Another inexcusably late edition of the top five online community management blogs.
The annual release of The Community Roundtable‘s State of Community Management report has become a key event for community managers. And that’s as it should be. Each year, this document provides key data on how companies use communities to create value. Focused on those involved with enterprise communities, it’s chock full of useful information.
Many community managers spend a lot of time trying to get visitors to contribute to the conversation, rather than just reading what others have written — or “lurking.” In many (most?) communities, converting lurkers into contributors is a key factor in meeting business objectives. Here’s another point of view: that of a community manager for the U.K.’s Macmillan Cancer Support community. Priscilla McClay notes that some lurkers are mustering up the courage to jump into the conversation, while others are happy just to read what others facing similar challenges have written, but everyone benefits.
It used to be that there were lots of enthusiast communities that were run by folks who did it for the fun of it. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a topic-focused forum that’s not being monetized. So it was interesting to see Patrick O’Keefe‘s blog post about a forum up for sale that nobody has tried to profit from. Patrick does a great job here discussing how to evaluate such a community for revenue potential.
When contemplating how to attract participants to an online community, it’s vital to put yourself in the shoes of your would-be members. In other words, if I’m going to take the time to participate in your community, what’s in it for me? Richard Millington enumerates why people join a community and continue to participate in it.
The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared.” To a scout, that might mean packing rain gear in case foul weather strikes while you’re on a hike. When running a customer community, it means anticipating questions and planning how you’ll respond. Of course, there’s no way to anticipate every question. But as Joshua Paul writes, you can do a pretty good job of preparing for the types of questions people will ask and preparing your organization to respond.