As regular readers of this blog will now know, I constantly harp on about the importance of creating content. Without content, you have nothing. With a community site, your members will hopefully be creating most of your content for you. If not, you need to step to the plate and get the job done yourself.
Always write with a clear head
I am not just talking about writing when you are sober (although this is preferential!) – online communities will often debate subjects which many people feel passionate about. You will not always be immune to this passion, and if you decide to get involved and contribute, you must ensure you keep a clear head and remain professional (or at least inoffensive!) at all times.
Remember that although you may like to consider yourself as just another member of your community, your members see you differently. You are the human side of your site, and people will often look to you for direction as to what is and what is not acceptable.
Be clear about what you want to get across
Before you start writing, be clear in your mind just what you want to say. What are the main messages you want to get across? It may help to jot down some bullet points on paper, or write some brief notes on ‘Notepad’ or a ‘Sticky’.
By being clear on exactly what message(s) you want to get across, your writing will be clear, concise and informative.
Adapt your writing style to cater for your audience
Always write for your audience. If you run a community based on comedy or humour, then reflect this in your writing style. If you run a technical forum then feel free to use technical terminology. If your community caters to a general audience then ensure your writing style is natural and easy to read.
Your writing style often determines the personality your community will adopt – so understand your audience and ensure your writing caters to them.
Always proof read
I cannot emphasise the importance of proof reading enough. Sure, it may matter less if you are posting messages in an informal forum but it is always preferable to at least skim over what you have written to ensure it is a fair reflection of the message you were wanting to get across, and that it is largely free from errors.
If you are writing a blog, I would say that the quality of your writing plays an important part in determining your success. People will feel far less inclined to repeatedly visit a blog if it is full of errors, and individual articles are hard to understand.
Has this article been useful for you? What do you do to ensure your writing is valuable and effective for your community? Let me know by leaving a comment below!