Creating collaborative content that engages…

Creating collaborative content that engages…


This message was initially intended as an e-mail for Erin Spalding Client Services, Doe-Anderson | Marketing and Advertising Professional which was later developed into this online discussion.

I know you’re thinking of interesting ways to get new (and future) members to engage with our new resources and content more  proactively. In a minute you’ll know why I wanted to bring this conversation online!  Here’s an article I came across about ‘polls or polling.’  Since I’m a data guy and Rudy‘s into poly sci, I thought a collaborative piece could “provide a great example” for our members.  We can use it to build interest and educate our members of future features and enhancements we’re thinking of proposing.

Collaborating online can build interest “based on example.”  It’s also a way of bringing our members “into the conversation”.  Engaging and interacting with our most engaged members to find out what they want and how they want to be engaged!  This special interest piece can be developed allowing for better transparency, getting feedback in a “lean way” from our most engaged members.  Having these pieces already in place when the new site comes up can make “it” and “us” sticky and serve as a consistent message for every new user/members who arrives online.  Letting them know what opportunities exist and how they can engage without waiting for the first event of interest.

I thought of you when reading this post  on ‘polls’ and wanted to pass it along.  Rudy(for better understanding) & Eric(for the data element.)  Even though the above link is for WordPress, the logic to create polls to engage users with an insightful question can be applied to any website (or CMS, Content Management System.)  To get feedback from our future members we need to start building and promoting ‘habits.’  It’s not a big deal for us to add a comment, we all “get” the value created in terms of SEO, but if not here’s a break-down..(Hypothetically speaking, does anyone find me answering this question for YPAL helpful?  Let me know..)

  • How does one calculate the value of engagement?
  • What does Google say about the value of engagement?
  • Why does it matter that folks engage online? In person is better, but why?

When a person is unaware of our name or organization YPAL, what do (they) our potential future members search for to reach us?  What leads them/us (our potential members) to our value prop and membership?

 What are our potential members intentions when searching for a group like YPAL.  WHY?

  • are they looking to help?
  • are they looking to meet similar and assertive folks like themselves?(my reason)
  • are they looking to Connect?
  • are they looking to Engage?
  • are they looking to Develop a skill or capability?

Do you think a write-up like this would be interesting for our members?  Getting them to ask themselves the reason, why?

[Then tell us.. online] So, they can actively pursue their own intentions while here, faster.  Most would say, the importance or value is obvious, but do we really know?  New members or casual viewers may read the message of Connect, Engage, Develop and it might get lost, but hearing and knowing what others are suggesting may make it obvious we have goals and aspirations similar to others.

Providing valuable and useful (content) that engages to get feedback are the only ways we can be/do better (and develop ourselves).

It’s like the basketball game where no one in the crowd responds.  Our potential members are the fans.. we either have ecstatic fans or we have crickets.  We’re either putting a good team on the field or court (OK, Erin UK) or we’re putting together a bunch of duds that doesn’t attract, retain or recruit anyone to our games.

It’s probably easier down at UK.. not only do they have great Basketball, but the fans are ridiculous.. maybe you can talk more about your experience there?  I like the metaphor of an athlete better than a rock star (from Mark Collier’s blog).  And it’s not about Mark, he’s given me a better understanding to make this distinction.. Rock stars “get” fans, but I’m not sure of their internal motivation.  At least with an athlete, you know they have an innate competitive nature to be the best they can be..and who doesn’t like competition?

All potential members of YPAL can relate to that, right?  Even though I said all that.. check out this 14 year old musician!

and how about a YPAL’ Google ad’ over these types of inspirational videos-maybe not music..but you get the picture, right?  Actually, our members are multi-faceted and allowing them to describe there own personal interest to highlight a moment of happiness or leadership would be really interesting to future members.

Finally, I just got this book called, “UX for Lean Startups” If you want your own copy, you can get a 40-50% discount through the Lean Startup Circle – Louisville. Just look for the little O’Reilly sponsorship (I don’t get any affiliate fees, it’s going to be really important to promote future innovation.)

Whose this book for..


This book will make  you a better designer.  If you’re already a designer, that probably sounds pretty good.  But I believe this is truly for just about anyone, from engineers to MBAs.


“This book is for decision makers.  This book won’t teach you how to sell your idea to your manager or how to convince people that user research is helpful or that a good user experience is necessary.  What it will do is give you specific tools and tips for learning, designing, and shipping something amazing.

You see, this book is only for people who want to build things.  Right now.  It’s for people who want to learn how to make products that people will love without wasting a lot of time and money.

Like I said, this book is for entrepreneurs.”

After being at the Mayors event.. We shouldn’t get caught up on the word ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘developer’, it could just as easily be ‘innovator’ and doesn’t necessarily have to relate to ‘technology.’  Everything we’re doing is ‘cutting edge’ and innovating better ways to collaborate and improve our engagement and awareness with others. Oh, one other thing, I might has well say the super secret lean startup conference tickets went on sale to those “in the know” today.


 Frequently used words

better book content develop engage engagement fans get good know like looking members new our people potential say together value why ypal


2 thoughts on “Creating collaborative content that engages…

  1. Hi, Jason. These are really great ideas you’ve posted, and I do think they’re important.

    We all want YPAL not only to continue to grow but also to get and keep people engaged. There needs to be a conversation about how best to accomplish this, and as many different people as possible should weigh in.

    How does one calculate the value of engagement? That’s a good question. One way is in terms of how it improves members’ YPAL experience. Maybe the more engaged its members are and the larger the number of engaged members, the more attractive the organization will be to potential associates.

    Also, with a larger number of highly engaged members, YPAL could obtain more feedback and could receive that feedback more frequently. That would help the organization meet its members’ needs better and more quickly.

    Below are links to some great information I found about engagement. Some of the information has to do with situations other than generating interest in an organization, but the principles can help us promote YPAL.

    Jason, you asked why it matters that people have the opportunity to engage YPAL online. It matters because that might be the only way (or at least the initial way) some of them will do so. There are multiple reasons for this; for example, online engagement is fast, convenient, and often anonymous.

    I agree with you that dealing with members in person is better since it suggests that the relationship is of higher quality and that those involved have more invested in it. However, getting people to show up for anything, including YPAL functions, is not always easy, especially when the relationship is casual or young. Engaging people online (at least at first) strikes me as more realistic in many cases than persuading them to come to a gathering.

    I myself learned about YPAL through my involvement with Code Louisville. I’m sure that there are others who found YPAL through organizations they already belonged to.

    I’ve verified that YPAL is easy to find using Google and Yahoo. I’m happy about that because my best guess is that some people would use a search engine to find us.

    Some additional good questions you asked, Jason, were the following: Why do people look for an organization like YPAL? How can those unaware that YPAL exists find us? What persuades people to join?

    I don’t know how often people actively seek out networking opportunities (for instance, by asking around, using a search engine, etc.). Sometimes, they might just wait for information to come their way in the form of ads, announcements, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

    I do agree with you that people join YPAL for one or more of the following reasons:
    – High-quality networking opportunities
    – Recommendations from friends and colleagues
    – Opportunities to meet and socialize with professionals like themselves
    – Opportunities to serve or to experience a sense of purpose
    – Opportunities to develop or exercise skills and capabilities
    – Opportunities to feel a sense of belonging

    By the way, has YPAL recently conducted any surveys on people’s reasons for joining (or not joining), becoming engaged, and renewing? If not, maybe such data should be collected from current members, potential members, and even former members.

    In any case, if we can make a convincing case that YPAL will meet their needs, people just might join and stay.

  2. Thanks Henry! I can’t wait to dig into the links you sent. I really appreciate your thoughtful perspective and your comments were ‘spot-on.’ Look forward to learning and discussing more about ‘engagement’ online.. Thanks again, Jason

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