We strive to optimize PeerBoard for a set of the most common use cases we see across our partner communities. To serve these use cases best, we've introduced a concept for Workflows. Each workflow is a set of activities and product features that helps you achieve your goals for a specific use case. It consists of three large parts:
- Core functionality of the workflow - often defined by specific post attributes and logic
- Member incentivization - reward mechanisms to facilitate community participation
- Admin insights - analytics for you to measure the business impact of this participation
The Articles Workflow
Most of the communities we observe exhibit two knowledge sharing patterns most frequently.
One is a high-specificity, high-velocity Q&A format where a member comes with a specific request or problem and wants to crowdsource an answer or a solution to this problem. Following the same 3 pillars mentioned above, we previously built and launched our Questions workflow, and heavily optimized it for that format.
The second most common activity, requires more time and effort to nurture, but yields powerful results in the long term.
This activity is when community members act as drivers of discussions and share useful and interesting content proactively. Your community may be home to member-experts with valuable dormant knowledge that is 100% relevant to your community and its members - how great would it be if you were able to provide them with a platform to showcase their expertise and their findings in your community?
This type of user generated content could take the form of mid-length tips and tricks (similar to our dedicated community section,) showcases, or full length media rich articles produced by your members. The format supports any writing that encapsulates user/member knowledge in both medium and long form.
The workflow will also support your own articles, updates and guides with some additional mechanisms to make them more useful in these contexts as well.
Let's dive into the components of the Articles Workflow and talk about the tools that will help you support and encourage more knowledge sharing in your communities.
1. Core Mechanism
As with other post types, you can activate articles for your community by changing a Space's post type from Post to Articles in the Spaces editor in your admin panel. When you start a new community, we create an "Updates" space and set it to the Articles post type by default, so you don't have to do anything here unless you want more spaces of this type.
Post preview changes
One of the key ideas for us was to differentiate high frequency, low signal questions from more broadly appealing high signal, low frequency articles. So we focused on making articles more prominent both in the feed and in the email digests. They look slightly different in our two main visual themes, but the principles are the same: show a larger preview, don't show body content, and make titles more prominent.
In digest emails we created a whole new section above other posts called "Articles" so that your members see these first before other lower-signal posts.
We wanted to provide you with a good way to help identify useful content for both your members' convenience and in order to help build your community leaders' reputations. Featuring valuable posts from your members also helps to generate a positive feedback loop for creators and lets them know that their contributions are appreciated.
So we created a way for the admins to feature articles you really like. On any article post page, next to our usual Upvote button for a post, there is now a new option called "Feature".
Marking an article as featured gives more credibility to some of the user generated content, and shows a vote of confidence from community leadership. Importantly, it also rewards the members with a badge point, more on that later.
From our partners we often heard that they need a more immediate way of delivering important content, such as updates, releases and more. This has also been built into the Articles post type in the form of a new feature that enables admins to publish articles immediately to email.
When publishing an article, admins will see a toast pop-up with the following two delivery options: Immediately and Digest. Hitting "Immediately" will send an email with the full article content right away. Hitting "Digest" mirrors our current default behavior and adds this article to the "Articles" section at the top of the next community digest.
2. Member Incentivization
As you may have already learned from our Questions guide, we've built a neat system of member badges connected to different activity types. Since we have a good idea of what kinds of actions are helpful for the communities we support, we wanted to explicitly encourage these actions for your members.
For Questions it is giving a great answer, so we added a Best Answer highlight and reward authors of these answers with a Community Helper badge point.
For Articles we've followed the same model, creating a new Thoughtful Contributor badge. This badge is also visible on the member profile page and it has a separate leveling progression. Getting one of your articles featured adds an experience point to this badge, sends a notification and an email. If you reached the points needed to level up the badge, you also get a notification and email pair for the achievement.
We plan to keep adding badges for these clear high-value community activities. We also plan to use these badges for many other things, including leaderboards, champion profiles and more, so stay tuned!
3. Articles Insights
Finally, we've created a whole new dedicated Insights page specifically for Articles.
There you can see your Key Stats: articles posted, articles featured, total article post views and also $ value of community content if you'd like us to automatically calculate it based on your known average content production cost. All of this is calculated for the reference time-period selected in the page header.
Below the key stats section, you'll see separate charts for articles created by your team and for those created by community members, a well as a chart of featured articles, to help you better track featured community articles as an important UGC metric.
Finally you'll also see a list of top authors for the reference period and most viewed/upvoted articles for the same period.
💡 Article insights functionality is available starting from the Growth Plan.
With that addition you now have a complete flywheel of
- Articles posted with a way to highlight and reward the best quality content.
- Members encouraged to share their thoughts and findings.
- A full picture of what's happening in the community for this use case.
Converting any of your existing spaces to this new type will update the posts they contain retroactively. You may want to feature some of the existing content in those Spaces to start rewarding some of your members for their older posts
As mentioned earlier, we'll continue to work on some of the new gamification layers and we also will be launching new post types for different use cases, with a goal to get to 4 main ones we see in the next 2-3 months. The foundation is in place and we'll continue to build on it from here.
Give it a go! Try switching the post type in some of your spaces to Articles and let us know what you think in the comments below.