East Midlands-based, Digital Marketing Agency think3 has created a guide which explains why your audience should always be at the centre of your content marketing.
Before we dive into community-driven content, it is important to understand why communities are so crucial in current digital marketing practices. It all starts with people. More precisely building a community around them.
You’re focusing your marketing on building a genuine connection with your audience. Which usually shares character traits and/or interests. So, to build a community you need to know whom you’re talking to & what they’re interested in. This will highly depend on your product/service.
By having a nurtured community and maintaining open conversation with them – you will notice how many ideas they’ve. This is where community-driven content comes in. Listen to your audience, take inspiration from them, and make them feel seen. By doing this you’re not only guaranteed to maintain a highly engaged audience but also create some sh*t hot content that your community will love.
What is community-driven content?
Community-driven content entails creating content that resonates with a specific audience. It’s usually inspired by your community - things they find interesting and want to engage with. This type of content should be original & authentic, tailored specifically to your audience. Since all content is created for your audience, it only makes sense to think about what they want to see.
If done correctly, it will amplify your content marketing results and provide genuine value to your customers. In turn, leaving your brand in a much better position.
Think about it this way, if you’re producing content based on your community ‘wants’, you have a much higher chance of keeping them interested and engaged. While an interested and engaged audience tends to convert more.
Why should you invest in community-driven content?
It’s time for the big question – is it worth it? YES. First and foremost, community-driven content brings in better results. Not only are you engaging with your audience through genuine conversations, but you’re also gaining insight into their thoughts and feelings (actionable data/feedback).
If your audience likes your content, they want to keep engaging with your business & supporting it. Even if it’s not a conscious decision all the time – people like to feel appreciated and tend to extend that appreciation back (in this case, by buying).
Other business centred benefits can include:
- Increased brand awareness
- Higher engagement
- Building trustworthiness & credibility within your audience
- Driving more leads/sales
- Gaining more referrals
- Making it easier to recruit future employees
- Increased customer loyalty and retention
Not only that, but customers are becoming more and more aware of marketing tactics. You won’t fool anyone with salesly content, only proceed to lose trust in your audience's eyes. It may come as a ‘surprise’ but being genuine as a brand (or a person), makes people like you (66% of consumers place transparency as one of the most important brand qualities).
How to create community-driven content?
Now we know the what’s and the why’s. The next step – is the how’s. There are multiple ways to approach this. We’ll explain some of the most effective community-driven content creation methods we’ve found.
Listen to your community
There is no better way to find out what your audience is thinking about, besides actually asking them. Engage in conversation, read the comments under your social media posts, and track your brand mentions (we use BuzzSumo for that and other Digital PR activities).
Sometimes you need to listen before you speak (a.k.a. create content)
By doing this, you can gather a load of information about what your community wants. Thus, gaining quality insight into what content could be received well. One of the best examples of this - hearing out your customer's problems, the issues they’re facing, and what’re they trying to solve. Once you know the problems, you can present solutions in the form of content.
Another thing worth mentioning, is producing niche content. Noticed a few people asking for it – since they might be like the rest of your community, why not try tailoring a piece of content to them?
Although, you should remain vigilant. Not all ideas presented within the community will produce quality content. The key is knowing how to choose.
Shine the light onto your audience
Your audience can prove to be very knowledgeable about the subjects your community covers. If they’re involved and consistently engage with your content, they might be experts in similar fields or have a very keen interest.
Why not ask them to contribute? More than likely, they will be over the moon to be recognised within a community they’re a part of.
Let’s say you’re working on writing a blog about the best features of your fintech app. People using it, may already be experts in the fintech sector and find your product useful to their day-to-day lives. So, you put out a tweet asking your community for their opinions. Once you’ve pinpointed the most in-depth answers, ask them would they like to be featured and feature them!
Although, keep in mind to not ask too much. No one wants to work for free and producing content is still classified as work. So, remain mindful of what you’re asking your community to contribute or alternatively offer money/rewards/gifts for their efforts.
Ask and you shall receive
If you’re already building a community or have an existing one – it’s a good practice to maintain an open conversation with them. Gaining insight into your content by tracking your audience response is often ideal. Nevertheless, discovering content ideas only through that may sometimes prove to be difficult. Especially within smaller communities.
So, what can you do about that? Ask. This point is as literal as it gets – ask your audience what they would like to see. A good old call-to-action.
If you’re a YouTube user, you can probably recall at least one instance where the content creator asks: ‘what would you like to see next?’ And more often than not – comments get filled with brilliant content ideas. No one knows what your audience wants to see better than your audience, use that!
There are numerous online examples, especially by influencers/content creators where most of their content is based on community suggestions. By doing this, you can make a well-educated guess that the content will be received well, before even starting to produce it.
If your community asks for it – give it to them.
Platforms to take inspiration from
Lastly, we would like to (re-)introduce some of the best platforms to keep your community engaged on & gain inspiration from.
By far the largest share of community engagement will come from social media platforms. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok – they complete a similar purpose. Make sure to be on the same platforms your community wants to be on. Don’t get left behind if everyone is jumping ship.
TikTok & Instagram Reels are especially great in allowing community-driven content to shine with the ‘respond to a comment’ feature. Where you can create a video response directly to a comment on one of your videos. As community-driven as it gets!
Reddit & Quora
Reddit is an odd one. Some may classify it as a forum-like social media. So, it’s somewhere in between. But it, together with Quora, can be a goldmine of content ideas. Finding subreddits (there are over 3.4 million of them currently) or questions surrounding your niche, can give you direct access to people who could be potential members of your community (some may already be).
Spend some time reading up and you just may discover something perfect for you.
Discord & Subreddits
We’ve already mentioned Reddit as a place to find community insights on. But you can also use it to build and/or expand your own community.
Have you noticed a niche in your sector that no other community is filling? Or do you know you could do it better? Launch a subreddit and/or a Discord channel surrounding it (note: Discord is most popular within tech/gaming sectors).
These platforms allow you to bring your community into one place, discord is especially good for that, usually having unimaginable engagement rates. Of course, alternatives like Facebook or LinkedIn groups exist, but they’re rarely as effective.
Community is at the heart of a lot of consumer-facing brands, and it’s well justified so. Being transparent and interactive with your community builds customer retention and loyalty like nothing else.
By maintaining an open conversation with your community, you allow them to feel appreciated & seen. Instead of hiding behind a corporate firewall. Just remember, don’t try to fabricate friendliness or transparency – a lot of people will see straight through that, and it will backfire. Remain genuine and your community will reward you for that.
- Listen to your community
- Maintain a conversation
- Highlight their ideas
- Create s**t hot content