Tag Archives: documentation

Community Manager Tip: Reuse Your Work

Community managers get asked the same questions over and over and over, so being able to quickly and easily reuse your work can save a lot of time and help maintain your sanity. The second time I’ve dug through my email archives to reuse a piece of a previous email to answer a repeat question, I usually realize that it’s time to formalize that answer and make it easy to reuse it.

Here are a few ways that you can reuse your work:

  • Have great documentation: use your online community or a blog to document frequently asked questions, processes and other useful information so that you can send a quick note and a link the next time you get the question.
  • Resources: pull together collections of links and other resources for people on a single page or section of your community to make it easy for people to find enough information to get started. The ‘Starting Point‘ page on this blog is an example of a quick and easy way to do this.
  • Use email templates (Gmail canned responses): these can be a quick way to organize information or content that gets sent by email, and I use them for collections of links, confidential information (invoices, etc.) and other things that are commonly sent via email multiple times.

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Image by Flickr user andriux-uk used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Community Manager Tip: Have Great Documentation

One of the biggest challenges for any community manager is to find ways to get new members integrated into your existing community with all of its established norms and ways of working. This can be particularly difficult if many of the things that define your community aren’t clearly documented. For any community, having great documentation can solve so many potential issues and make it easy for both new and existing members to get the information that they need quickly and easily. Ideally, you can put all of this documentation in a wiki and enlist the help of other community members. In the MeeGo community that I manage, getting all of our processes, guidelines and frequently asked questions documented has been a big focus for me lately.

Here are a few things that should be clearly documented:

  • FAQ: Always have a good frequently asked questions document. We have a main FAQ for MeeGo, which also links off to several other FAQs for specific topics. This is on my short list of things that still need a lot of additional work.
  • Processes: Document as many of your processes as you can to help members learn how to participate. Nothing is more frustrating for a new member than trying to participate, not getting it right and having to start over.
  • Community Guidelines: Have clear guidelines about what members are expected to do (or not do) that you can point people to for more information. I try to avoid guidelines that look like lists of rules, and instead, focus on encouraging people to make the right choices.

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Photo by Flickr user mind on fire under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.