SWMS Friday Morning Offsite 8/26/11 - Community Building Around Content

Today in the new SWMS Friday Morning Offsite series, we explored web community best practices with tech edit maven David Strom.  
In short, building community ain't cheap and it ain't easy. The points we pondered:
Community drives page views, says David, and advertisers like this.
Personally, we wonder how many 20-something media buyers wade through comments on tech web sites. Probably few. There are easier ways to gin up page views.

One caller suggested that "many tech vendors are interested in community but few are willing to invest financially... community seems 'free' so why should people pay?" Hear hear. That's a big obstacle.
The caller added that startups have many "levers to pull" to get on the map -- and community is just one of them. Sales is numero uno.
David says you have to capture eyeballs any way you can -- they will eventually drive sales -- and community engagement is a great way to drive traffic. 

Advises David:

"Seek managers who know the product(s) cold: both at the 30,000-foot level as well as nitty-gritty knowledge. They need the patience of a saint, letting nasty comments slide off their back. They need to seed the right kind of questions to build discussions."

Controversially, David opined that professional marcomm people don’t really want to listen to anybody. Version 7.1.3? BFD! If you listen to customers and media sources who tell you it’s no big deal, then you can actualy start some real, honest discussion.
David also suggested that PR people post comments underneath articles about competitors’ products. I responded that PR folks often fear to represent the client outside the "critical path", i.e. if it wasn't discussed and signed off on in that last meeting or conference call, they tend not to get involved.
Remember the four most chilling words a PR pro can hear: "What were you thinking?"
Related Links:

David Strom 


David Strom on community @ www.MediaSurvey.com 

Leader Networks

Online community discussion with Vanessa Dimauro

Community managers must be experimental 

Editorial back-and-forth among authors and readers

Tips from Sysomos -- are there good "tech media" communities out there?





Journalists are leaving media brands every week. Read the fruits of 16 confidential interviews with journalists now working at tech brands or PR agencies, and five interviews with the executives who hired these journalists.
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