Online Communities

Category: Education

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2006 E-Commerce Incubator Reaction to Experience Online Communities Sponsored by:


Demographics of Internet Users Use the internet Total Adults 73 % Women 71 % Men 74 % Age 18-29 88 % 30-49 84 % 50-64 71 % 65+ 32 % Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, July 19, 2006


Blog Creation/Readership Thirty-nine percent of internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs – up from 17 percent who said they read blogs in February 2004. Eight percent of internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog. Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, July 19, 2006


Initial Overall strategic direction and measurable outcome: Build an interactive online community for classical music lovers. Because arts participation is a social, relational experience, this interactive community will connect patrons with like-minded individuals and deepen the engagement with the participating organizations. This is a six month pilot to test the marketplace and strategies within the context of the “Engage Now” study. Chicago Chamber Musicians Chicago Opera Theatre Chicago Sinfonietta Chicago Symphony Orchestra Elgin Symphony Orchestra Grant Park Music Festival Music of the Baroque Ravinia Festival WFMT Radio. Added three more – Cedille Records, Chicago a cappella, Chicago Philharmonic Founding Sponsor Groups:


Purpose Engaging classical music enthusiasts Sharing their experiences with others to deepen engagement Broadening their knowledge of the Chicago music providers Benefits of collaboration among 9 sponsors Reaction to Experience: Online Communities


Challenges Large sponsor group to coordinate Limitations of Open Source (Drupal) application Limited funding Limited staff time at most organizations Classical music is a relatively small market segment Many patrons are not used to blogs Difficult to measure impact in 6 months Difficulty with governance and operational issues Bloggers were risk-averse


Driving Traffic to CCM: Technorati According to Technorati, a blog search engine that organizes blog entries by topic and ranks blogs based on the number of incoming links, Chicago Classical Music is ranked 65,877 with 131 incoming links from 40 other blogs (as of Sept. 12, 2006). A profile page for CCM was developed early on that included a description of the website and 20 key words (“tags”) describing the content. Technorati visitors who search those tags – for example, “classical music” -- will find CCM blog entries. Source: Technorati * Technorati says it’s tracking more than 53.8 million blogs (as of Sept. 12), but the true number of blogs that update at least weekly and are currently active is much, much less.


Driving Traffic to CCM: Online Outreach Website links to CCM from sponsor groups All incoming links are useful; links from large websites (like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) helped boost CCM’s search engine ranking even more E-mail announcements by sponsor groups to their members The Silverman Group, Inc.- probono PR


Driving Traffic to CCM: Online Outreach E-mails announcements to all Chicago-area organizations and classical music resources featured on the CCM Web Links page E-mail announcements to all blogs featured on the CCM *blogroll (Blogroll: list of other blogs; CCM’s blogroll includes links to 27 classical music blogs) More than a dozen bloggers added a link to CCM and/or wrote entries about CCM


Example: Sequenza21/ The Contemporary Classical Music Portal posted the following on its blog April 24, 2006: There's a great new classical music blog and online community you should check out. Chicago Classical Music was created by a consortium of Chicago-area music groups, including Ravinia, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Opera Theater, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque and Grant Park Music Festival. Very slick and well-funded site. Anybody got ideas how we could tap into the New York music community and rip off the idea? Source: Sequenza21/


Example: All About Opera added CCM to its “Music Blog Digest,” which features the titles of the six most recent blog entries posted at 14 excellent classical music blogs. Visitors who click on CCM’s blog entry titles are taken directly to the CCM website. Source:


Online Features Daily blogs Forums Articles Master Event Calendar Scheduled Live Chats Ticket Swap Ticket Give-away Resource Links


CCM Statistics Registered Users: 400 + Total Visits: March 2006 (first full month): 6,984 visits August 2006 (last full month): 28,151 visits Highest Traffic To Date: Aug. 8, 2006: 1,508 visits * live chat with Yo-Yo Ma Source: Webalizer statistics


Home page




Account Sign Up






Event Calendar


Highlights Live Chats Thomas Hampson Wynne Delacoma Yo-Yo Ma Registered Users - # Interested Advertisers Developed Marketing Relationships


Successful online communities require: Group that shares common interest and desire to interact online around that interest over time Critical mass of participants, generally in thousands or tens of thousands Ability for members to interact at different levels of participation Community management to facilitate and moderate interactions Online Communities – Best Practices


Online Communities – How to build one… Community Building Tips Understand core audience and their interest for participation Information, social interaction, recognition, professional Define business goals for sponsoring online community Monetize web traffic, support offline activities, brand loyalty, viral marketing


Online Communities – How to build one… Community Building Tips Determine program offerings that meet sponsor and user objectives and that our realistic to audience size and interests Not all sites can support ongoing forums, chat Determine technology and feature requirements CMS, blogging, or community platform


Online Communities – How to build one… Community Building Tips Understand level of effort to manage community Run programs, engage users, moderate and promote site Identify measurements for success and means to gather ROI framework, data requirements to measure


Better Approach is to Start With A Blog Blogging Best Practices Focus activities to drive three keys metrics: Increase site visits Increase page views per visit Increase revenue per page


Creating a Successful Blog Driving Unique Visitors Provide unique, differentiable content Search engine optimization Referral (or “Viral”) friendly pages Content syndication Link frequently to other sites Secure links from other respected high traffic sites Promote RSS subscriptions to your site


What That Means Driving Unique Visitors Blog early and often - 4-8 posts per day ideally Link to other sites (they will link back) Post comments on timely stories around the internet Link to other stories in these posts Email these posts around Allow comments and respond to commenters Leverage social media (Digg, Delicious, etc.) Can be done in one hour per day


Creating a Successful Blog Increase Page Views per Visit Great design, navigation and layout Standard free templates available Make your web site blog Cross promotion of site features User-driven web development process Measure and monitor site traffic and react accordingly

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