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Community management is the new black

by: Julia Scott |

May 31, 2011

Community management is the new black

By Julia Scott

Add this to your resume if you want any chance of getting a job in the new media landscape: community manager.

No longer a lowly job given to the intern, behind every successful content site is a not-so-little community manager. In fact, the rough translation of this title to print lingo is: CEO. Since when did this skill and title become so important?

The second readers could publicly condemn, correct, and condone you. On the web, there’s no such thing as having to take another call to get rid of a pissed off reader.

OK, so we know readers are important. We’ve stopped sarcastically reminding ourselves that “we love our readers,” (a regular outburst in one newsroom I worked in). Instead, we lovingly refer to them as Unique Monthly Visitors. We bring them up at every chance, like the proud mother of a kindergartener who “graduated.” But how do we manage them? And is it safe to call them by name?

Community management is about catering to the behaviors that you want your community to exhibit.

Here are 10 ways to build a strong community. Each step might sound simple, but try juggling all of them and consistently getting each one right.

1. Wants tons of comments?
Ask questions.

2. Want readers to share demographic data? Offer an exciting email newsletter that asks for basic info during signup.

3. Want subscribers to open your emails within hours of receipt? Write snazzy subject lines and build trust through consistent and high-quality content.

4. Want to run a successful contest or giveaway? Award extra entries for contestants who blog, Facebook, Tweet, and comment about it.

5. Want a billion Twitter followers? Connect with influential feeds through mentions and retweets, and share top-notch content to pass on.

6. Want readers to interact on your site? Give them forums that are easy to sign up for and easy to use.

7. Want user generated content? Provide a unique and niche home for their expertise.

8. Want readers to spent a lot of time on your site? Give them plenty of video content.

9. Want to improve your site but not sure where to focus? Ask readers for input or create a survey.

10. Want to build trust? Post your ethics policy and be incredibly transparent about any paid content.

Community matters more online than in print because what a successful site boils down to is how engaged its readers are. And yes, call them by name.

What are your best practices for online community management?

Julia Scott is a veteran of KDMC’s Boot Camp and founder of the money-saving blog, BargainBabe.com. She has an awesome presentation on monetizing websites that she loves sharing! Email her at [email protected] for info.

The News Leadership 3.0 blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

By Michele McLellan, 05/31/11 at 4:55 am


Useful 10 tips Julia, thanks. I want to enforce 3rd point by saying that in this race for visitors, friends and members, people must never forget to post quality content on their site or community page. This is the natural way in which they can grow online.

By Cursuri, 06/01/11 at 10:45 pm

Julia Scott

Julia Scott is the founder of BargainBabe.com. The site helps people save money on everyday expenses like groceries, gasoline, and
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