Most popular articles
Scribnia recently hired David Spinks, a social media guru who will serve as our Community Manager. I wanted t...
A picture can draw the reader in. It provides visual stimulation that can lead into your content. It can serve...
This post is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants – an epic two-month journey of ove...
We've been thinking about how we'd like to design this blog and how we can keep it simple and effective. ...
There have been a lot of discussions about whether or not blogging is dead. Some great posts to check o...
Posted by: David Spinks - 26 August 2010 / 16:39
We discussed a lot of basic community concepts. You should check out the full interview here.
Here are some of the things we discussed related to Scribnia and our community:
Q: What is the importance of being so vocal on the@Scribnia blog and social media accounts? Should other companies follow that lead?
As a start up, it can be really tough to gain traction in a space… especially one as noisy as the blogosphere. Being active on the blog, on twitter and on other platforms is a way for you to gain loyal users early, and to establish yourself. We also use the @Scribnia blog for community efforts. In the “Behind the Blogs” series, we interview interesting bloggers from the community. It’s just a nice way to promote the bloggers in our community, while creating interesting content.
As I mentioned before, the ability and willingness to help is really important when interacting in online communities. Social media platforms like twitter, like blogging forums, etc… have been a great method for finding people who need help, and helping them.
Should other companies follow that lead? Hard to say on such a broad scale. Chances are, there are potential customers or users interacting online, and seeking information. Creating useful content and being active on SM is the best way to reach them.
Q: What are some tools that a company or person getting into professional blogging can use to be successful (like Scribnia)?
Depending on the resources they have, there are a few options.
The simplest tool would be a tumblr or posterous. They’re built for simplicity so you’re limited on what you can do but many companies have used these tools effectively. The next option is wordpress.com. It’s a bit more professional but it’s still free… which means you’re limited on options.
Most sites are using wordpress.org for their professional blogs these days. You’ll have to pay for hosting, but you have a lot more freedom in how you’d like the blog to look, features you can use, etc….
As far as getting your blog going with readers and comments, you should be using social media tools. Using twitter and facebook to share your content is fine as long as you’re not just sharing your own shit. Also check out tools like @commentluv and @disqus that will enhance the reader’s comment experience.
In the end, starting a successful blog is less about the tools, and more about the content/ how you’re getting it out there.
Q: What are some things that we can expect in the future from @Scribnia? (And how can we keep in touch to find out more).
Glad you asked. We have a lot in store for Scribnia. In the next few months we plan on really improving the overall site design and user experience. We will simplify the site a great deal, to make it really easy for users to get started, and start getting recommendations.
As I said, our goal is to enhance your online reading experience, and we’re working on a number of things to do that. We’ll also be launching a new product in October, that will be free for bloggers. It will provide them with quality story leads and professional opportunities to work with businesses.
You can stay updated on everything we’re working on by following @Scribnia, , subscribing to the blog or just signing up.
Posted by: David Spinks - 9 November 2009 / 15:44
You can find the full transcript here, but since those things can be very hard to follow, I’ve written this week’s recap, for your reading pleasure…
First, we discussed if a community is always needed. Should every blog have a community? While most of the contributors seemed to agree that a community could help most bloggers, many pointed out that it depends on the goals of your blog. Some felt that not all blogs are meant for interaction and community. Here are a few takeaways:
- Building a community on your blog is key to its success. Engaging in conversation between readers enhances the experience. – @prcindy
- YOU own the blog, but a community site works because multiple people feel a sense of ownership in content created there. – @MackCollier
- Community may not be the point, but readers who feel more connected may visit more often & comment more. – @Hacool
- Without great content, there will not be a community built around it. Isn’t that safe to say? So yes, I think content>community. – @Shinng
Ok, so if you’ve decided that building a community around your blog is a good idea, how do you start? Here are some methods that we discussed:
1. Increase interaction/Encourage discussion.
Communities are largely built around conversation. Any way that you can develop the conversation between you and your readers, and your readers with each other, will help you develop a community.
- Respond to every single comment on your blog and in the words of @tyr “seek to be interested not interesting. – @Ribeezie
- In order to be a community the participants have to talk to each other and not just comment on the blog. – @klandwehr
- Why not try to encourage commenting? Like ending with a question. Ask them what they think of the topic. - @centsiblelife
2. Venture away from your blog.
You can try to keep the conversation in your blog, but the fact is, if you write a good post, people will discuss it on other platforms. You should be there to contribute to the conversations taking place on other platforms. Rather than complain about twitter stealing comments from your blog, use it to your advantage.
- Dialog can be wider than a blog. Doesn’t have to be on one site. This discussion (blogchat), for example. – @zen_habits
- The discussion may start on the blog but often times it spreads to the other social media platforms. – @dmgerbino
3. Show your readers appreciation.
Sometimes it’s just a simple thank you comment or email. You can it a step further and reward your most active readers by featuring them on your site or in a post. The key is to let your readers know that you’re listening, and that you appreciate their contribution. Just make sure that you don’t alienate your “less active” readers by only rewarding the most active.
- One of the things I do to enhance community on the blog is to direct tweet commenters with a personal thank you. – @dmgerbino
- Reward the people that are contributing to your community, Commenter of the Week, etc, that encourages more interaction – @MackCollier
4. Involve your readers.
The concept of a blog community means that the readers feel like they help build the blog. Think about ways to involve your readers into the growth of your blog. Ask for feedback, ask commenters to guest post, incorporate reader comments into your posts, etc…
- Involve people with guest posts, community projects, etc. Give people opportunities to INVEST in your blog. – @MattChevy
- I’ve been running a daily poll on my site for a couple months now. Helps engage a little. – @shortformernie
5. Optimize your platform for communication.
This ties into venturing away from your blog. Assume that your readers want to communicate and interact. They already seek out community. Make sure that you’re providing the proper tools for communication.
- NONE of us Build a Community, the Community already exists, We just provide a platform for communication. – @Eric_Urbane
- I see a lot of bloggers creating Facebook Fan Pages for their blogs. How many have created a strong cmty & conversation there? – @SonnyGill
6. Participate in the “larger” community.
Comment on other blogs. Talk to people on twitter and other social platforms who share similar interests. A good community focused blogger realizes that their blog community is part of a larger community.
- We should be looking to help promote each others’ efforts, involve more in the conversation. – @JGoldsborough
- The community may be a collection of peer blogs w/overlapping readership.- @hacool
Thanks to everyone who participated in blogchat and provided such great contributions. If you haven’t attended blogchat before, come check it out…all are welcome. It’s hosted by @MackCollier every Sunday from 8-9PM (cst). Just follow the hashtag #blogchat on twitter.
Posted by: David Spinks - 20 July 2009 / 11:55
This is a distinction that isn’t often addressed. The responsibilities of a community manager are the same for many organizations, but can also differ based on a number of factors. One of those factors is their stage of development. The responsibilities of a community manager for a start-up will have a lot more focus on community seeking and building. If you’re an established company, like Pepsi, a community manager’s responsibilities have a lot more to do with tending to the current community and monitoring and less with development.
As community manager for Scribnia, engagement with our community is extremely important, but as a new website, I also have the responsibility to build the community. That means creating value and encouraging others to join in. That means constantly seeking people who would find our site to be valuable and engaging.
Much of the community management advice that’s usually given is focused on established brands. Here are a few tips and points for community managers of communities that, like ours when we first started, don’t exist when you first arrive on the scene.
- Ultimately, you have to have a good product or service. The best community manager in the world cannot create a loyal, engaged community around a product or service that sucks. If you’re having trouble building, you may want to look at how you can make your product more valuable.
- Your community members exist, they just haven’t been gathered around your company. The people that would potentially find your product to be valuable are out there, talking. Find them. Join them.
- Sometimes they’re not going to want to gather around your company. Community management doesn’t always mean creating a community around you…it could also mean joining your potential customers’ communities that already exist, where your community members are already gathered and comfortable. This can eventually lead to your own community being developed out of the relationships you create elsewhere.
- IT TAKES TIME. It’s been said many times before, but building a community takes time. There’s no short-cuts or fast tracks…you have to contribute relevant, interesting content that will resonate well. You have to interact, respond, and stay consistently active. Communities are built around passion, and you can’t fake passion.
- People usually won’t partake in your community unless you give them a reason to. The fact that they checked out your site, and you have some sort of community, isn’t going to make them join. Give them something to be interested in.
Those are just a few points, I could go on for a while. Building a community isn’t easy, but it can still be fun. You should enjoy interacting with your users/customers. Building relationships is exciting and if you share a common passion, it becomes very easy. So have fun with it, don’t stress out if you don’t see a community begin to rapidly develop right away. It’s a very worthwhile commitment.
Here’s a good article from ReadWriteWeb on effective methods for community building for start-ups.
Posted by: David Spinks - 8 July 2009 / 10:35
Online content is amazing because it’s so much more than just the content. It’s also about who’s reading it, how they feel about what they’re reading, who else is writing about the same topic, why you’re writing it…in essence, it’s about the community surrounding it.
A newspaper has readers. A tv show has viewers. Online content producers have a community.
The extent to which writes can connect with their readers online is limitless. New tools are coming out every day to create new ways for readers and writers to interact. One of our goals for Scribnia is to break down the writer/reader barrier even more, and allow for even more interaction within your community.
If columnists for “mainstream” media are going to find success in the future, they’ll have to embrace the community aspect of online content, the same way bloggers do.
We hope that Scribnia will serve as a valuable tool that allows authors and readers build a stronger community. We hope it will connect readers to bloggers that otherwise never would have found each other.
We’ve created a few ways to make Scribnia more social, allowing for authors to create more engagement within their community.
- Invite Friends: To invite your community to come join Scribnia, and write or receive reviews.
- Search Scribnia: Find and follow friends that are already on Scribnia.
- ScribUp: Promote your favorite authors on twitter.
- Tweet This: Under each review, you can click the “tweet this” link to share your review on twitter.
If you have any other ideas for how we can make Scribnia a more social tool, that owuld help you to build your community, let us know.
Posted by: David Spinks - 27 May 2009 / 13:34
Yesterday was my first day working with Scribnia at the Science Center here in Philadelphia. I’ve been very excited to get started and for good reason. So far the Scribnia team has been fun, smart and extremely motivated. Already after discussing our goals and doing a bit of brainstorming, we have a lot of big ideas and exciting things coming your way.
As many of you know from previous posts, I will be the Community Manager for Scribnia. This means I am here to help you and to connect with you, the members of our community, on a regular basis. I will be spreading the word about Scribnia and all that we are doing to provide the best possible user experience. That’s where you come in. I hope that as you use Scribnia more and get comfortable with the service, that you’ll share with us any issues, recommendations or just anything that we could do better for you. We want Scribnia to house a strong and active community of bloggers and readers.
I will be actively updating and connecting on twitter using the @Scribnia account so feel free to reach out to me at ANY time about anything at all. (I don’t really stop working…and that’s fine by me). I will also be updating the blog regularly to share with you my experiences as a Community Manager for a web start-up and about anything else that I think might be interesting to you.
Aside from twitter you can also reach out to me on the Scribnia website with the private message feature, or at DavidSpinks@scribnia.com. I’m really looking forward to connecting with all of you and to an exciting Summer.