Reed - great question, similar to what The specified item was not found. posted on, so just know that you aren't alone! You bring up a good point in weighing the amount of content needed for community launch, and the resources/effort necessary to provide it. One tactic is to look at existing content from your "static" web presence and see what content can be made "conversational". Typically, communities are an extension of one's online presence. If you can bring that content into the community that will allow for you to leverage existing investments in content.
Regardless, some time will need to be spent by community managers to seed the community with conversations. Part of that process is to invite pre-launch members to connect with each other, start discussions, and take ownership of the topics. With Clearstep, we launched to our Customer Advisory Board members and asked them to look at the content that was present (only just about a dozen articles) and provide feedback. We also made a call to internal SME's (thanks Gia!!) who seeded portions of the community with open ended discussions.
I'm a big proponent of having a content programming plan. Meaning that even after the community is up and running, you as a community manager has a plan to continually add new content/conversations/etc. to make the community engaging. You will start seeing this happen over the next two weeks on Clearstep.
Now, I'd love to hear what other community managers have done to seed the community with content...
What we ask our community managers to do is think of the first 5 things they'll publish within the community to share at the launch. It seems to strike a good balance between getting them to think about what they want to share, solicit feedback on, and collaborate on. But, it's not so overwhelming that they feel like they've been asked to have it all figured out before they go-live.
When the "first 5" seems to be too much, we ask them to think along the lines of this:
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- What hot topics will bring your community together?
- If you could have the answer to one tough question, what would that question be?
Another thing we ask them to commit to is 3 or more community managers, so that when they're "stuck" on ideas for moving forward, whether it be in relation to additional content, answering questions, or redesigning their community, they have each other, as well as us, to lean on for brainstorming what comes next.
Hope this helps you in your efforts!
Thanks for the great advice, Barry and Jamie. We'll definitely consider these strategies as we build our new communities. I look forward to any other advice that members have to share!
Thanks Reed, Barry, and Jamie.
This is helpful information as we are starting to think about how we build communities.