There’s a simple truth that many marketers come to understand as they build up a brand: a company’s brand belongs to the community. Yes, we work to build it up and spread awareness, but ultimately it lives and dies in their hands.
We constantly seek to create new and engaging content that grabs the attention of our online communities and followers, but what if we were to not only accept, but encourage the community to help in the content creation process? It’s time we started working with our audience, and today I’ll show you five ways to do just that.
5 Ways to Include Your Community in Content Creation
As human beings, we crave personal connections and storytelling in our marketing. Your brand is a story that has many different authors. Content creation should become a cooperative effort, not something exclusive to the writers on your staff.
Here are five ways to bring people into your content creation process:
1. Crowd-Sourced Solutions
There’s an art to asking for a referral from a member of your community, but think about it like this:
You are an expert, as are the people on your staff, but there are also experts within your online following that can also provide assistance and solutions. Many of them would be happy to do so! If you have any particular questions or issues that seem to appear more often than not, try asking experts in your community to weigh in on this process:
- Pose the question on your social media channels
- Compile the accurate answers
- Write a round-up style blog post and give credit to those who helped out.
These types of knowledge-heavy posts can be compiled into a huge base of information for your audience members to easily access when they need it. Not only that, but you’re also harnessing a powerful social media strategy to create engaging posts.
2. Engage Your Community in Real Time
When a breaking news story hits, we often scramble to produce something before the opportunity to capitalize on the trending topic is gone. Using a tool like Storify, you can quickly curate trending news and post within the heat of the moment.
You can also use moments like these to source additional content from the community. Much like the point above, these responses work great in a post where you highlight the most insightful comments.
For 51% of brands, creating real-time engagement is their largest challenge. Here are some ways to create this type of engagement for your brand:
- Ask for your community’s opinion on hot-button topics
- Encourage people to share photos from events or business gatherings associated with your brand.
- Announce an upcoming deadline for your company and let your community know how they can help.
3. Harness The Hashtag
While it was born on Twitter, the hashtag is spreading to other platforms like Instagram as well. This method of categorizing posts and tweets offers you the ability to join and involve your community in any conversation taking place in real time.
It could be a hashtag related to an event or news story, but utilizing it in your tweets, and retweeting other messages within the same conversation will allow you to not participate and monitor the developments.
Retweeting your community’s messages offers another avenue for involving them in the content creation process as you can also curate these tweets into a future post on your blog.
Start this process by looking through tweets associated with a certain hashtag. Retweet the useful ones and save them for later if you want to incorporate them into a full post.
4. Show Interest in Their Opinions (Ask for Feedback)
Sometimes, all it takes is the right question in the right place to immediately involve your community in your content marketing. Social media, newsletters, surveys, these are all touch points you can utilize to engage your audience members.
When you have their attention, ask questions that show an interest in their opinions and values, like these:
- How can we improve in the coming year?
- What do you like most about our product/service?
- Where is your dream vacation?
- What are your new year’s resolutions?
Focus on simple questions with simple answers to maximize your response rate.
5. Incorporate Music
Regardless of what industry or theme your audience encompasses, music is a universal language that works each and every time. Try thinking out of the box with this one by using services like Spotify and SoundCloud to create community-created playlists that fit your theme.
As an example, let’s say you’re a travel agency. Why not ask people to submit their favorite tropical-themed songs one month and publish the playlist on one of the aforementioned services? This a fun and unique way to incorporate more than just text or video content into your marketing.
Our communities are what define the brands we try so hard to grow and nurture. By incorporating them into our content creation, we’re not only fostering better content and engagement, but we’re also strengthening the brands we know and love.
How do you incorporate your community into your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments below!
Matt Banner is the owner and author of On Blast Blog, a resource for both beginners and seasoned veterans in the world of online blogging. Contact him via email at matt (@) On Blast Blog (dot) com or on Twitter @BlastYourBlog.