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Wellbeing

Published November 8th 2021

How To Use Communities To Supercharge Your Content Career

Content marketing can be a lonely space.

You may be the only content person in your team or a content freelancer operating as an island of one.

Having no peers who get content can be hard and slow your career growth.

This is something I struggled with early in my career until I discovered the power of community! 

I'll share how you can make the most out of communities to make your content role easier 😊

Here’s what this post will cover:

  1. Types of content communities
  2. Ways to use content communities to supercharge your career
  3. Content collaboration: how to foster long-term partnerships
  4. How to be a valuable community member

Let’s start with what we mean by a content community.

In this instance, I’m defining a content community as:

A group of content professionals connected by their similar roles and career aspirations.

Here are some types of content communities:

Slack communities

In Slack content communities, people often need to meet certain criteria to join.

ContentUK (which I run!) is for content marketers in the UK and Women in Tech SEO exists (as the name suggests) for women with a career in tech SEO.

Twitter communities

‘Twitter chats’ are popular in the content marketing world.

They follow a format where content folks all answer career questions using a hashtag:

#FreelanceHeroes – every Weds at 8pm (GMT)

#FreelanceChat – every Thurs at 5pm (GMT)

#SEOChat - every Thurs at 6pm (GMT)

#ContentClubUK – every Tues at 11am (GMT)

Reddit communities

The content marketing subreddit is handy for finding discussions around all things content.

Pro Tip

Use BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer tool to tap-into conversations in public forums like Reddit and Quora.

"I find content writers and partners in Facebook Groups, on Twitter, and in Slack communities. The groups I join for fun—because I have a genuine interest in engaging on the topic—tend to naturally lead to the best business opportunities because it feels more natural and less forced" - Scott Baradell, Editor, Trust Signals

Ways to use content communities to benefit your career

There are many benefits to investing in communities for the long term.

You can meet like-minded people, get (early) access to opportunities, and unblock challenges.

Here are ways to make the most of content communities:

Unblock your content challenges with the help of experienced content marketers

If you're aspiring to become a Head of Content, speaking to someone in that role is invaluable.

In communities, you can access people who have already overcome common content obstacles:

  • Preparing for a promotion
  • Salary negotiations
  • How to prove the value of content to stakeholders
  • How to deal with difficult conversations
  • Applying and interviewing for content roles
“It's been great to have conversations about some of the shared challenges we have working in content and being able to learn from how other people have tackled them.” - Chloe Dormand - Content Manager, Paddle

Here are some questions people have asked in content communities that have generated discussions:

  • Q3 is always a real slog in terms of numbers. How do you prep for/get out ahead of the summer slump?
  • What type of task works best to test writing skills (we're talking B2B SaaS blog content)
  • Do you dedicate a % on your content strategy to zero / low volume searches?

Unlike a static Google answer, members can answer your scenario-specific questions in real-time.

The ‘hive mind’ kicks into action; multiple folks chime in to help solve your issue.

My big take [from being in a community] is sharing and collaborating on work, being able to meet like-minded people who just ‘get’ content and the challenges we all face - Emma Wesley, Founder at immerj

Community hive mind FTW 🐝 🧠

Connect with content peers in a safe space ❤️

The most magical thing about a community is human support.

Your wellbeing is priority number one (yes, more important than meeting your deadline!) and people want to help if you’re struggling.

Content marketers commonly experience emotional challenges:

  • Burnout
  • Feeling overworked and under-appreciated
  • Stakeholders not ‘getting’ the work involved in content or seeing it as unimportant
  • Feeling lonely due to being on a tiny content team (or a freelancer)
  • Not feeling included at work
  • Questioning whether you’re paid fairly

“The biggest win of being part of a tight marketer community is the feeling of companionship! When you specialise in a particular area of your role, you’re often the only person that does it (and sometimes, cares for what you do), despite how much value it can bring to the business. Having like-minded people to bounce ideas off of, is solid gold!” - Veronika Vebere, Inbound Marketing Manager, Sendible

Communities can be inclusive spaces that facilitate honest chats with people who aren’t your colleagues.

“Honestly don't think I would still be here if it wasn't for the #ContentClubUK crew - I’ve made so many friends that have helped me to refine my processes, get new clients, supported me when I've had imposter syndrome and helped me to develop new skills” - Dee - Wicked Content

Source community conversations and add your expertise 💬

Use BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer tool to find conversations happening in communities like Reddit.

Perfect for uncovering discussions amongst your target audience that you can dive into.

You could type in ‘content marketer’ as a keyword and find questions asked around that topic.

In the example above, we can see the questions ‘do you think content is a good part of marketing to forge a career in?’ and ‘why is content writing important for digital marketing?’

You can then jump into these community conversations and start adding value!

Pro Tip

Filter your results to ‘past week’ or ‘past month’ to find recently active conversations

Find content jobs 💼

Content roles are often informally shared in communities before public job boards.

Look for #jobs channels in Slack groups and the hashtag #contentjobs on social media.

You can also increase your chances of being top of mind for a role by being an active community member.

A Head of Content may be in the early stages of considering a content hire.

As the first port of call, they’ll often put the feelers out within any marketing communities they're a part of.

If you’re already supporting others and adding value, you’ve laid out the groundwork for roles to be sent your way.

Peers will notice your expertise, helpfulness, and enthusiasm for content 😊.

You might just be the first person that springs to mind when that Head of Content is hiring!

Content collaboration: fostering long-term partnerships 🤝

This section will discuss using communities for content collaborations.

From sourcing speakers to partnering with ‘influencers’ and companies to co-brand webinars with.

Let’s break this down into 3 steps.

  1. Find influencers to collaborate with
  2. Engage with your ideal people
  3. Collaborate

1. Find influencers to collaborate with

Use BuzzSumo’s influencer feature to identify your ideal collaborators.

Let’s take an example.

I’m currently organizing a ContentUK Q&A on ‘How to build a content team’.

I’m looking to have Heads of Content as panelists for this and am seeking a UK-based speaker.

Here’s a walkthrough of how I’ve used BuzzSumo’s influencer tool:

  1. Set the profile filter to include the term “heads of content”
  2. Set the location filter to “UK”
  3. Sift through that list and identify any that seem an ideal speaker fit!

3. Order the list of Twitter profiles by ‘number of followers’

4.Sift through that list and identify any that seem an ideal speaker fit!

Use the Influencer feature to find people on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook communities.

Pro Tip

 Select ‘active influencers’ to show influencers who have tweeted in the last 3 months

2. Build rapport with content peers & influencers

Okay, you’ve identified people you’d like to collaborate with.

At this point, you could make a cold ask to collaborate (more tips on cold outreach here). But you can make life easier for yourself if you build genuine connections over time:

  • Like and comment on their posts
  • Share their content
  • Send a message with a genuine ‘thank you’ if their work has helped you in any way

3. Collaborate

Once you've made some connections, it's much easier to make ‘asks’ for content collaborations!

Source quotes for your content

Marketers love to feature in content :)

Often there are channels in Slack groups to request content quotes.

“Being part of Twitter is an excellent way to source quotes from experts. It also helps me connect with other freelancers, industry professionals, and build relationships” - Ashley Cummings, Freelance Writer

You can also use the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter.

Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and Help a B2B Writer exist to match writers to expert sources for content too. 

Co-branded webinars

Co-branded webinars are the perfect partnership if your company has the same audience as your speaker.

Your webinar can be shared across both your networks meaning you’re supporting each other and educating more people.

Content distribution

If you’ve built a relationship with someone, they'll often be happy to support you and share your work!

Don’t be afraid to ask someone directly to share your content in their newsletter or social accounts if you think it’s valuable to their audience.

Learn more on how to use BuzzSumo’s influencer tool to distribute content here. 

They’ll often be a #promote-your-stuff channel in Slack groups for peers to share too.

How to be a valuable community member

We’ve covered a lot of ways to use communities to supercharge your content career. 

And this all starts by being genuinely helpful to others.

Here are 6 simple tips to be a valuable community member:

  1. Introduce yourself: let people know who you are and why you've joined a community to break the ice early on :)
  2. Share resources: spotted a useful guide on content strategies? Share it! Bonus if you can summarise any key points
  3. Be nice: responding to someone's unanswered question can light up someone’s day 
  4. Encourage people: a simple act of championing another member goes a long way :)
  5. Help those with less experience than you: a good rule of thumb: aim to support 2 people for every question you put to a community (if you can!)

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to being a trusted community member!

Wrapping up

You shouldn’t have to figure everything out by yourself when it comes to your content career.

Communities exist to support you and connect you with like-minded peers and opportunities. 

I hope these tips will help you make the most out of communities as you continue along your content journey :)

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