Community Work Equals Branding, Promotion and Good SEO
The concept of free sharing and giving to community has taken a weird turn in the last few years. Nothing is as free as it seems. Some do it for the wrong reasons, some have the wrong approach, but giving out to your community in any way possible is always a good thing. Giving can bring back a lot of things whether you plan for them or not.
The first question you need to ask is how you can contribute to your community? Is there a way to give something (without asking something in return)? Helping others can help establish your brand, your online persona, it can get you in news and social media mentions if done right and ultimately it can help with building some editorial links as well.
So again, what can you do to help the community? Most people will think of either making a donation or building something for the special type of audience and demographics your business caters to. That is not bad, it’s all good if done for the right reasons and in a right way. But everyone can donate, and most of the things you can create have already been done, you can either come up with something brand new (very hard) or improve something existing. This can be a list of various things:
– Plugins and Tools
– Free services
– Charity contest
– Promote a good cause
And the list goes on. Again, 99% of this is already done by someone else. It depends on the niche and the competition, but what are the things we can all do and regardless of our audience and niche and get some good buzz going on and achieve all of the mentioned above?
Be Creative With your Community Work
You don’t have to cater to just your audience. You don’t have to work only in your niche. Broaden your horizons. I will give you just a few simple ideas that I’m sure will give birth to many more that will help you in the long run.
1. Help Translate Something
The vast majority of programs, themes and plugins are done in English, but not everyone is fluid in English and needs some help. You can use your own knowledge or the knowledge of your employees to translate some of those into other languages. You can even hire a translator to do that for you. You will be helping a limited community get access to something useful in an easy manner. The developer may link back to you with “translated to Spanglish by” and others may even ask you to translate their stuff as well.
The benefit: Branding, mentions and some links.
2. Support a cause
When I say support a cause don’t go grabbing for your wallets instantly. Yes, this can include donations, but it doesn’t have to. Translating something can also be a way to support a cause, get the message out to more people. There are ways and ways to go about this. The first principle is to look for smaller projects and causes, and not something on a grand scale as you will most likely go unnoticed. If you can help out a local business, new blogger or community or even a small emerging charity, go for it. These guys need all the help they can get, whether it is money, translations, spreading the word on your blog, social media or investing a few hours a week to help them in any way possible.
Benefit: They will be grateful and they will remember, possibly some links, but most importantly, a long term relationship.
3. Create Valuable Learning Resources for Everyone
Now with creating value most people and businesses will tend to go for something in their own market, but there is no need for that. Reach out your hand and help anyone in need. What is currently important, what is the buzz, what is it you can do that will be of use to anyone in the online community? The first thing that comes to mind after giving it 5 seconds of thought is internet safety. You can create a brochure, a rule book for kids, teens and adults on what they should and shouldn’t do online in order to stay safe. Publish it on your site, and offer it to schools, communities and related bloggers with no strings attached. Don’t ask for links, don’t ask for mentions, just say: hey, we wanted to give something to the community and help a bit, this is what we created, if you find it useful you can share it, post it, or do whatever you think is best, no strings attached, no links or mentions required!
Benefit: You will get links, you will get mentions, you will help establish your brand in a positive light.
These are just 3 simple ideas that took me a few minutes to think of, imagine what you can do with a brainstorming session. Don’t go about branding and link building in a wrong way. Establish yourself as an expert that is willing to help out and the community will recognize that and reward it.