- Content is a connecting force. Think about the classic Jewish study model of chevruta: two people hover over a text, dissecting it, questioning it, comparing it to other sources and their own lives. In the process, they not only develop a deeper relationship with that text and Jewish tradition, but with one another. The text is the connector. That's what good content can do online, in a way that's broader, public, and potentially more inclusive.
- Always start with your goals. You have to know what you're trying to accomplish in order to choose the right content – and, by extension, the kinds of conversations – that will help you and your community get there.
- Always remember your audience. The people you are trying to reach have their own self-interest, for better or for worse. Practice empathy. If you can tease out the sweet spot, the overlap between what you want to accomplish and what they want for themselves, you'll be able to choose, develop, and share content that's both meaningful to your audience and relevant to your goals.
- Events as opportunities for content generation. Pictures, videos, and quotes are all quick, easy things you can grab at an event and make effective content. Think through what else might work for your event, who will be responsible for capturing it, and how you can share it.
- Crowdsourcing for content generation. It's important to be transparent about your intentions, but putting a question or enticing message out on social media, then using the responses as a blog post or as another type of content (collect images or links, turn the responses into a graphic, etc.), is a great way to build community and momentum online AND generate meaningful content.
- Blog parties for content creation. Some communities are experimenting with hosting IRL (in real life) parties specifically geared towards sharing and documenting stories. Again, you need to be transparent about your intentions, but getting together a small group (and a few laptops) for some wine, cheese, and storytelling can make for a fun opportunity to both build community on the ground and unearth great stories to share.
- Have evergreen/recipe content ready to share anytime. Much of the content we share is event or time specific; but having content that's appropriate anytime is a useful way to keep at the front of your audience's mind more often. That way, when you ask them to attend an event or give a donation, it's not coming out of the blue – they've already been in conversation with you and are ready to listen. Lists, recommendations, interviews, profiles, etc., can all be great options, but think about what might work for your community.
- Reframe what you're already doing. Be conscious about what you're sharing (get permission for photos, etc.), but anytime you can capitalize on the things you're already doing, or capture moments in real time (think mobile!), you're putting together an authentic experience for your audience and building trust.
- Content curation. A curator is a sense-maker. She's someone who knows what's out there, finds the best of it (again, based on her goals and her community), and puts it together in a way that makes a meaningful experience. This means sharing your voice, explaining key points, asking good questions, being attentive to the responses. It means being very aware of what's available and what might be useful to your community. Finding, framing, and sharing other people's content in a way that speaks to who you are and what your community wants is the real opportunity behind content curation. It's a fun, though sometimes challenging, way to build your reputation online.
- Curation begins with listening. Listen for good content shared by others. Listen to your community. Listen for responses and be ready and willing to shift and reset if something isn't working.
Next steps? Time to try something new! Listen, plan, and jump in and have fun!
How do you create and find great content to share with your community? What else would you like to know about content generation and curation?