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Curating content from other communities to build a... community

joshrozin profile image Josh Rozin ・1 min read

Hey everyone,

Like you all, I'm working on building a community with my cofounder. Funny enough, with social/community apps, there seems to be a chicken and the egg problem.

"How do I get users when I have no content and how do I get content when I have no users?"

I wanted to get your opinion about (tastefully) enabling users to leverage their existing communities on your community. Think how Product Hunt allows you to post Products as content, which allows users to mingle about that content. And, I wanted to ask you all, how do you get that discussion started? Is it through pre-built systems, is it a "lead by example" issue?

Thank you all! This is my first post. Excited to be a part of the community about... building communities!

Discussion

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tessak22 profile image
Tessa Kriesel

When I am starting something new like this, I try to find a handful of MVP's (Most Valuable People) who will help seed and grow the community. Depending on your use case, this could be valuable customers, contributors or supporters. Find a few key topics that you want covered and match those topics with an MVP and ask them to start growing that area. You definitely should think about the motivators for those folks to get involved and ensure that you are "compensating" them accordingly. I used quotes because not many folks are motivated by money, sure we all need/want it, but the things we care about are stronger and more important than money. For me, I focus on developer communities and developers usually fall into a few buckets; career-growth (looking for their next job), reputation growth (looking to become a thought leader in their space), & high product usage (use the product I am focused on daily or regularly and want close access to the team). From those motivators, I start to break down what kind of values I can provide to them for their contributions.

Not sure if this helped or not, there is obviously a lot more I didn't share, but hopefully this gets you thinking a bit about how to kick off your community.

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joshrozin profile image
Josh Rozin Author

This is huge. Right, having and clearly identifying those motivators is important. And then figuring out why they're motivated and how to motivate them within the community. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply! I will DEFINITELY be using this.

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tessak22 profile image
Tessa Kriesel

Of course. Always happy to help. I hope it goes well. Keep us posted, I'd love to learn how it goes and what you learn!

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joshrozin profile image
Josh Rozin Author

Oh yeah! Community Club is now on my daily visit list. I'll be posting my findings here & on Twitter quite often + will be helping out where I can. 😊

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tessak22 profile image
Tessa Kriesel

Same. I am really excited about this platform.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

When we were looking to get DEV off the ground, we tried hard to normalize "cross-posting", because any existing content is easier to repurpose than creating brand new ideasβ€” And we had a value-add opportunity for folks who had written something, but were not reaching a lot of people with the writing. Now, we couldn't guarantee they'd reach more folks on DEV, but it was an opportunity.

We made our ask easy, and tried not to be annoying, but we also didn't bend over backwards to make it soooo easy, because if we tried to hard to, say, automate the crossposting we might not even find anyone willing to stick around to interact thereafter.

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joshrozin profile image
Josh Rozin Author

Hey Ben! Thanks for giving this thoughtful reply, I'm a huge fan of DEV!

From what I understand, the value-add there was the opportunity to reach people on DEV, kind of like an audience sharing thing? Also, super interesting that you didn't make your ask super easy -- that's something for me to think about.

I'm going to explore that opportunity value-add, let's see what I can do!

Thanks again Ben!

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alex profile image
Alex Angel

Hey Josh! Great question, and one that is definitely top of mind for us right now.

Getting communities started from the ground up requires a few different strategies. Sometimes one method will work for some communities, other times it won't... so it's definitely good to have a number of different approaches in your back pocket if you notice one of your methods isn't as effective as you'd have hoped!

I think part of it is definitely leading by example. You know how you want your community to operate, so you should be one of the folks leading the charge by sharing and creating content, participating in other people's posts, and overall just acting in a way that is able to be emulated by others. You'll definitely need to do a lot of hands-on work that isn't scalable, but that's what us community builders love doing (...right?? :D). You can also tap into people who you know are already invested in your community and have them help kick things off.

You should ask yourself (and the people already invested in your community) what is important for your community, too. What content is interesting, why they will want to join and participate, what people will get out of it, etc. If you have a basic understanding of what people want, you can ensure that there is content to draw people in and keep them engaged.

Looking forward to hearing other people's thoughts on this!

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Josh Rozin Author

Oh yeah! Definitely agree.

You know, I had this thought where community building should be enabled by systems but completely forgot about the hand-on work you mentioned that gives those systems that push. It's awesome that you touched on emphasizing behaviours by yourself in a way that's emulatable (new word?). Alright, so! This gives me some ground work for a plan to explore. Thank you so much for giving this thoughtful reply!

Side note: It's very cool that we'll both be building communities side by side.

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alex profile image
Alex Angel

I think the hands-on touch is really important for community building at all stages. Offloading processes to systems is fine if you're at a place where it makes sense for your community's stage (e.g. if you have a well-established community with tons of members and other people helping with moderation and engagement, or if it's something simple like routine threads, newsletters, or social media), but once communities lose that high-touch feeling a bit of the magic is gone and (at least in my opinion) it's hard to get back.

Definitely looking forward to seeing how your community-building journey evolves, you're going to develop some great insights that I'd love to hear!

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John Preston

In Get Together [1], the first chapter talks about finding out who you want to get together and why you are all getting together. So I would echo what Tessa said: find your MVPs, people who believe in the why and will put the energy into producing stellar content. And as Alex said, leading by example is key, to help motivate those early members and get the fire burning.

And I would echo Ben's comment as well: it is tempting to try and fix the problem with features but if you make it too easy to cross-post then you can make the signal-to-noise ratio highly variable. I think there is a lot of value in aggregating existing resources though: maybe people can't directly cross-post individual links, but they could still create a post which has links inside it, so they can create a post which links to many resources. This adds additional value to the individual links because you can discuss them in the context of each other: "this blog post was great for XYZ reasons but I found this other blog post more helpful for ABC".

Good luck with your community building efforts, we're all really excited to hear more about your journey! :D

[1] by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, and Kai Elmer Sotto, from Stripe Press; great book :)