How can content creation be relevant to tech community management?

Managing a tech community is a non-trivial task, but it’s not just about meetups and events: content creation has a key role too.

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Every day we are inundated by a large amount of content: emails, newsletters, social media posts, blog posts. Thanks to our loyal friend the smartphone, we often check Slack, Telegram, email and, above all, social network notifications. Imagine if your community’s content appeared in this surge of content. It would be a nice opportunity to grow and promote your project!

Tech communities are generally made up of developers, budding programmers but also technology enthusiasts who work with other things in their day-to-day life. These are people hungry for specialist content on the most popular languages and technologies, as well as on project management. The potential of Content Creation lies precisely in this aspect, because creating specific content, tailored to the needs of this particular audience, will allow you to attract their attention and nourish the ranks of your community. These will not be just any new members, but rather high-quality new additions, because they are really interested in what you do. Over time you will build a very close-knit community that will look forward to discussing and commenting on your next piece of content.

These are just some of the advantages of investing in Content Creation. Thanks to it, you can achieve important goals that will determine the success (or otherwise) of your community, such as:

  • generating and building relationships with the people who are part of your community;
  • sharing experiences that people identify with and want to join in with;
  • generating interest around the topics you deal with;
  • demonstrating your authoritativeness when it comes to the themes you tackle.

Communities are spaces where people come together, and they thrive on exchange and discussion between their members. Your task, then, is to stimulate them with content that is always new, interesting and useful to talk about and that maybe solves their specific problem. A Content Creation strategy helps you to do just that, and to be perceived as an attentive and authoritative community manager.

Specifically, the term Content Creation is used in the context of Digital Marketing to indicate the activity of content creation (website, newsletter, e-book, guide, social media etc.) carried out by brands and companies to promote themselves across the various channels. However, in order to be effective and generate interest among the target audience, this content must be useful, accessible and relevant.

It is immediately clear how closely this aspect concerns the world of community management. As community managers, we are called upon to manage the social channels and platforms on which our community is present, to send newsletters with upcoming events, and perhaps to have a website with a dedicated blog, but above all to keep our communities alive, active and interested. We can do this not only thanks to the events we organize — meetups, webinars, YouTube live streams etc. — but also by paying careful attention to the content that we put out on our channels.

It is a strategic task which starts with understanding what is really interesting for the people who follow the community and results in the planning of content to be published on your channels, but it basically never ends. Content-related activity does not end with publication, but continues with an analysis of what went well and what did not in order to further improve your content offering. Let’s analyze in more detail why a technology community should invest time in this activity. Let’s take a look together!

Creating content is an activity that allows you to build and generate relationships between members of your community, and to find new ones. If the content is deemed worthwhile and interesting, people will be more likely to recognize its value and therefore to share their opinion on it. This creates the atmosphere of exchange and networking that keeps the community environment alive and active. To create incisive content from this point of view, you can leverage:

  • Stories and emotions. Engaging with emotions is a way to build lasting bonds and create conversations. For example, sharing experiences is very effective because people tend to identify with the story and, if touched in real life, to share their direct experience. They will leave a comment under your post and create conversations.
  • Usefulness. Content that provides practical solutions to be tried out in everyday life is among the most successful. You can tell the story of how you solved a technical problem or how you faced a challenge: for example, how you created a web application with a particular technology. Developers and enthusiasts are eager to discuss techniques, languages, projects or technologies, and this will encourage them to share their point of view. Read the create interactions section.

There are many communities, and getting yourself remembered is not easy, but it has to be one of your main objectives. Adopting a few small tricks will help you worm your way into people’s memory. For example, you could take advantage of recurring items.

Create recurring content which repeats over time and with the same frequency. This will help members of your community get even more attached to your project, and above all to remember you. The concept is the same as when organizing a meetup: you tend to choose a day of the week which will, in principle, always remain the same. An example? If you decide to plan an editorial calendar for your social channels, you can choose to dedicate a day of the week to a specific topic or specific content: “The Thursday video tutorial”, “The Tuesday technical article”, and so on. Give free rein to creativity, but above all sound out the needs and requirements of your community and don’t be afraid to ask those directly concerned.

To sum up what has been said so far, the key to success with content is to generate value for people. This happens when your content successfully has a direct and positive impact on the life of a member of your community. A technical blog post can help a developer understand how to implement a feature in a project. The story of an experience can inspire a member of your community to undertake a new project, or arouse an emotion and generate a wave of other shares and comments that will keep your community environment alive.

You have identified the needs of your community and gathered some ideas. Good — now with a calendar in hand, plan when you want to publish them. This will help you make moves in advance — you can schedule content month by month — and better organize your presence on your channels. A very useful tool to do this is Trello. You can combine a calendar template with a bulletin board and create a card for each post you want to publish. On each card you can attach links, graphics and above all the text of the post. Trello facilitates collaboration, so if you are a team of community managers, you can divide the posts to be made and review those already made, for example through comments. This tool helps you design and develop content, while there are other tools to publish or program it on social media, such as Buffer, PostPickr, Hootsuite, and Later, just to name a few.

If you want to learn more: Essential tools for Community Management

We have repeated it ad nauseum: understanding what your community’s needs are is the starting point for creating valuable content. To do this, don’t be afraid to ask the people who make up the community directly. If you manage a community within a Facebook group, for example, you can take advantage of surveys and sound out the issues that your audience would like you to tackle. Do you have an Instagram account? Use the “Questions” feature to collect requests. Google Forms to be filled in are also a very useful tool in this regard. Operating in this way allows you to give your community exactly what it is looking for, and to have your precious work recognized because it pays attention to the needs of those who follow you every day.

Creating content means not only writing a post on social media, a blog post or your experience as a developer, but also giving a visual identity to your community. This is another way to ensure that those who follow you will remember you better. Create a logo, and use it on each channel. Choose a color palette to form the basis for the graphics of your website, your posts on social networks and the posters for your meetups. Recurring colors, shapes and graphics will give you a visible and recognizable identity. Help from an expert would be ideal but, if you don’t have the resources, there are many online tools that can offer you a lot of help, for example Canva. This is an online tool with which you can create graphics from preset templates and obtain reasonable results: certainly excellent for social media or a meetup poster.

To find the right content that works, you need to experiment. This means that you shouldn’t give up after your first unsuccessful attempt, but that you have to keep getting to know your community more and more to find what really works. Observing people’s behavior carefully is essential. Have you published any content that generated a lot of chatter? Comments and shares on social media. Analyze why the content resonated so much and offer similar content again, omitting content that leaves community members more indifferent. The analytics of your site or your social channels (Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics etc.) can be excellent allies for this activity. Observe, experiment, and keep the experiments that hit the target.

Dedicate yourself to curating your content, but don’t overdo it with all existing platforms. It would be a waste of energy, especially if your community is taking its first steps. You don’t have to be on all existing social networks and platforms, including because some of them might not be right for you or might not be populated by potential members interested in your activity. If you’re starting out, choose two or three channels, but cultivate them well. When you have obtained a good solid footing, and perhaps found other community managers available to help you, you can increase the workload and start thinking of being present on other channels. Think about how much time you can devote to your project, and choose which platforms to best manage. Being on all social networks is a big responsibility and means taking care of every page or profile by providing content for each of them. A social channel left to itself gives your community little interest in wanting to maintain a relationship with those who are part of it, so think carefully!

See also: How to reach a wider audience for your tech community using Social networks

Be creative! Potentially, you can create content from every resource you have available. From a technical talk that took place during a meetup or online, you can create a tutorial, a guide, a blog post or small social media nuggets on the most interesting content. If your speaker created slides for the occasion, ask them if you can create posts for social media by quoting some salient passages, obviously citing the source and therefore their work. You will intrigue those who were not able to see the talk, and maybe you will create conversations between those who watched it and were enthused by it.

Remember that content can exist in many forms, with which you can quench your community’s thirst for content.

We have come to the end of our journey through the world of Content Creation. An activity that requires commitment, energy, study and analysis, but one you need to invest in for the success of a community project. Give it a try, and take small steps. One step today, one tomorrow, and you will end up with valuable content that will give your community a big quality boost!

You can read the orginal version of this article at Codemotion.com, where you will find more related contents. https://www.codemotion.com/magazine/dev-hub/community-manager/how-can-content-creation-be-relevant-to-tech-community-management/

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