||Our Community Answers:
how do I promote my community?
Thank you for asking this important question!
There are two elements to promoting your community - promoting within your
web site and promoting it beyond.
Promoting within your web site is crucial as you are reliant on the
community feeling attached to and gaining from the site it "lives" on. So,
use cross-linking to promote it in your site. Pull out interesting message
board postings in your community and promote them on the top-level of your
site, for example, or use chat event transcripts as a means to promote your
chat events. Provide a means for your community staff and/or users to be
promoted - perhaps highlighting them in a special profile section. Most
importantly, if you value your community then it should be promoted as
visibly as other sections of your site. Give it space on your home page and
promote it with different text to show that it is dynamic and active. You
should also cross-link in the other direction, from your site content to
your community. An example of this would be to add a "Discuss this with
others" link next to your featured content so as to allow movement from your
site content to your community.
Promotion within your site is really a case understanding, highlighting and
making use of paths of movement - your visitors' paths, information paths,
and interest paths. Use those paths well and your community and site will
have a good symbiosis.
To promote your community externally there are a number of methods, which
are no different to promoting your site in general. Here are some brief
One of your best promotion tools remains word of mouth. Satisfied community
participants often tell their friends, which will definitely encourage more
traffic e.g. use "email this page to a friend" links to achieve this online.
Make sure that your community is listed properly with search engines and
other community directories. Specifically submit your community sections as
well as your site in general to the search engines. Ensuring that your site
is on the major search engines is no guarantee but it will help!
If your site offers topical chats, there are numerous chat event calendars
that will promote your topical chats for free. These calendars are a great
way to reach many.
Look for ways of linking your community to other related communities or to
related web sites in order to maximise traffic, and achieve a good standing
with interested and quality participants.
If you can do so, newsletters and mailing lists also provide avenues to
generate promotions, as they provide a means for further linking and for
We hope this helps, and should you need more information or assistance,
please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Jon Nix and Pam Thomas