The new book - calling for ideas and suggestions

Hey everyone (especially the @INDISPENSABLES group!)

As many of you know, I’ve recently signed my first professional book contract (with Pearson).

The goal of the book is to be the most tactical guide to creating a customer community ever created. If my last book focused on the strategy, this one is going to be a step by step tactical guide to starting and managing a successful community. It’s a modern overhaul of Buzzing Communities (which is now 7 years old!).

My plan is to pack it full of the best examples, real data, and advice to setting up a community out there.

I’m looking for your ideas for topics you would like to see, areas you feel don’t get enough coverage, and anything else which would help you improve how you build a community today. If you have any ideas, let me know!


Congratulations on your book deal, Rich! I think something that doesn’t get a lot of attention is community member recognition. I think there’s a lot out there about how to build ambassador and champion programs, but I don’t think there’s enough time spent talking about why that and other forms of recognition are important, how they help strengthen your community, and any metrics that show how it contributes to community/organization success. I think sometimes we do things because it’s what we’re supposed to do without understanding the impact on a grander scale, and that’s certainly just my opinion. But I think that including that information would be a huge value add. Not sure if that’s more tactical or strategic, but thought I would mention it.


I would love to a have a topic on the sort of software out there, it’s purpose and maybe one or two example communities which truly leverage it in a successful way. Great initiative this is @richard_millington!

Love this - really looking forward to it!


Agreed :slight_smile:


I love your idea about a tactical guide! Would also like to see something about building communities from 0 to 1M members - leveraging existing social network groups (read: Facebook), experts, customers, and partners and eventually leading to a vibrant, multi-purpose community that can stand on it’s own. As the owner of several casual FB groups, I would love to understand how to take them to the next level.

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Rich, I want more info about data. What do you want in a dashboard? What metrics matter? How to use them well to shape strategy and get a read on tactics? You’ve been writing a fair amount on this lately (much appreciated. I’m devouring it), so I think you’re probably already going there. Consider this my official thumbs up if that’s the plan.

@marjorieandersonpmi I agree that member recognition and ambassador programs deserve attention. I have a successful program and am happy to share the things that have worked in my community. Our ambassadors are called Mentors. They are my secret sauce and every minute and $ invested in them results in more return than anticipated.


Thanks! Which kinds of recognition are you referring to? I’d love to hear more. I think it’s tactical enough in nature.

That’s definitely planned. I think the only catch with technology is that it can date a book rather quickly. But that’s what later editions are for :slight_smile:

Really interesting. I have been on the fence about doing much for companies on Facebook groups. Let me dwell on this one a little more.

@colleenyoung excellent. I’ll do a chapter on data and measurement. A lot of the recent work came from client material and the CMX workshop I hosted. It’s also a key plank of the coaching program at the moment.


For member recognition, I think there are a few that are widely used like ambassador/champion programs, member spotlights, or designating some sort of “expert” or “top contributor” status within the community. It makes people feel good, yes, but what’s the impact to the community? What’s the impact to the business? Is there a certain point where it doesn’t mean anything when suddenly people are vying for top spot just because? How do you carefully craft that recognition so that it’s meaningful for the recipient and still influences behavior change among community members?

This is a hot button for me because I’m seeing this manifest in my online community with the influence score - and that’s partly because of the way it’s designed (which served it’s purpose at the time it was implemented)…people are contributing for contribution’s sake just to get that score up so it doesn’t really mean anything to most people anymore. Now I want to change it so that influence actually means something and it evokes meaningful engagement versus someone posting “thanks” on a bunch of content because it boosts their influence score.

It’s a long winded answer, but I hope this helps!


Thanks @marjorieandersonpmi,

Right, I’m with you here. Very interesting. I think the impact of gamification programs is probably a lot less than many people imagine for the majority of members. It’s often treated like a silver bullet when it really shouldn’t be.

Ok, let me include that.


Congratulations on the book deal!

I would love to see more on paper about scaling but also keeping in touch with your community. Do you (need to) act differently with 100, 10k members or 100k members? What when you run into the millions of users.


Thanks Wouter!

You definitely do need to act differently at those levels. I’ll try to include it within the book.

You spend a lot of time in your daily blog about working with vested parties and building relations in the company – in other words, making the community “indispensable” to the organization. It’d be great to hear real stories of how users have empowered organizational practices with community.

Lots and lots of case studies and real examples. It’s one thing to read an abstract idea, its another to hear how real CoPs are implementing them.

What Not To Do - sidestepping mistakes is just as important as implementing solid community management principles.

Best Practices - highlights of successful programs or successful communities.

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This is great to know, thanks Joel!

A deeper dive into what tools you use for segmentation of the community and tracking survey questions year to year. That’s the part that I really want to do, but my community software doesn’t have that capability and I haven’t found a good tool for how to pull it off!

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Curious, what are you trying accomplish?

I think I understand what you are asking, but I want to be sure before I start spouting off a bunch of advice. But if I understand correctly the objective is for year over year analysis of things like NPS score of your community? Or are you looking for more of like session views, regional interaction, and breakdown of languages (by browser) that visit your community.


Yes, NPS style scoring, to gauge community satisfaction. The Feverbee Buzzing Communities book as some advise on segmenting your users to get a broad cross-section of users in each segment (if I remember correctly). My plan was do divide up the users by signup date (segmented by month) and run automated yearly NPS surveys. Track the same users over time. Given that our community is almost 17 years old, it’s a long overdue.