Research has shown that user-generated content can be more valuable in some cases than the content that brands create. It’s important for brands to go beyond simply developing content. When you create a way for readers to discuss the content you are publishing, you change your blog from an article repository into a thriving community. Here are some of the immediate benefits of doing so:
While there are obvious benefits to having a blog community, major challenges are sure to arise. The biggest, by far, is moderating the comments your blog content receives. Depending on the content management system you use, you may be able to install various add-ons to help automatically filter real comments from spam.
The second challenge is dealing with people who want to use your blog as a forum to air complaints. In some ways, this can be a positive thing. Instead of chasing down negative reviews of your brand in hopes that you will be able to respond to them, blog moderators can use the community to demonstrate excellent reputation management and response.
What is the difference between comments and community? Interaction. Start by asking your readers to comment on your content with their thoughts, questions, and experiences.
However, when you ask your readers to comment on your content, you must be prepared to respond to their comments. Creating a two-way dialogue is how you turn the reader into a member of the community. This dialogue helps readers bond with your blog’s authors, which will bring them back again and again to consume more content and engage in meaningful discussions.
It’s important not to get caught up in technology. You’ll find there are lots of ways to power your community, including your CMS’s base comment system, Facebook comments, Google+ comments, forums, and invitations to engage on your Facebook page. Your goal is to find something that is both easy for your readers to use and easy for you to moderate and collect valuable audience insights from.
Blog communities do not solely exist within the confines of your blog comments. Community members may reach out to you through other channels to discuss your content, such as on your blog’s Facebook page. Everyone has their preference as to how they would like to consume your content and where they would like to discuss it. By being open to this and not lamenting the fact that your community is also spread across your social media pages, you will be able to build a strong community for your blog.
To encourage the growth of your blog community elsewhere, invite comments on social media posts linking to your content. Ask people their thoughts about the topic at hand; there’s a good chance they will visit your blog, read the post, and then choose to comment there or on your social media post.
How do you use insights from your brand’s blog community? Please share in the comments and become a part of the Skyword community!
Interested in more content like this? Subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter for the latest news and perspectives on content marketing.