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11 Must Reads for Every Community Manager

Written by Molly Talbert | on October 6, 2015 at 10:30 AM

The internet is awash in resources and it can be overwhelming. Between blogs and books, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn influencers, it’s hard to know where to start for good community resources. Plus, in an age where everyone is a “journalist,” it’s hard to know what counts as credible. In the words of the wise President Abraham Lincoln, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet …”

To make your life easier, we compiled a list of some of our favorite resources. These books and blogs are tried and true for many of us in the Orange Army, from our community managers to our bloggers.

Take a look at what we’ve read:

1. “Social Networking for Nonprofits: Increasing Engagement in a Mobile and Web 2.0 World,”

Andy Steggles, President and Chief Customer Officer at Higher Logic

Although this book is geared towards nonprofits and associations, it’s a good resource for all types of communities. Andy not only explains what communities are and how they’re useful for organizations, but lays out an easy process for managers to take a community from inception to launch, and ultimately, to self sustainability.

2. The Community Roundtable

This blog is definitely one of our top resources – we frequently partner with the Community Roundtable and highly regard their thought leadership. They also have a regular podcast that is a fun alternative to reading a post.

3. “Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better and More Active Online Communities”

Richard Millington

This is an excellent book on the mechanics of community – from the overview basics to the gritty details. Richard Millington supports his tactics with scientific studies and basic psychological principles. Another great related resource is Richard Millington’s blog, FeverBee.com. It offers a new soundbite every day that often sparks interesting ideas.

4. Online Community Results

Ben Martin

We’ve done a lot of work with Ben Martin and trust his insight. His blog is regularly updated and filled with rich content on a range of topics related to community management.

5. “Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities”

Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson is another community expert we work with often (she regularly contributes to our blog and will be at HUG Super Forum in October). Her book, which is based on her own experiences, is a good step-by-step guide for building community.

6. ManagingCommunities.com

Even though the site looks a little old school, this frequently updated blog has lots of good ideas for many types of communities. Patrick O’Keefe, who writes the blog, is seasoned community professional with over 15 years experience in building communities.

7. CMX Blog

We love the CMX series (and blog) so much that we’re bringing David Sprinks, CEO of CMX, to our HUG Super Forum this year - check out the de-brief on his keynote here. There are many interesting contributors and the blogs are not only well written but often have relevant videos and outbound links to deepen your learning.

8. My Community Manager

Who better to follow than a community of community managers? That’s what this blog/community is all about. There are also many recorded Google Hangouts amongst the members, which creates a fireside chat feeling. It’s a good way of getting first hand knowledge from experts.

9. “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Dale Carnegie

You may be surprised to see a classic on this list, but hear us out – online community management may be new, but people are still driven by the same things. As a community manager, it’s vital you know how to connect with people (and help other people connect). This book stands the test of time and can help interpersonal relationships even in the digital age.

10. Community.is

Community.is is another good blog for anything community/community management related. Not only do they have detail oriented posts, but they often look at the larger implications of communities both online and off.

11. Evan Hamilton

Evan Hamilton, who is currently the Community Lead at Coursera, is an expert on communities. His frequently updated blog is full of information and unique insight into the industry.

12. BONUS RESOURCE!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our own blog. Sign up for our blog digest to make sure you’re always up to date.


This is just a sampling of all the great resources that are out in the world of online community. In addition to industry blogs and books, as Dale Carnegie proves, there are many resources that weren’t written specifically for this industry but offer useful insight. Community management is an interdisciplinary job, so any resource can help – psychology, motivation and grassroots movements are just three examples.

What are some of your favorite community resources?

 Community Roundtable's 2017 State of Community Management Report

Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement

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