built a resource library that includes relevant pieces from our blog, recaps of our AMA sessions, a database of tools and software, a Community Manager’s salary repository, a job board, and C School courses. (We’ve got more resources on the way, too!).
Why you should have one
There's nothing quite like seeing the best content your team creates out in the wild, adding value to your community and industry.
Kirsti Lang, Content Lead at Commsor, says working towards this goal has been rewarding for both the brand and the community. "Our resource library is mutually beneficial for the brand and our members." she says.
If you manage a Community of Practice like The Community Club, your resource library can be part of the value you create for your members, helping them learn and grow in their field. If your community is tied to your product, your library can help educate your community about how best to use it.
"These resources are part of what draws members to our community, and are a wonderful way of kickstarting conversations there,” Kirsti says. "In terms of value for our brand, they establish our credibility in the industry and showcase the fact that we're thought leaders in the space.”
Izzy Ortiz, Community Manager at The Community Club, agrees, adding that it can also be a huge time-saver in the Community team’s day-to-day work. “You would probably be rich if you had a quarter for every time you’ve seen the same question pop up in your community!” Izzy says. “Answer these regularly asked questions with a resource — it’s an opportunity for you to create meaningful content (that doesn’t get buried in and amongst other community conversations).”
They also suggest including some of these resources within you community onboarding experience. That way, you’re creating value for your members as soon as they join.
"I use content from our resource library almost daily," she says. "Whether it's posting on my LinkedIn feed for my connections to see or sending it through to a prospect after a call — it's a really key piece building credibility for your brand."
For Katrine, having a community resource library to refer to helps her team build a pipeline of potential customers. "I've had prospects contact or send me a LinkedIn message to say they saw one of our resources and would love to chat further. It really works."
Types of resources to add to your library
Depending on your community, your organization, and what content already exists in your ecosystem, you could include the following types of content in your library:
- Written content
- How-to guides
- AMA sessions
- Recordings of workshops, webinars, or past events
1. Do your research
Adopt a Community-Led approach: get input from your community and build with them.
VP of Services at Commsor Erik Martin says treating the creation of your library as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and continuously building and refining it with your community is the best way to create a hub your community will want to use.
Ask your community
Erik suggests creating a low-fidelity version of your resource library, and getting your members involved right away. "Start it as an initial trial and get your community's input, support, and participation. Then, ask your members what kind of resources they would like to see and provide that for them," he says.
Perform a competitor analysis
Research the gaps in your market and ensure that your resource hub closes those gaps for your members instead of replicating what already exists.
"There is no shortage of content and resources out there, so understanding where a need is not currently met is a great way to build a resource hub that your community members will use," says Erik.
2. Organize your existing resources
If your content lives in multiple places and is managed by different people, i.e., your Content or Marketing team, the first step will be to consolidate it all.
A simple way is to create a spreadsheet of the resources that exist somewhere in your ecosystem, organized into categories based on specific keywords, themes, or topics. You could also collect them based on popularity or amount of detail. This will help you figure out which resources are your ‘greatest hits’ and deserve a place in your resource hub.
3. Create new resources
Steps 1 and 2 will help you can identify the gaps in your offering, so you can get to work creating these new resources.
4. Decide on a home for your library
With your content beautifully organized, and your best resources selected and created, it's time to give it a home.
Here are a few things to consider before settling on a place.
Ask your community: Do your research. Send out a survey, or hop on a couple of calls with your superusers. Where is convenient for them?
Find the best platform: You have options. A space on your own website is ideal, but this may require developer and designer input you don’t have. No-code tools like Airtable, Google Drive, DropBox, Notion, Slab, or Coda, are also viable options.
5. Upload and organize your content
Now that you've picked out your home, you need to ensure it's a place your members want to visit often. Your content must be easy to locate, well organized, and regularly updated (more on that below).
When uploading and organizing your content in your new hub, make sure that your best and most popular resources are at the forefront. This will pull your members in and encourage them to explore your hub. To that end, make it easy for them to find related content should they want more information. You can do this by linking out to related articles that may or may not live within your resource library. For example, link out to related blogs, podcasts, or, if applicable, your product that may offer a solution.
Don’t forget to use graphics (you can create these using apps like Canva or Figma for free) to make your hub look cohesive and consistent with your brand’s other offerings.
6. Share your resource library with your members
It's time to make a splash!
If you built your hub alongside your community, they’ll be just as excited about this launch as you are. You could do a soft launch by announcing that it's live on your channels or go big and host an event to showcase your hub live — because who doesn’t love a good launch party?
Remember, this is not a one-and-done thing. Continue to remind your members that your hub exists and is regularly updated with resources they may need.
7. Ensure value for members
The work doesn't stop here. Building with your community is an ongoing process. Keep tabs on questions, themes, and topics that pop up in conversations between your members. This will give you a good idea of what type of resources or content your members are looking for. If you run a Community of Product, this means keeping on top of product updates and making sure your resources reflect the latest info, too.
If your library lives on your website, it's worthwhile investing in an analytics tool. Based on your metrics, you could track page views, session duration, top traffic source, or anything else that is your priority. This will also give you a clear picture of what's working and where you need to make changes.