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2015 Favorite Community Reads

Written by Molly Talbert | on January 6, 2016 at 8:30 AM

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In many ways, 2015 was the year of the private online community. All types of organizations caught on to the virtual community shift -- small and large, nonprofit and commercial. And if they haven’t yet, they’re beginning to realize they should, since communities are here to stay.

Not only does community increase member retention and growth, but it helps with content creation and humanizes your organization.


Along with this shift in interest has been an increase in awesome resources. More thought leaders are writing about community, and more people are connecting community to seemingly disparate subjects. We recently came up with a list of must reads, but wanted to do a broader recap of some of our favorite articles and resources from 2015. Here they are:

1. The 2015 State of Community Management Report, The Community Roundtable.

The Community Roundtable team has so many good resources for community managers. This report is definitely one that every community manager should read; it gives an excellent snapshot of how the industry currently stands. This resource is meant to help community managers validate their approaches, prioritize resources, assess their community’s maturity and create road maps -- plus much more. That’s why we’d highly recommend taking a look at it and checking other resources they highlight in this report.

2. The CMX digital magazine.

If you’re like me, you were bummed not to make it to the most recent CMX Summit in San Francisco. Luckily, they did an excellent recap of the event, compiling them in their digital magazine. The articles are short, but they are a nice overview and can help spur your own in-depth research on something that catches your eye.

3. The CMX Summit YouTube channel.

There, you can access all the filmed sessions from the CMX Summit (they’re about 30 minutes each). Two of my favorites were “The Nature of Communities” by Adam Werbach and “The Global Transition to Community” by Jim Gilliam.

4. Community.is, by Sarah Judd Welch at Loyal.

This is an awesome weekly newsletter. But one of my favorite parts about their newsletter is many articles they link to aren’t specifically about community. They’re about something broader -- like psychology or an internet trend -- but link back to community in a unique way. Those interesting connections really demonstrate that community is everywhere, and I enjoy seeing how Community.is connects the dots. For example, I found this Washington Post Article about newsletters from Community.is. How do you think newsletters pertain to community?

5. When Millennials Take Over, Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant.

What do Millennials have to do with community? Quite a lot (Maddie is a regular guest blogger for us). Since the Millennial generation is the largest in our country’s history, knowing how to incorporate them into your organization is very important. Don’t think of the task as a drag, though. Since Millennials are the most tech savvy generation in the workforce -- and grew up on social media -- they’re a perfect fit for your online community. This book will not only help you work with them, but learn from them as well.

6. The 2015 Community Benchmarking Report, Higher Logic.

We don’t mean to brag, but this comprehensive report is chock full of important information and we’re proud of it. We released our first benchmarking report last year and learned a lot from the process. The 2015 benchmarking report is even more comprehensive, with data illuminating many aspects of community engagement. Do you need to make tough decisions about making your community mobile, increasing engagement and understanding member motivation? This is the document for you.


We barely scratched the surface with this list. 2015 proved to be a fruitful year, filled with great resources and productive conversations. What were your favorite community reads from 2015? Post in the comments and we’ll keep the discussion going. 

Topics: Online Community Management

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