My AADE Network Communities of Interest (COIs) offer significant value to AADE members who regularly share documents, resources, learnings, and insights with each other. COI Leaders and active discussants have been pivotal in growing and shaping the forums organically.
As we enter 2018, AADE’s challenge to its COI Leaders is to partner purposefully with the AADE Board of Directors and Staff to create more interest, inspire more knowledge transfer, and provide more community through these forums.
We believe the COIs are poised to become expanded centers of thought leadership as the profession changes - and an even greater source of community and support.
While there are different way to achieve this more goal, one of the most foundational approaches is to focus on content strategy. While it may not always be easy, creating a monthly content plan for your COI has tremendous benefits:
- Saves you time overall as a leader - set it and forget it!
- Makes it easier to delegate and assign posting to multiple volunteers when needed
- Avoids a “random” and “I hope someone posts” approach – while still allowing for flexibility
- Maintains momentum and avoids stagnation in your COI
- Inspires active contributors to continue in their efforts
- Creates a sense of expectation for passive networkers (i.e., “lurkers”) who may need more activation energy to become contributors
- Provides metrics and feedback to direct growth
As a guide, here are three steps to help you get started on creating a purposeful content strategy.
STEP 1: CREATE AND CURATE - Brainstorm Content Ideas for Your COI
As a COI Leader, you know your forum and participants the best, but here are a few ideas to spark your creativity.
- Use theme-based days to guide your planning.
- Motivational Monday/Midweek Motivation (share an inspirational quote or encouraging anecdote on a Monday or Wednesday).
- Disasters of the Masters (senior educator shares a “difficult” story from earlier in their career and what they learned from that failure.
- What Would You Do Wednesday (as a question and get opinions; could also be multiple choice!)
- Throwback Thursday: What I No Longer Do (help get rid of “old” practices by discussing what practices you’ve let go of).
- Write a blog or a “meatier” themed post.
- Post a relevant article or “how to” video.
- You don’t need to write everything de novo: share, cross-post and curate content!
- Don’t “blind post” without commentary. Give a one-line “so what?” as a teaser to draw out the main point. (Tip: This can also be a direct quote from the article or video!)
- Provide a case study.
- Requires work/delegation, but this can be very rich content and spark discussion.
- Link to a relevant AADE Practice Paper, Position Statement or Tip Sheet
- You might know it’s there – but many members don’t!
- Ask a provocative question to get discussion started.
- Host a monthly “round-up”: Ask members to post a certain document type, so the COI can build its resource library for members.
- Feature a great document/resource that has already been posted to the COI.
- Acknowledge the member by name to encourage sharing
- Add a one-line “so what?” to highlight a key point
- Post short commentary on a white paper/published document/research article from AIP/TDE and ask for feedback.
- Use Dueling Perspectives: Ask members with differing perspectives to provide commentary on a question you identify ahead of time.
- Record a quick iPhone video of yourself discussing a topic rather than writing a text piece.
STEP 2: DELIVER - Determine Your Schedule and Posting Partners
- Designate a specific day each month for creating your COI Content Calendar.
- Carve out 1 hour to brainstorm and pull together your content for the upcoming month.
- Determine how many scheduled posts you will plan per month. Or per week?
- Can you balance your schedule with ambitious goals?
- Use a mix of “easy” content posts with more resource-intensive posts.
- What systems can you set up for yourself?
- Create a “parking lot” for good ideas and articles that can be posted later.
- Email yourself ideas and articles that you can easily pull together during your dedicated planning time.
- Who is going to help you? Do you need a partner in crime or a team in training?
- Who are your current COI power users? Tap into them to post, lead and share ideas.
STEP 3: MEASURE AND IMPROVE - Determine What Worked, What Didn’t, And What to do Next Month
- Track what worked – do more of that!
- Track what didn’t work – should you tweak the idea or trash it? Not every idea will work, and that’s okay.
- Stay flexible – if the environment/news cycle provides a great idea, run with that.
Growing a vital and engaged community takes time; it cannot be accomplished overnight or through the work of only one person. But starting with a (modest!) written content plan for each month and leading your COI from a position of creativity and openness to experimentation will go a long way towards accomplishing our mutual goal of expanding the effectiveness and value of the AADE COIs.
Staff is here to help and support you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your AADE team:
- Gina McClure, Chief Operating Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nadine Merker, Director, Member and Volunteer Engagement, email@example.com
- Pati Mangano, Senior Manager, Member and Volunteer Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cindy Wilson, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Volunteer Engagement, email@example.com