Community Management Best Practices: Launch

I’m excited to present Part 2 in the three-part series on Community Management Best Practices: Launch to Six Months. In this blog, I will address some of the key activities that should be a part of your community planning, launch and ongoing growth.

In the first six months of your community, there are several critical activities that need to occur to help ensure success. Hopefully at this point you are well prepared for your community launch.

The items below can be done the month before launch or around the same time as the launch itself, depending on how much of a planner you are.

1. Create a content plan and editorial calendar.
It’s not enough to rely on user conversations for your community’s content stream. How-to documents, product road map updates, thought-leadership blogs, or any blog that informs and entertains (see blog tips) can go a long way towards engaging users and communicating key information to your community members. Curating content in your top places is a must-have activity lest the featured content becomes stale.

Organizing content in meaningful ways within a place and pointing users to important content that already exists is part of this activity. Also, be sure to name content for easy searching and tag content with the applicable key words and phrases. At the end of the day, your editorial calendar should ensure that you are providing your audience with regular doses of content without leaving too much empty space for the crickets to chime in.

Create a content plan and calendar

Thoughtful content provides value for the audience.

2. Create a communication plan.
Different from the content mentioned above, community communications consist of community maintenance alerts, upgrade notifications, advertising new places, contest promotions and the like. Specifically for your community launch, you will have targeted communications about joining your community, how to login, and first steps to take once members have joined. Many of these communications will point to content that you’ve developed in your content plan and calendar.

One of my favorite things to do is to write a blog on a subject, then create a short communication that points to the blog. Communications come in the form of System Announcements, Welcome emails, or other short formats. Make sure you are considering the different audiences in your community with the messages that pertain to them. Scheduling communications can happen on a scheduled or an as-needed basis. Be sure to consider the communication needs of both internal and external audiences if you are managing an external community.

To read the full list of recommended practices for launch and find links to other best practices blogs, check out the full blog in the Jive Community.

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