Lara Lee, a former Harley-Davidson executive and national speaker on customer-centric innovation, recently wrote in an article for Forbes that “When companies focus first on meeting the needs of the people they serve, they don’t have to spend big money to attract new customers. And when they stay close to their communities they don’t need market research to tell them what people want.”

In other words, brands that are successfully creating strong online communities, whether on a public social network or a branded site, are the ones giving their consumers the content they want, when they want it. Building that kind of loyalty and advocacy is the best kind of marketing.

The closer you are to someone, the greater the chance of forming a relationship and influencing them. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a strategy that includes:

  1. Content creation
  2. A way to get that content to your audience

Be useful … and dependable

Providing relevant content that resonates with your audience creates engagement. We are bombarded with so much frivolous messaging that we have grown jaded to much of the content we come across on the web. You want to build a community? Give us content with value, not just another “Top 10 Ways to Tie Your Shoe” list.

That means:

  • Quality above all else.
  • Be consistent with your content. You may have what your audience is looking for, but if they can’t count on it being there regularly, they will look somewhere else.
  • Create eye-catching content. Strong visual elements catch the eyes of the consumers and encourages them to engage.
  • Use video. A webinar, for instance, gives your audience value and promotes real-time interactions they appreciate.

Promote Your Content and
Build Your Audience Connection

When it comes to promoting your content, there are a growing number of ways to do it. The first thing to decide is… organic, paid or a combination of both?

PPC (pay-per-click) will get you to the top of searches quicker, but organic will build more trust with your audience. There are plenty of ways to promote your content, such as:

  • Social media
  • PR
  • Influencer marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Linking to other content on your site
  • Syndication
  • Comment marketing
  • Guest posting
  • Repurposing

Successfully building an online community will keep your brand top of mind, cultivate brand ambassadors and, ultimately, grow your audience.

It all starts with trust… and content.