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How to Incorporate Your Online Community into Your New Year's Resolutions

December 15, 2011
It’s that time of year again; when after we get over the hurdles of the holiday shopping sprint and countless food comas, we can begin focusing on counting down the last seconds of 2011 and preparing for the New Year and what it has to offer for our personal and professional lives. But one important element you mustn’t forget to include when making your list of do’s and don’ts for 2012 is your online community.

As you embark on the New Year within the next couple of weeks, keep these three best practices in mind in order to continuously improve your online community over the next 12 months.

Build on what’s been successful
Many companies see the New Year as a fresh start; a time when they can put any past failures of the year behind them and start over with a clean slate. However, if your company had a successful year, rather than making unnecessary changes in opposite directions, it is more beneficial to instead take what you have been doing right and build on it. Putting a new spin on concepts that were successful in the past will bring a fresh outlook to your community while continuing to add to your previous success. For example, if your Editor covered a specific topic that generated a lot of clicks on your online community and subsequently turned into a lot of leads, revisiting the topic from another angle will likely be beneficial. Or if you obtained a reasonable amount of feedback from a particular webinar or podcast, featuring additional assets along the same lines can be expected to generate positive results as well. Remember the old saying; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Keep it engaging
There’s two things we know for sure about online behavior. First, the attention span of the average website visitor is not very long, so keeping them engaged with the latest news in the form of in-depth featured articles and additional multimedia aspects is more important than ever. With an infinite number of sites on the Web, it’s your obligation to find a way to make your online community stand apart in the World Wide Web.

This leads me to my second observation; visitors like to click on things- it’s that simple. Sure, when it comes to obtaining the news most readers are perfectly content with a blank document of text and the occasional image to get the point across, however, since we are aware of how short their attention spans tend to be, there needs to be other elements present to keep them wanting more.  Adding multimedia aspects like videos, podcasts and interactive webinars will give your online community additional flair that will keep readers engaged and browsing your community for further information.

Plan ahead
We can all probably relate to the initial motivation any New Year generates only to be clouded by everyday life getting in the way shortly after.  This year when you are mentally jotting down your New Year’s resolutions, include looking further ahead based on your 2012 goals for you online community. Rather than planning out the schedule for your online community on a month to month basis, look further ahead to get a better handle on your overall direction and eliminate deadlines falling through the cracks. Breaking down initiatives for you online community based on quarters or bi-annual strategies will instead allow your company to spend your efforts meeting your goals rather than creating them. Having a plan in place to follow an editorial calendar, switch out relevant assets to continuously generate leads, and add timely multimedia elements as they are created will help to lessen feeling overwhelmed and produce more effective results for your company.  

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Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.

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