Community Club Weekly
Issue #56 | December 17, 2020
Community Club Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
This week, Noele Flowers officially joined our team and we couldn't be more thrilled! She'll be building some very fun things, so keep your 👀 peeled.
You may have seen her around the Club or caught some of her insightful posts on her blog, but in case you're not familiar with her we did a little interview as an introduction.
How did you originally get into community?
By accident, probably like most people. I was trying to get out of public school--I was a public school music teacher for high schoolers in Queens and it wasn't really my speed. I was looking for a new job, and I have and older sister who works in marketing (I always joke that I copy everything that my sister does)--I knew her coworkers and I loved that vibe in the tech world, and I started looking at AngelList for jobs that had things related to my skillset: things that emphasized public speaking or education. Teachable was at the right stage to take a chance on a random person with no experience, and I guess I was charming in my interview and they gave me a shot.
What excites you about the future of community?
I think there's this very intense feeling this year, like we're at the right place at the right time for people in community which, in a year that sucks as much as this one, is pretty exciting to have something that is just magically working. Being part of a field that's at this inflection point where a lot of the pain points up until the last year were based around convincing people what I did had value, almost overnight that friction has dissipated and people are interested and listening. It's an exciting time to define the field together.
Was there a catalyst for consulting and starting to write about community building?
Sort of. At my last job we decided to migrate our community off of Facebook and onto an owned platform. I worked with this amazing boss who advocated for everyone on the team to work on really cool projects, and this was the one she helped me get on. Because I had been in my career for 3 years fumbling in the dark, I had a lot of appreciation for someone actually helping me outline and figure out that there's best practices you can lean on that let you be creative and proud of the work you do--that's something I wanted to express or share with people. For example, if I was trying to google this project and didn't know what I was doing, what information would I look for? That process of writing and sharing in places like Community Club unearthed that there wasn't as little information as I thought there was. There was a thriving community of people who were passionate and creating and you just had to key in on it. I didn't start writing the blog as a content channel for consulting, but people started reaching out asking for calls. At first I would do every call for free, and I got to the point where my schedule was ridiculous, and that's when I decided to become a consultant.
You've been working in education for the last few years--are there any tactics you had to employ that you feel are significantly different from the norm when working in that field?
I don't know how I feel about subject matter experts in general--it's something I waffle on a lot, whether it's with companies I'm advising or people I'm talking to. I think it was helpful for me to understand structural design and content creation, but it didn't matter that Teachable was an edtech company. Ultimately I had to learn all of this stuff about entrepreneurship that I didn't previously know. I wouldn’t say I used any strategies I wouldn't use in another setting.
We did a crowdsourced post last week and someone specifically called you out wanting your answer to the question that was posed.
"[W]hat would you recommend to someone looking to convince solopreneurs, startups, and small businesses that they should invest in community? Is it as simple as a quick presentation to drive the point on how community can impact the business goals?"
My feeling about entrepreneurs in particular is that in some ways they're the ones quietly leading the community industry. Brands are copying what solopreneurs are doing. They have these incredibly loyal, small audiences, and these small businesses aren't about operating at scale--they're trying to target really niche groups and build deep relationships rather than trying to have thousands of customers. It's a natural fit for small, content-based businesses like that. For someone who needs to be convinced on the value of community, I think member feedback speaks volumes. Customers are the ones saying that they came for the content and stayed for the community. This is something I've heard so many times from business owners and students and community members--they bought something because of the content of the program, but the main offering they stayed for was the community. That's pretty compelling because it's an incredible retention tool, and your best tool for success is MRR.
What is one of the most important lessons you've learned over the years as a community builder?
Overall, I've just gotten more confident about standing up for my ideas. Any community builder deals with this balance between instincts and hard-to-measure stuff vs putting data behind things, and over time I've gotten better at testing, iterating, and demonstrating results. As you grow that credibility, being able to vouch for your ideas and express why they work is key.
Finally, what's your favourite emoji?
Upcoming events, from the club and its members.
Community Club Hangout - December 17th @ 4PM ET
The Holidays at Teal Town - December 22nd @ 7PM ET
You're not doing anyone a favour by overtaxing yourself as a community builder (especially during this holiday season). Take that time off!
Community builders and managers are finally getting the recognition they deserve!
Community blog posts and articles from the past week.
"Content creators are at the mercy of corporations because they have no control over the infrastructure on which they depend." This statement holds true for many of the platforms that members and content creators rely on in the community space, too.
By Tim Maughan
What happens when you don't have effective moderation policies from the get-go? You get to delete most of your content base and start over!
By Carter Gibson
Moderation is a hot topic this week, and especially important for voice chat platforms that happen in real-time with very few ways to moderate conversation.
By Tatiana Walk-Morris
Lots of opportunities to round out the year!
Community Manager (part-time) @ Earnest Capital
Community Lead @ Bridge for Billions
Head of Community @ Mattermost
Head of Community Expansion @ Roblox
Community Manager @ Teachable
Director of Community @ Remote
Marketing Community Manager @ Suzy
Community Manager @ Harness
Online Community Operations Manager @ Cultivate
Community Manager @ Religion Studio
P.S. As a final reminder, we recently launched our Talent Network, connecting companies, candidates, and consultants. If you're hiring or looking for a new gig, check out our Community Jobs page!
Alex, who is constantly being watched by cats