How to Share Great Content into an Online Community
Online communities are a great way to discover new information, broaden your horizons and share great content. They allow us to connect with like-minded people, get useful feedback on our questions and opinions and help us to share our experience and expertise.
One of the main benefits of online communities is the ability to share useful, relevant, engaging information, but what's the best way to go about doing that? This article explores several areas that community members can focus on to create and share valuable content and get the most out of the communities that they belong to. Guidelines include:
- Create content that educates, informs, entertains or inspires
- Meet people's needs and encourage their curiosity
- Provide good introductions, explanations and context
- Never post 'naked links'
- Never post spam or irrelevant material
Create content that educates, informs, entertains or inspires
Good content should educate, inform, entertain or inspire your audience, and really good content does two or more of these at once!
- Educational content - This is content that teaches community members how to do something specific. Good examples of educational content include 'how to' guides, tutorials, training courses and the like
- Informational content - This type of content is designed to let people know about something new and increases awareness and understanding. Good examples of informational content include news, research, people, places, resources and more
- Entertaining content - Content that entertains is designed to help people pass the time and engage them in a way that is distracting, enjoyable, amusing or fulfilling. This might include quizzes, humor, images, drama, interactive content etc.
- Inspirational content - This is probably the rarest type of content that's shared, but in many ways it's more powerful than all of the others; inspirational content tends to create an emotional change in the person that's reading or interacting with it. Examples of inspirational content include personal anecdotes, stories, poetry, opinion pieces and more
This means that your content should provide useful, actionable information, let people know about something genuinely helpful, help them pass the time or move them in some way.
Meet people's needs and encourage their curiosity
Good content should meet the needs of other community members, even if they don't know it yet. If it's likely to expand someone's perspective, experience or thinking in some way or challenge them, it's probably a good candidate for content that's worth sharing.
A great way to get people to read articles is to pique their curiosity. Give them enough information to demonstrate why your post might be useful and encourage them to click through or respond to it.
Provide good introductions, explanations and context
In many situations, context is everything, and that's especially true online. When you share content, articles or links, always make sure that you do so in the right way, for example:
- Introduction - Explain what you're sharing by giving it a title and a brief introduction
- Explanation - Share what you got out of the article and why it might be of benefit to other community members; go into a little more depth about the article if that's appropriate
- Context - Position the article so that people know what to expect when they click through to it
Never post 'naked' links
This is a follow on from the previous point and means that you should never post links that don't have an introduction or explanation to them.
People are unlikely to click on links unless they have an incentive to do so. Links without context are most often ignored, and might be removed.
Never post spam or irrelevant material
This last point is actually the most important one. Please, don't post spam or irrelevant material.This means content that is mainly or exclusively self-promotional or does not add value for other community members.
Spam material just clutters up the community and is very likely to be removed by moderators. Additionally, if you post spam, you run the risk of being identified as a spammer and being removed from the community.
How to Share Content, Engage and Build a Community Online
What's your next step for sharing content?
If you take the time to ensure your content is relevant and engaging, other members of the community will appreciate the effort that you're making.
If you continue to share good articles, you'll have a better time and ensure that everyone else does, too.