How to Generate Online Community Traffic with a Content Strategy
As an online community manager, regardless of the purpose of your community, you’re expected to grow traffic on a regular basis. This goal is important because community members are fickle. They come by for a while, but eventually, they get caught up in something else. Very few people stick around for years. Without a fresh crop of new community members coming in, your community will turn into a ghost town.
You also have to drive traffic to a specific target. The goal of a product-based community, for example, is to achieve sales growth. Without knowing your community’s traffic habits, you won’t be able to drive traffic anywhere, let alone to a sales page.
That’s why those stats are so important. They tell you where your traffic is coming from, what visitors are doing when they reach your community or website, and how long they stick around. Take that information from your stats, and see what you can do to raise the bar.
One of the most important things you can learn from your stats is how readers are reacting to your content. Content, means your blog posts, articles, comments, videos, webinars, and anything else that your readers see or hear while they’re on your site. Your Facebook posts, Tweets, Google+ updates, and forum discussions are also content.
Your stats and analytics programs show you your top content of the day, week, month, or year, and even how well it fared for all time. Most of your potential members probably found your community’s content via search engines, so it’s imperative to develop a strategy that uses your content to lure in even more readers — readers whom you hope will become productive members of the community.
Make note of the most popular topics, as well as the types of content that your community members enjoy most. If they react best to video, create more videos. If a certain topic brings in a flood of traffic, create more content in that vein. If certain discussions bring in the most comments, plan future discussions on the same subject matter.
Don’t fall into the trap of posting negative or controversial content simply to bring in readers. You’ll lose your loyal community members.
Also note new trends. If certain search terms are starting to attract attention, use those terms to create similar content to further attract searchers and search engines. That isn’t to say you should write the same article one hundred different ways, but do plan content around the types of things your community reacts to best. Avoid the topics getting little or no reaction from your community.