April 25, 2012

Are you building an engaged community with content?

Image on BigStockPhoto by David523

Or, why your organization needs a content marketing strategy

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, businesses, Web publishers, educators, journalists.

John HaydonYou understand that there’s more to engagement than simple small talk. You also understand that when folks are truly engaged, they tell their friends about the good work you’re doing, which is much more effective than if you told their friends.

So who’s doing a good job of creating an engaged community with content? Here are three examples:

1The American Cancer Society has created an entire community around achieving victory over cancer by talking about “creating a world with more birthdays.”

2Share Our Strength hopes to end childhood hunger by 2015. This mission is immediate, heartfelt and simply stated. Their people talk about the line they’ve drawn in the sand.

3Epic Change is talking about gratitude – not about their organization – and why you should donate.

Creating a content marketing strategy

Here are a few thoughts on creating a content marketing strategy. Please (and I do mean please) add your ideas in the comments.

  • Understand why they donate. The real reason. Not the one your board talks about.
  • Understand why they tell their friends. Maybe donating to your cause makes them look more altruistic?
  • Know what’s engaging the customers of your competition. Is there something they’re saying that’s not being heard?
  • Talk to your employees. Beyond the paycheck and benefits – what’s the real reason they show up every day at 8:30 am?

Continue reading

May 10, 2010

How to build a sustainable community



Facilitate, share — and enlist your members for help

Amy Sample WardThis is a guest post I wrote for the Online Community Report.

Ilove my community. Whether I’m talking about my role at NetSquared, my blog, or my network of friends, I am inspired every day and find value in, and rewards for, my participation. Regardless of whether I feel like, or am trying to be, a community builder, the community always provides opportunities for others to join me. These spaces are built on distributed power and that makes the community a moving, growing, living thing that I am a part of, rather than a weight, trouble, or burden that I’m responsible for.

But, it ain’t easy. Being a Community Builder (I refuse, on principle, to use the word Manager) is a lot of work. So, how do you do it without losing sleep or sanity?

Here’s my 3×3 to Sustainable Community Building.

1. There are no shortcuts

Lead by example
Interact, use tools, and create and share content the way you want your community members to do so. Seeing you leave a comment, or share a resource, will model the desired behavior so others can see what to do (especially if they are new to social media or new to your community) and how to do it (especially if they are new to your tool or platform).

Operate in public
When it comes to “administrator” or “moderator” activity, always conduct it in public unless it requires or involves personal information. Don’t send a private welcome message – do it in public so others can benefit (they too can see, join in, and find someone new)! Don’t remove or edit contributions, but leave a comment to suggest how they can be improved. If there’s offensive or inappropriate behavior, note it in public so others can learn what’s OK and what isn’t, and feel empowered to help moderate as a community. Continue reading

January 17, 2010

How to grow your blog with guest posts

This is part of the series 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media.

John HaydonIn the above 2-minute video, I talk about why guest blogging could be a critical addition to your blog.

One benefit of guest posts is to further a relationship. You both build a relationship with other bloggers and expose your blog to a completely new audience — a great way to attract new readers and get new RSS subscribers.

Here are some guest post strategies I’ve used:

  1. Read the blog of the person who you want partner with. Get to know his or her readers and content.
  2. Be sincere and genuine with your interest. A long-term partnership will not blossom if you lead with a hidden, personal agenda.
  3. Add valuable comments to their blog – and not “Great post, here’s a cool link.”
  4. Continue reading

December 4, 2009

Using hashtags to enhance community

John HaydonOn Tuesday I’ll be leading an online session for Philanthopy.com about building communities on Twitter (follow @Philanthropy for details).

Communities do not just happen. And they certainly don’t happen overnight. You have to have something important to talk about. And you have to be prepared to consistently connect people together over a period of months.

But Twitter seems like a big mess, doesn’t it? With thousands of tweets going off every hour, about hundreds of different topics, how do you build a cohesive group of fans?

The answer is hashtags.

Hashtags are a way to funnel specific discussions about a topic into a coherent thread, sort of like using Twitter to tune into specific radio frequencies. But not everyone knows how to create successful chat sessions.

In the screencast at top, I outline the basics of managing a hashtag chat on Twitter:

October 23, 2009

Using nonprofit tech to benefit society

Amy Sample Ward on nonprofit technology from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaJust before we launched Socialbrite.org, I met Amy Sample Ward in person for the first time. Amy’s a whirlwind of energy and passion about all things np tech (nonprofit technology), and I was so impressed that I immediately asked her to join the Socialbrite team.

But not before I got her to sit still for a few minutes to talk about nonprofit tech, Net Tuesdays — Amy is the global community builder for NetSquared — and being a catalyst for social change.

NP tech is social change work, whether you’re a nonprofit or an individual who wants to change her community or you’re a corporation that’s working on social benefit through a corporate social responsibility campaign, she says.

More than 36 cities around the world now hold monthly events as part of Net Tuesday, the offline component of NetSquared, and if you’re within driving distance, you should stop by and meet other change agents in your community. (Sarah Kennon does an outstanding job of organizing the Net Tuesdays in San Francisco.) Continue reading