So you've decided you're ready to build a community? Exciting times! We know it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but with a bit of planning and goal-setting, you'll be one step closer to creating a successful community.
At Crowded, we come across to organizations who know they want to start a community, but still need to figure out the right steps to create a meaningful and engaged community.
That’s why we created the Community Readiness Canvas—a framework designed to prepare you for building an online community.
Our canvas covers the different aspects you need to consider before starting a community and helps you create alignment within your team and organization. Our goal is to help you and your team lay the groundwork for your community strategy, and provide you with actionable next steps.
Download our Community Readiness Canvas (PDF)
Our Community Readiness Canvas is divided into 6 Cs:
In each section, we have identified a set of questions that will help you map out your community strategy, including case studies to make it easy for you to find the right answers.
Section 1 - Change
What should change because of the community?
In the first section, we’ll focus on what you want to achieve with your community and what will define success for your organization. When building any community, it’s important to have clear goals right from the get-go. After this section, you will:
- Know how your community aligns with your organization's goals
- Have clearly defined goals and KPIs
- Have identified a clear focus for your community
Section 2 - Culture
What behavior, ideas and people shape your community's culture?
In the second section, we’ll dive into who your members are, and the culture you want to create in your community. After answering our culture questions, you will:
- Have clearly defined member profiles
- Have identified what your members are looking for
- Understand how your community will satisfy their needs
- Understand what happens your community members connect with each other
- Understand the characteristics of your typical community member
Section 3 - Content
What kind of content will be shared in the community?
The content that you and your members share is the key to an engaged community. That’s why we’ve dedicated an entire section designed to help you create a killer content strategy. This section will help you decide on:
- What content you want your members to share
- What content you and/or your partners will create
- What topics you'll use to categorize your content
Section 4 - Challenges
What challenges need to be faced when building your community?
We never said building a community would be a walk in the park. However, identifying potential drawbacks beforehand can help you over overcome any challenges that may come your way—whether that’s a lack of budget or an inactive community. After completing this section, you will:
- Have identified potential challenges
- Have a clearer understanding of your competitors
- Understand how to prevent churn (members leaving)
- Identify areas where you might be lacking in resources
Section 5 - Capabilities
What are your capabilities that will make this community a success?
Building a successful community is a long-term game. This section focuses on the different elements of running a sustainable community—from promoting your community to getting your partners to fund the community. The aim of this section is to help you:
- Identify your strengths as an organization
- Identify the channels you can use to boost your community
- Know who you can partner up with
- Have a clearer idea of the resources you have available
Section 6 - Control
How will you control and manage the community?
The final section focuses on the day-to-day running of your community, and how you'll make your members feel at home. If budget is an issue, you might want to look at monetizing membership or introducing partnership packages to support your community financially. After this section, you will:
- Have clearly defined membership requirements
- Know how involved and engaged you will be with members
- Identify how to monetize or get an ROI from your community
How to complete the Community Readiness Canvas
Go through each section in the canvas and write down everything that comes to mind. Invite your colleagues to do the same, or even organize an interactive session to do this together. If you're doing it with your team, first brainstorm individually and then compare your ideas before summarizing them into one or two coherent sentences.
Ready to kickstart your community strategy?
Download our Community Readiness Canvas