was successfully added to your cart.

Should our audience be a community or a network?

  • 0
  • October 26, 2011

Shelly Bowen, founder of Pybop, a content strategy consultancy

I recently attended three local networking events back to back. All three had a slightly different vibe, a different community feel.

At each event, I ran into people I’ve met before. It’s always nice to see a familiar face in a crowd. I gravitate toward them, then meet the people they are talking to. Then someone asked me, “Do you meet a lot of great clients at these networking mixers?”

I hesitated. “No, not really.” Or maybe a better answer would be, No, not exactly. Her face said, “Then why do you go?” I struggled to explain.

The thing is, I network to build a community — or more specifically, meet good people — not to sell something. My network is fairly large, but my community is small. My community is more personal, friendly, helpful. I’m more likely to remember them, want to hear what they’ve been up to, and help make connections — and vice versa.

It’s a feel-good thing. But it’s also good business.

It’s the same with content strategy — you want your content to both cast a large net and draw in and speak to your community in a more personal way. Your first connection may not illicit a response, but the second may create a flicker, and the third incite action. That’s exciting.

If you’re not sure if your audience is a network or a community, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they recognize your brand?
  • Could they describe what you do or provide?
  • Are they likely to tell a friend about you or your brand?

Strong Yeses to all indicate a community. If your answers are no or somewhere in-between yes and no … you have a network. Networks need small bites. An introduction. An inspiring and memorable moment. Communities need recognition.

Does this ring true for you?

Author Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, Pybop's chief content strategist, has led teams of writers and creatives to develop websites and interactive content for more than 15 years. Read more about Shelly.

Contact Shelly

Leave a Reply