Tag Archive for Content Curation

Community Management According to Community Managers

Though we’ve certainly touched on and learned the basics of community management in the last several weeks, it was unquestionably more enriching to have Ally Greer and Sean Keely speak to our class and address what had otherwise been a concept confined in our readings. Hearing their experiences with community management helped contextualize everything else we’d learned this unit.

Takeaways from hearing Ally Greer speak:

Ally mentioned that, prior to being hired, she didn’t even know what being a community manager meant. She said that she had to discover and learn her responsibilities on-the-job, specifically by looking at other bloggers and community managers for guidance. The nature of the Internet lends itself to that kind of self-teaching, given that everything moves so much faster on the Web; the best people to learn from are your contemporaries and competitors.

One of the more interesting points that Ally made was that being a user of a product doesn’t automatically make one a member of that community. Through her work for Scoop.it, she had an easier head start with building a community, mainly in that she already had a built-in community to start with. Her plan to turn the top percentage of their users into “ambassador communities” definitely helped jump-start the process, all the while making her community members feel instantly included.

Takeaways from hearing Sean Keely speak:

I thought it was interesting that Sean had to start his blog first—and then go back and manage his community. He had a chance to really establish his voice first, which must have helped with going back and deciding what sort of tone to take on with his community. Compared to Ally, Sean had to build his community from the ground up, starting first with himself and then drawing people in with content that had to be niche enough to draw that kind of audience, but engaging enough to keep people there.

I find Sean’s tactic of incorporating “fan posts” onto the blog a smart move. It’s a low-risk strategy to get content on his site, providing everyday users with an outlet for writing where their visibility is in their hands. At the same time, it’s a smart means of finding new blood and bringing new staff writers to his blog. It builds his brand both ways.

Altogether, participating in the panel helped me understand what community management really entails and how to apply it in a real-world context.

Content may be King, but Curation is Golden

Once you have a well-established social community, it is difficult to maintain it. A community manager then needs to curate compelling content — the best quality & the most relevant —  in order to keep their audience engaged. The beauty of curated content is that it can serve as the perfect compliment to your self-generated content, allowing for new content without the extra cost. Think about it — millions of users are posting on social networks every minute, giving a community manager endless opportunities to find unique content. Don’t forget to link back to the original source — it is common courtesy!

Here’s a great example from Life is Good:



Like I mentioned, there are millions of users are posting on social networks every minute.

Insert panic mode here.

It is nearly impossible to effectively curate content without using tools to help you manage the overflow of user-generated content. Here are Teresa Dankowski’s (Content Marketing Manager at Cision) “5 Tools to Help With Content Curation:”

  • Storify — Finds the most relevant content on a variety of platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, & Instagram; search function for content discovery
  • Triberr – Communities of bloggers & influencers organized into niche categories
  • NewsCred – Newsroom service that provides access to licensed articles, images & video; curation technology powered by an editorial team
  • Social Monitoring tools – Scour social networks for keywords and mentions; HootSuite & Radian6 are two popular options

Personally, I have also worked with RebelMouse and the social monitoring tool Spredfast. RebelMouse is very similar to Storify, but RebelMouse offers more than just curation and serves as its own content management system. Muck Rack* is also a wonderful way to find unique content, as its Pro search features only pull mentions from verified journalists and bloggers on Twitter.

Example of a media search for “Syracuse University” on Muck Rack Pro:

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 8.29.42 PM

Successful content curation, then, is about combining these two philosophies: finding unique content and using tools to find and post such content. Mashable’s “5 Tips for Great Content Curation” sum it up best:

  1. Be Part of the Content Ecosystem — Be both a content maker and a content curator.
  2. Follow a Schedule — People take comfort in knowing when to expect something from you.
  3. Embrace Multiple Platforms — Your audience lives on a variety of platforms, so you should too.
  4. Engage and Participate — Show your audience there is an actual human being behind the platform, give your networks a voice.
  5. Share. Don’t Steal. — As I mentioned earlier, attribution is common courtesy! No one likes a thief.

*Disclaimer: I am a former Muck Rack employee.


Creating and Curating Content with Ally Greer and Sean Keeley

CMGRclass had the opportunity to hang out (okay, Google+ Hangout) with Ally Greer, community manager at Scoop.it, and Sean Keeley, creator and blogger at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

Ally and Sean were a great choice for this stage of our class. We’ve covered community management through the lens of SEO, engagement, blogging, and user generated content (UGC) – great topics for them to cover.

Throughout the hangout, the biggest similarity between Ally and Sean’s job is the way they rely on content created by people other than themselves.

Using UGC is a common practice, and Ally and Sean use the idea in different but effective ways. Ally’s brand relies on UGC, and the interactive nature of Sean’s community breeds strong opinions – it’s clear they’ve easily determined that UGC is right for them.

"You can give context and meaning to further engage your audience." - Ally Greer

Scoop.it’s entire platform is built around the idea that people can find what interests them, add their insights, and publish. The nature of scoop.it is user-driven, and new content is created every day by users. Day to day, Ally combs through the content and looks for the best posts and writers.

Ally also strongly focuses on creating lean content, or, content that makes a big impact with few resources. Like Ally said during our hangout: creating content takes a lot of time. Lean content means Ally can repurpose content and help her users learn from Scoop.it content better and faster.

Meanwhile, Sean uses similar tactics in a different strategy. Sean writes for his blog because he loves to, but he still wants to curate additional content. In order to do so, he’s created a fan section of his blog where fans can write and publish their own content.

"Most people are writing because it's something fun to do." - Sean Keeley

Although Sean doesn’t run a platform like Scoop.it, he’s created a section of his blog where readers can contribute. Through this fanpost section, he’s able to find good writers that match the style of his blog. In some cases, fan blogs will be posted to the main blog, and in rare cases, consistently good fan contributors can become regular main blog contributors.

Both Ally and Sean create content, but in order to better use their time and take advantage of quality writers, they had to become skilled content curators as well.

In the CMGRclass G+ community, we’ve debated the best ways to do UGC. Some communities have depended on or currently depend on UGC with varying degrees of success – like Bleacher Report or Reddit. I’ve seen UGC increasingly become a part of other blogs – the Gawker Media blogs use Kinja to generate and help curate content from users.

It seems as though the successful blogs that use UGC are one of three things:

  1. The blog is the platform, and the best rise to the top (like Scoop.it or Reddit)
  2. The blog is fully integrated with a platform, and content is curated (like Gawker network blogs and Kinja)
  3. Provide an alternate platform for people to use, and content is curated (like TNIAAM)

Do you agree with these categories? Whether you do or not – are these methods really the best ways to curate UGC?

Building Community with Content

Wednesday’s #CMGRchat was about using content to build a community. I found this chat particularly helpful and the questions that Jenn and Kelly asked to the participants insightful. Here are some highlights:

Question 1: What’s your primary content type? Trust Building, Educational, User-Generated, Conversational, or Filtered? – Why?

cmgrchat a1For my community, most of my content is about events or news about our community/community members, so most of my content is educational/informative. But the answers to question 1 were diverse.

Many participants say that they prefer user-generated content and that they try to post things that are conversational. However, user-generated content comes with time, your community needs to grow and mature before you can have this type of content. Some community managers also agreed that it is good to have a combination of different content types to keep things fresh and interesting.

Question 2: What are some integral components of a content strategy?

The following is a list of the most talked about integral components of a content strategy:

  • Creating a content calendar
  • Knowing your community
  • Following the values of your brand
  • Keeping in line with the goals of your community
  • Listening to your community and the feedback they give
  • Using the proper platforms to help you post, track, and analyze
  • Consistency in curation and moderation
  • Clear business goals
  • Planning ahead

Question 3: In what ways do current community members contribute to your owned content? (Blogs, Newsletters, web pages, etc.)?

Currently, my community members don’t actually write newsletters, emails, blogs, help with our web pages, or anything like that. However, they contribute by letting us know what they are up to, by sending us links to shows, projects or informing us of other things they are participating in. Since I help manage a community for Syracuse University graduates, it is really helpful when our alumni notify us and keep us informed– they are our eyes and ears.

cmgrchat A3

Many partipants in #CMGRchat had more experience with community members contributing to their content. Their advice included:

  • Being open to guest bloggers/posters
  • Making sure your community members know they are valued
  • Encouraging community members to comment and give feedback
  • Encouraging community members to ask questions
  • Highlighting community members/showcasing talented community members
  • Making sure that it is a mutually beneficial relationship between the community and its members

Question 4: What companies make tools that have community building in mind? What do you use?

Tools that #CMGRchat participants listed as helpful included:

  • Email*
  • Twitter*
  • Google+*
  • Hootsuite*
  • Sprout Social
  • Crowd Booster
  • Storify*
  • StumbleUpon
  • Skype
  • OneTab
  • Marketo
  • Sales Force
  • Buddy Media
  • Radian6
  • Blogging sites such as Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress*

(* denotes tools that I also use/find helpful)

cmgrchat 1Question 5: How often do you evaluate an owned/onsite content strategy? And what does evaluation look like?

This was a pretty loaded question, and for most in the chat, they said it would vary depending on the type of community you are managing. It was also a common answer that you can never do enough evaluating since your community is probably constantly changing and growing.

Participants suggested:

  • Weekly and/or monthly reports such as key performance indicator reports
  • Evaluate and adjust based on feedback and user engagement
  • Listen to your community
  • Follow trends

*     *     *

It was amazing how much I learned in just 60 minutes. This chat could have gone on for hours since there is so much to talk about when it comes to managing an online community and developing content. I’m looking forward to participating in even more #CMGRchats in the future.