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Building Business Value From Community Participation

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More interaction sounds nice, but what’s it really worth to your business?

This case study, presented at LavaCon 2014, shows how TechTarget leverages user-generated content to meet business goals and increase traffic, registrations and leads while also providing an improved user experience across 80 sites. In addition to exploring specific tactics, this presentation also covers strategies for wrangling development resources and getting the buy-in of the employees who make it all work.

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Building Business Value From Community Participation

  1. 1. From Comments to Content: Building Real Value from Community Participation A case study romantic comedy @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon Ben Rubenstein
  2. 2. The plot  A B2B tech media company has been unlucky with commenting integration in the past  A new way of thinking could create a real relationship, but…  Can resource and workflow challenges be overcome so everyone can find community love, actually? @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  3. 3. The cast Community Team Editorial Development C-Suite @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  4. 4. Once upon a time…there was lonely content  Pre-2011: No comment function on editorial content. @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  5. 5. Once upon a time…there was lonely content “Our users don’t care about that.” OR “They can go over to the community for that.” (<10% crossover b/w editorial and community sites) @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  6. 6. The Dating Circuit @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  7. 7. The dating circuit  Anonymous comments  Difficult to interact  Minimal moderation  Limited value @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  8. 8. The dating circuit  Disqus  Improved ease of use  No integration  No registration value @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  9. 9. The dating circuit  Fly-in polls  Closed questions only  Responses combined with general comments  Quantity>quality @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  10. 10. The dating circuit  Trying to track down a comment or moderate a thread? Good luck… @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  11. 11. The challenge: A real relationship  Create a positive experience for users  Make it easy for all involved to manage and interact  Make comments useful and valuable for the entire business @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  12. 12. What is love?  Better understanding of target audience  Audience engagement with brand/employees  Traffic increase  Content production increase  Membership increase @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  13. 13. The meet-cute: Stumbling into a solution  Comment ‘repository’ driven by existing community site  Interaction points support content through links  Editors and contributors incentivized to participate @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  14. 14. Getting to know you…  Users create a community profile/username to interact @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  15. 15. Getting to know you…  All content gets automatically generated discussion page w/ synced comments @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  16. 16. Getting to know you…  Editorially created discussion questions create second entrance point, interaction opportunity @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  17. 17. Getting to know you…  Automated comment notifications to authors, editors + commenters  Tag-based activity emails to subscribers @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  18. 18. Getting to know you…  Moderation via community back-end (WordPress) @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  19. 19. Getting to know you…  Content/discussions/users showcased on community site @Speaker Hashtag @LavaCon
  20. 20. Friends with benefits  Expected increases in:  Inbound links/search visibility  Site registrations  Return traffic  Visibility for contributors/editors  Interaction among community and site members  Data for editorial content, marketing campaigns, sales conversations @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  21. 21. Will it work out?  How will we mesh separate systems and teams?  Who handles tagging and content updates?  Where does this fit in the editorial workflow?  Will users get it? @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  22. 22. Circle of friends (and frenemies) Internal user feedback identifies:  Early adopters, supporters, skeptics  Potential workflow issues  Topic-based challenges @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  23. 23. Meet the parents Making the case for development resources:  What’s the goal?  What’s the business benefit?  What’s the alternative? @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  24. 24. Relationships = work  Data cleanup  Profile setup  Taxonomy updates  Design mockups  Daily scrum  Daily scrum  Daily scrum… @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  25. 25. Consummation All my hard work has paid off…we’re getting a new commenting system!! @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  26. 26. It gets complicated  Success means everyone participates  Create discussion questions  Monitor and respond to comments  Make user interaction a priority Wait, this isn’t just going to be easy? @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  27. 27. It gets complicated @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  28. 28. It gets complicated @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  29. 29. The grand overture 3 rules for successful communication:  Speak the language  Keep it simple (and positive)  Know what you’re asking for @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  30. 30. The grand overture “Beautiful Aurelia, I’ve come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person, because I hardly knows you, but sometimes things are so transparency, they don’t need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England. Of course I don’t expecting you to be as foolish as me, and of course I prediction you say ‘no’… but it’s Christmas and I just wanted to check.” @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  31. 31. Our strategy  Meet face-to-face with everyone impacted  Broadcast success stories and highlight early adopters  Stay visible with regular communication  Do the gruntwork to prove out value @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  32. 32. Communication efforts @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  33. 33. Communication efforts Infographic, emails, meetings Examples of success stories Communicate to contributors Communicate to sales (vendor relationships) @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  34. 34. Communication efforts @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  35. 35. Making it official  Discussion questions part of the editorial workflow (300+ created each month)  All editors (and many contributors) have profiles  Community registrations tracked  Daily notifications sent @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  36. 36. Reviews @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  37. 37. The numbers are in…  6000 comments/responses over first 10 months (12K over previous 3 years)  4000+ new-to-network registrations  20% CTR on comment notifications  Community participants view 3 times as many pages, stay 5 times as long on sites as average visitor @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  38. 38. ‘Til death do us part… ‘Honey do’ list:  Testing/feature optimization  Full integration of community into network – profiles, pages, experience  Continued workflow discussions  Increased community content/moderation  Full integration, tracking and communication of @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  39. 39. Lasting impact  Changed the internal perception about community and content lifecycle  Entered new editorial, sales + marketing conversations  Set the stage for increased resources, new roles @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon
  40. 40. Credits  benrubenstein.net  linkedin.com/benrubenstein  @ben_rubenstein @ben_rubenstein #LavaCon

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