There is not just one way to build a digital community, or rather, leverage the web to support an existing community. When many organization’s design communities of practice they tend to focus on hosting a series of webinars, developing a forum, or building a resource library.
Their blog is often an afterthought. But it is definitely possible to support communities through blogging. And one of my favorite examples is AEA365. So I reached out to my friend Sheila B. Robinson, to ask her a few questions.
Interested in the Full Q&A with Sheila?
Here it is!
How long ago was it when you took over lead curation from Susan?
I started working with Susan in February 2013. It was supposed to be a six-month internship. Guess you can figure out what happened since then! Prior to me, she had taken on a sort of assistant curator. I’m not sure if they did six months and left, or she had just advertised wanting someone for six months when I applied. I have from time to time had some volunteer assistance myself.
Has it ever missed a day or two/gone on break?
While it has never gone on break officially, we accidentally miss a couple of days a year. Think about the monumental task of publishing 365 articles a year. I know Seth Godin does it, but he’s also not publishing 450 word articles every day either! 🙂
What is the biggest challenge in keeping the content going?
It was a lot more challenging a few years ago when we really had to do some out reach and extend invitations to people we knew to write posts. It’s now been 2 to 3 years since I’ve intentionally invited anyone to write. We are getting a steady influx of posts, and more and more groups interested in sponsoring a week. These groups are generally TIG’s, affiliates, and a few other types of groups. Once in a while, there is a consulting group and I have to make sure they don’t do too much self promotion. Also, sometimes people suggest themed weeks and we do those as well.
How far ahead do you plan posts/do you have a backlog?
It used to be that I would get nervous seeing openings two weeks ahead of time, but now, I’m generally planning for individual posts 3 to 4 months in advance. 2020 is almost full, with sponsored and themed weeks. I have individual spots open about six per month starting in March.
If someone else wants to try this in another association or community, what advice would you give to them?
I would definitely say to have contribution guidelines publicly available. The fact that we have a general format with a specified length, and expectation for an introduction, and just a few rules, has really been helpful. I think people like knowing what they’re going to get each day.
10 years from now, will there still be an AEA365?
I imagine there will be! The blog has grown in popularity in the nearly 7 years that I’ve been working with it.