Content creation - and managing user generated content creation - is a big part of being a community builder. But how do you manage your content in an organized way that increases engagement?
As a leader in your community, you set the example for how to interact within it. Whether consciously or not, members see how you respond to comments and what types of content you upload and will follow suit. So how is your content strategy telling members how to behave?
When your content strategy is ad hoc - adding documents, webinars, blog posts, etc., as they happen rather than on a regular schedule - you actually might be dampening your community’s engagement. Without consistency, members never learn what to do and get stage fright because there aren’t set standards - no one wants to accidentally make a mistake and embarrass themselves in front of everyone.
"When we fall into scattered and scrambling content creation or engagement post distribution, not only does it eat up community manager time, it also inhibits the flow of a uniform and cohesive content stream,” said Georgina. “This lack of consistency is felt by members. The absence of a stable engagement framework makes it unclear to them how to appropriately engage."
That’s why it’s so important for the community manager to create standards through their own engagement in the community. And a community editorial calendar can help you bring the content consistency that your community needs.
Although the concept is similar, a community editorial calendar looks different than a blogging editorial calendar. Rather than only focusing on blog posts, a community editorial calendar can run the gamut when it comes to content types. Since your community houses so much diverse content, from webinars and online courses to AMAs and post-event discussions, your community editorial calendar should include variety.
Out of all the content that your community churns out, you need to set the standard for how to organize and present it. And by organizing content correctly, you’ll funnel individual members into the content that they need or want to see.
"There is a lot going on in a successful community.” said Georgina. “It can be tough for members to find their way. So let’s do the hard work for them shall we? We can funnel them into a pathway we intend them to follow. An editorial calendar will allow you to channel fresh streams of content into regularly recurring programmatic anchors that your members know how to navigate."
Here’s a list of potential content types that Georgina recommends:
This list could vary depending on what your community is like and what resonates with members. While it can be very valuable to have many different content types in your community, without a calendar for guidance, juggling so many items can exacerbate the inconsistency and burden the community manager.
Rather than delighting your members through surprise, the aim of a community editorial calendar is to delight through stability.
At Super Forum, Georgina shared her formula for creating a community editorial calendar that will ease the community manager’s job, create stability, and spur engagement amongst members. Here are her tips:
By creating a cyclical calendar, you’ll always have both consistency and fresh content. Watch how the community reacts and listen to what topics interest them the most. Since your editorial calendar is in such short segments, you can quickly adapt the next segment to have content pertinent to current trends.