Content marketers are always looking for inspiration and advantages to deliver relevant content that creates better user experiences. You have many tools at your disposal, from content analytics to trending topics to your product roadmaps. However, hearing from the community itself can be the most valuable feedback.
So, how do you harness community knowledge to create content that resonates, earns credibility, and enhances user experiences? Let’s find out.
What Is Community Knowledge?
First, let’s define what community knowledge is. It refers to the gathering of users online who engage in the acquisition and exchange of knowledge around a specific topic. Organizations often create these communities on their website or as social media groups. These communities may also be part of a knowledge base around products with questions posed and answered.
Alternatively, users may develop these independently because the user base is so large. These communities are harder for a company to manage and moderate. Thus, if you want to harness the information provided, you’ll be better off creating your own, inviting users, and defining parameters.
A community knowledge space can be a key tool for customer retention as well. After all, acquiring a new customer is six to seven times more expensive than keeping an existing one. Retained customers also buy more often and spend more than new ones.
Community Knowledge Development Best Practices
Whether you have a community or are developing one, there are some essential best practices to keep in mind:
Just as you wouldn’t build a product without a roadmap, you should develop a community with a blueprint in mind. Planning the structure is imperative to how easy it will be for users to engage and how you’ll extract learnings. Some structural considerations include:
- Categories or topics
- Metadata for searching and browsing ease
- How users will become members (validation)
- Flexibility in structure to introduce new topics
- Who will act as a moderator
Remove Barriers to Posting
When users access the community, they often want quick answers. There is something that’s keeping them from using your product. If you have too many restrictions on who can pose questions and moderator approvals, the clock slows, and users become frustrated.
These restrictions also dilute the value of the community and the discourse between users. Those conversations will be crucial to content planning as you attempt to produce articles that address common issues.
If there aren’t security concerns, then having more freedom is better.
Encourage Users to Join the Community
For a community to provide insights, it needs members. You’ll want to develop outreach to encourage users to join, telling them the benefits. Talk to them about what they can learn and how they can contribute to the community. Assure them that their opinions and expertise are welcome. You can even indicate that your company will use it to improve products and develop content that will be helpful to them.
Once you have a community that’s thriving and engaged users, you can use this information to develop content that creates a better user experience.
A Knowledge Community Needs a Strategy
The first part of your strategy is getting users into the community, which we covered above. You’ll need to define a further approach to ensure it becomes a valuable tool.
Here are some concepts to consider for the strategy:
- Engagement is vital: User engagement and user experience tie together, so you must ensure the community focuses on engagement. Without this, users won’t share what’s going on with their struggles. Those pain points become the seeds for content production. They are constantly changing as well, so it must be something you continually adapt.
- Topics need substance: You don’t want a community to turn into a place of negativity. Of course, there will be problems that community members have, but it shouldn’t devolve into a rant fest. Moderation is critical here, and getting your SMEs (subject matter experts) involved will be crucial to getting the conversation back on track.
- Customers need to know their voices matter: When users point out concerns about a product or request features, you should respond in the form of content. For example, if your software has filtering but lacks some functionality, which users complain about, make this part of a product roadmap, then publish content on the upcoming changes. Make sure to credit your users for helping you create a better product.
With a strong strategy, you can now learn from every interaction.
Community Knowledge Becomes a Content Goldmine
Your enterprise content marketing team should own the community. You’ll need input from SMEs and product managers, but it should be in your domain. Your team will analyze the conversations to find a goldmine for content ideation.
When your content strategy includes the customer’s voice, you are more likely to engage, attract, and convert audiences. It’s your inside source of what users want from you and what challenges they face daily.
Use what you find to help develop content in these ways:
- Hone in on emerging pain points: A product is never complete and will need continual reevaluation and updates. What it solved today may not be the same for tomorrow. Your users will tell you what’s missing, and that’s great for content.
- Find user stories of success: Case studies are an impactful type of content that drives credibility to those considering your company. If users speak about how your product helped them achieve things, reach out to them to share their stories.
- Recognize power users: Some users will be very active in the community and have deep knowledge of your product. Those users are likely to be loyal and champions, so it makes sense to showcase their expertise in your content. Ask them if they’d like to write a guest post for your blog, for example.
Build Community Knowledge, Drive Better Experiences
Developing and nurturing community knowledge is essential for any organization that cares about user experiences. The more you know about users, the easier it is to improve products and create compelling content.
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