Create a community positioning strategy

Business benefits

Guide your community promotion, content, events, and activities by evaluating your competition and developing the right positioning for your community.

Conduct member research to learn about the community attributes that your audience rank as most important. Pick the two most highly ranked.

Give them community attributes to choose from like:

  • Anonymous
  • Exclusive
  • Serious
  • Focused
  • Experts
  • Proven
  • Factual
  • Detailed
  • Verified
  • Diverse
  • Fun
  • Comprehensive
  • Beginners
  • Cutting edge
  • Opinionated
  • Quickest

Research other places members frequently go today to find these attributes and get the value they seek.

Create a competitive positioning chart with the two community attributes as the axes. Plot your potential community and common substitutes on the graph.

For example, a support community might use personalization and trustworthiness as its axes, and plot itself alongside alternatives like customer support, social media, asking colleagues, and formal documentation.

Evaluate the competitive positioning chart to see whether a substitute can accomplish the same needs better than a community could.

While this process is somewhat subjective, be honest plotting both the community and potential substitutes. While it takes initial work to find the right positioning, it prevents a community failing because better alternatives existed.

If a substitute performs better at one of the two attributes, move to the next most pressing need from your member research and create a new competitive positioning chart.

Repeat the process until you have found two member needs that are both important to your audience and high performing compared to alternatives.

Write a positioning statement structured using the formula: The [superlative] place for [audience] to [behavior] [value].

The for to
[SUPERLATIVE] [AUDIENCE] [BEHAVIOR] [VALUE]
Best Customers Ask questions Templates
Quickest Developers Share Questions
Proven Staff Learn Answers
Easiest Newcomers Read Ideas
Most trustworthy Colleagues Get (get) Help
Most cutting-edge Young Help Solutions
Most exclusive Old Gather Resources
Friendliest Veterans Discover Connections
Most serious Resellers Test Experts
Most fun Partners Watch Staff
Simplest Exchange Support
Make
Befriend
Contact
Identify

Your positioning statement defines:

  • Who the community is for (audience).
  • What members will do (verb).
  • What value members get from those behaviors (noun).
  • Why it’s the best place to do that behavior (superlative).

For example:

  • The most exclusive place for engineers to exchange ideas.
  • The quickest way for customers to get help with product problems.
  • A place for beginners to ask questions and get the friendliest answers.
  • The most convenient way for teachers to find and share the templates they need.

Draw up tactics that will support your community’s positioning and fulfill your audience’s most valued community attributes.

For example, tactics for a community that is positioned as most trustworthy might include:

  • Moderating and checking every answer.
  • Requiring approval for each member to join.
  • Recruiting and rewarding top community experts.
  • Quickly removing poor-quality contributions.
  • Displaying credentials of top community members.

On the other hand, tactics for a community prioritizing speed may include:

  • Incentivizing enthusiastic members to answer simple questions.
  • Notifying groups of top members about new questions.
  • Showing unanswered questions in prominent locations.
  • Sending unanswered questions to agents to answer after 12 hours.

@lsmous

Not action-oriented enough. Modify to something like:

But the lesson isn’t so much focused on member needs as on community attributes that are important to potential members. We need to rewrite the step text with that point in mind.

Add the graphics from the Survey Results (slide 14) and Finding a new positioning slides in the lesson slide deck.

This is hard to follow without more information and a good visual. Link this playbook in the step text: Create a perceptual map

Copy the chart from the The Perfect Positioning slide in the slide deck to add to the step explanation.

Clarify: perform better for both attributes than a new community could.

Add the chart from the Competitive Positioning Chart slide to the step explanation.

I don’t think these need to be separate steps – add the text to the step 3 explanation instead.

Add the charts from the Survey results (slide 16) and Revamped community positioning chart slides to the step explanation.

Seems redundant if we focus on community attributes from the beginning – I think we can remove this step completely.

This is really well-written! We need to tweak the information provided, though:

Then the step explanation can cover the information from slide 10 that was in the step text, and the examples.

I can see what you’ve tried to do here, but the information is too dense. It would work better in a format closer to the slide it came from:

The for to
[SUPERLATIVE] [AUDIENCE] [BEHAVIOR] [VALUE]
Best Customers Ask questions Templates
Quickest Developers Share Questions
Proven Staff Learn Answers
Easiest Newcomers Read Ideas
Most trustworthy Colleagues Get (get) Help
Most cutting-edge Young Help Solutions
Most exclusive Old Gather Resources
Friendliest Veterans Discover Connections
Most serious Resellers Test Experts
Most fun Partners Watch Staff
Simplest Exchange Support
Make
Befriend
Contact
Identify

This is a bit vague at the moment. Try:

Step explanations that are solely made up of expandable sections are terrible UX. Please don’t do this.

Remove quotes and use italic formatting instead.

Edits made to address all feedback

@lsmous Laura, I’ve made a few edits to this one. They included:

  • Taking the slide framing off the graphics. Unnecessary waste of space.
  • Adding playbook links to step text. This can get a bit confusing, because we do it different ways for different situations. In hubs, playbook links go into the step explanation, in their own paragraph. In playbooks, that’s often not the case. In playbooks, they either go in the step text or in the step explanation. In this case, if you couldn’t already do – or hadn’t already done – what was in the playbook, you’d struggle with the step. So it’s sensible to add the link as early as possible, so the reader can see that it’s something they need and click through.
  • Adding periods to the end of longer list items.
  • Separating out steps 3 and 4. Not sure what happened there.

Good job on adding step 2 – I think that works well.

Thanks @naomi_kramer. Should we always add periods to the end of longer list items, regardless of whether or not they are a full sentence?

Hi @lsmous – I think longer list items usually at least complete a sentence started with the preceding text. Like:

But yes, this is one of those style guide things that every company does a bit differently. CXL is aiming to come across as more modern and forward-thinking, so we’re tending towards the newer trends – like using a period on lists where at least one of the items is more than 2 or 3 words long. The only if it completes a full sentence rule is more old-fashioned.