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Top 10 Vanilla Blogs of 2020

9 minute read

December 16, 2020

With another year coming to an end, it's time to look back at the content that we've created here at Vanilla Forums. With roughly 3 blogs published per week, several guest contributors and 10 new eBooks introduced in 2020, we had a lot of impactful content to share with you. 

This blog will unpack the summaries of the top performing blogs of 2020. Be sure to check out each of these blogs, as they've gained considerable traction throughout the year. Once you give them a read, you'll know why!

1.7 Examples of Compelling Community Welcome Emails

A community welcome email is your chance to make a great and lasting impression--this post shares 7 examples of excellent community welcome emails.

A welcome email should get new members excited to contribute or take some sort of action. If a new contributor gets a response to their first post within 5 hours, they are significantly more likely to stay active and engaged in the community.

The best welcome emails include the following:

  • A short intro about what your brand stands for
  • Empowers them to be a part of the community’s journey
  • Highlights what they can expect in the community
  • Includes 1-2 CTAs maximum (Remember, the goal is to get them excited to participate, not completely overwhelm them!)

Be sure to read the full blog here to see the 7 examples that our author showcases as impactful and powerful emails. 

2. The New KPIs for Community Managers

The key to success in any endeavor is measurement. This blog unpacks the ten key performance indicators that should matter to community managers.

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a precise, quantifiable measure that a company uses to gauge its performance in a given activity. There are several KPIs that a community could measure, depending on it's vision, mission and goals, however there are some general KPIs that most community professionals use. Nevertheless, a key piece of advice is to learn to measure what matters.

On its own, no single metric can tell you the whole story. Instead, keep your eyes continuously fixed on your overall strategy. Keep tabs on the web of measurements that directly impinge on what you’re trying to accomplish; ditch everything else.

Be sure to check out the entire blog to see 10 KPIs for community managers, or download our eBook, The Official Handbook of KPIs for Online Community Forums and Community Managers.

Community KPIs

3. How to Create Collaborative Community Mission & Vision Statements

The key components of your community’s foundation are its vision and mission. That being said, this blog will help community professionals craft vision and mission statements that are more than just words.

Sounds simple enough, right? You’ve likely seen vision and mission statements plastered to the walls of offices, in libraries and museums, and even on the entrances to shopping malls.

But creating a strategic (and useful!) vision and mission for your community can be a complex process involving many voices and a lot of feedback. To truly create something more powerful than a framed document that gathers dust somewhere, you can’t do it alone. You can’t create it in one sitting. You can’t write it once and be done with it. Instead, to be most effective, you have to gather deep insights, research, and perspectives through a collaborative process.

Be sure to check out the entire blog to see the process involved in creating the best vision and mission statements for your community.

4. How To Write Guidelines for Your Online Community Forum

Community guidelines are one of the most important things in your community. They outline what is acceptable and unacceptable and ultimately shape the direction of your community. This blog will outline how to create community guidelines that are right for your unique community. 

This may sound easy, however creating a strategic (and useful!) vision and mission for your community can be a complex process involving many voices and a lot of feedback. To truly create something more powerful than a framed document that gathers dust somewhere, you can’t do it alone.

Be sure to check out the full blog to learn how to create strong guidelines for your community.

5. The 3 Stages of Community Forum Development: Where is Yours?

This blog outlines the three stages of community development, which will help you identify the right resources and tactics that you can use to improve your community.

The steps and direction you take to improve are entirely dependent on what developmental stage that your community falls into; communities at different stages have different goals and require different tactics to reach these goals.

As a result, you need to take a step back to evaluate where your community is today and where you’d like it to go in the future, so that you can adequately determine what your next move should be. Let's take a closer look at what these community developmental stages are to determine where you might fit in.

There are three stages of community development—understanding these stages will help you identify the right resources and tactics that you can use to develop your community. These stages are:

  • Stage 1: The brand new community – building relationships early.

  • Stage 2: The developing community – learning to manage growth.

  • Stage 3: The established community – sharing responsibility to manage scale.

Be sure to check out the entire blog to determine which stage your community is in, and what steps you need to take to improve.

6. 3 Steps to Design a Community Engagement Plan

One thing that most organizations struggle with when it comes to their online community forum is engagement. Getting members to stay, participate and continue to be engaged is, in fact, the biggest challenge facing online communities, according to a recent study. That being said, this article will discuss how to design a community engagement plan in three easy steps. 

The 3 steps involved in this process are:

  1. Identify Member Segments

  2. Identify the Desires of Each Member Segment

  3. Craft your Community Engagement and Participation Plan

If you are interested in unpacking these three steps, be sure to check out the entire blog. Additionally, if you want to learn more about engaging your members, be sure to check out our eBook, Driving Adoption and Increasing Engagement In Your Online Community Forum.

Driving Engagement and Increasing Adoption

7. 5 Types of People in Online Gaming Communities

There are five types of people that you'll find in any gaming community without fail. This blog unpacks who these people are and explores what drives them.

All online gaming communities share several things in common. Most notably, they’re virtual hangouts for gamers hosted in an online community forum where people go to share interests and get more enjoyment out of the games they love.

Nonetheless, there’s often a disconnect between developers and their target audiences. This is often the case with some AAA studios that are accused of profiteering and failing to listen to their players. It’s time to start viewing your community not just as a place for players to interact, but also as a platform for developers and publishers to build relationships with their players. This comes with knowing who your audience is—which is also why the concept ‘made by gamers for gamers’ is important to many players. In other words, you need to demonstrate that you’re one of them.

Check out the entire blog to learn the five types of personalities you’ll find in any gaming community.

8. Six Must-Have KPIs for Game Developers

KPIs are important to measure for most projects, and video games are no different. This blog will teach you the six must-have KPIs for game developers.

Many still assume that heavy use of analytics and metrics is reserved for mobile games, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern game engines — take Unity, for example  have had natural analytics support implemented for years, allowing developers of all shapes and sizes to track user behavior across platforms and devices.

With behavior-tracking capabilities, developers can understand how many players they have, how they behave, what they achieve and what they spend. By understanding and optimizing game design and user flow, you can not only create a more enjoyable experience, but also build a more financially successful product.

To make all of this possible, you must be implementing and tracking the right KPIs—only then will you get the insight necessary to optimize your game.

9. 8 Tips For Online Community Moderators

Moderators are a special breed, and are some of the most important people in online communities today. They can help make or break a community and lead it to success. They are there to help facilitate conversations between fans in accordance with the brand guidelines of their company and foster a spirit of cooperation. Becoming a great moderator takes time and practice.

This blog unpacks 8 key tips to become the best community moderator possible. Be sure to read the whole blog to learn more!

10. 20 Stats About the Benefits of Online Community Forums

This blog outlines several statistics that were revealed by our recent research study, Online Communities: The Benefits and Impacts on Organizations, 2019.

Some of these stats include:

  • An online community can help organizations improve engagement by up to 21%

  • 66% of branded communities say that the community has had an impact on customer retention.

  • 68% of branded communities say that the community has helped create new leads.

  • 55% of branded communities say that the community has contributed to an increase in sales.

Be sure to check out the whole blog to see all the stats, or download the eBook to see the entire report.

Benefits and Impacts of Online Communities1

Community News

Sarah Robinson-Yu

Written by Sarah Robinson-Yu

Sarah is the Content Marketing Specialist at Vanilla Forums. Prior to Vanilla, Sarah worked in the public sector where she led and coordinated the strategic framework and operational policy development of business processes.

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