The Anatomy of a Great Post

In my second week of moderation, I wanted to take a closer look at the types of content that succeeded in sparking the most smbuttonconversation. If a community exists to spark conversation, one of the measures of a good CM is showing that they can get that conversation started. This week, the two pieces of content with the most comments were one by me on SU’s FixIt’s Twitter account, and one by community member Jared Mandel on a NYPD Twitter hashtag hijacking. I tried to experiment with different types of content, from best practice articles to job resources, but these two similar articles were the most successful, and had a lot of similarities with other types of content that have been successful in our Google+ group. Without further ado, the anatomy of a great post:

  1. Current Events Current events are always successful, maybe because they give something of value to the community: knowledge about a topic that they can discuss with their other communities, be they virtual or real-world. This is especially true in the face of current events-driven communities such as Twitter, where information is plentiful but fleeting. Your community may have heard of a current events story in passing but not pursued it, and sharing the story in a community is a way of helping them filter the noise and get the top headlines in any given area.
  2. Localized Another theme was localization; both these articles were within the state of New York, with one of them being actually in Syracuse. If a story takes place in your area, your community may have more context or knowledge on the topic, which helps spur conversation. It’s also interesting to note that the distance learners who weren’t in Syracuse offered an interesting perspective on FixIt’s Twitter presence because of the fact that they weren’t on-campus.Colouful speech bubbles
  3. Room for Improvement/Debate Both these articles were controversial and had room for debate. If you were NYPD, what would you have done differently? Do you think FixIt’s unconventional Twitter strategy is effective? There was room to weigh in, versus just listing a favorite “best practice” from an article.
  4. Summarize¬†Google+ is an interesting platform in that it cuts your post off after the first couple of lines. It’s good because it sort of forces you to summarize, but you need to be conscious of this caveat and make sure you’re making important points right at the beginning. Best practice is to summarize at the beginning to draw your community in, and then go onto specifics later on.
  5. Give Credit Where Credit is Due If you borrowed some content from your community, give them props! They’re more likely to contribute to the conversation if they’re tagged. Also, if you know someone who is particularly interested in a topic, tag them! The more you tailor content to specific members, the more likely they are to step up and participate.

What do you think makes a great post?

1 comment for “The Anatomy of a Great Post

  1. August 22, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Interesting topic and really nicely written. I am not a regular blogger but I am into SEO & digital marketing so I know a few things which I can share.
    Definitely you are absolutely that recent events, localized topics of articles are really good for engagements. But I have seen that the actual life of those type of articles are very short. On the contrary controversial posts are much better if you can get the eye of few industry influencers and make them engaged with your post.
    My best bet would be a post with an evergreen topic with few twists, humors, story and personalization.
    But it all depends on the story telling ability, your promotion and reader base.

    Regards
    Soumya Roy

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