Community-focused tools, tactics help media companies hit KPI, ROI goals

By Leigh Adams


Montreal, Canada


If your current digital experience platform (DXP) isn’t serving your community — or rather, is not enabling your organisation to serve, sustain, and expand your community — then it’s not worth your money.

Furthermore, if you are fortunate enough to be host to a community, particularly one that enjoys engaging with and discovering the realm of their interests that you’ve created, you’re sitting on a gold mine of growth potential and first-party data.

Creating high-quality, user-friendly, and safe experiences is essential in creating an online community.
Creating high-quality, user-friendly, and safe experiences is essential in creating an online community.

It’s no secret that an active, non-toxic community is a powerful driver of audience growth, but to make the most of community-driven conversion opportunities, there are some preparatory measures that can be taken.

Community foundation

Before honing in on the inner-workings of your community, take stock of the tools and strategies you currently have in place and assess whether or not they are providing a worthwhile ROI. Some questions to ask as you set about this task are focused on infrastructure and discoverability, and community health.

Infrastructure and discoverability

Does your site’s architecture drive visitors intuitively to where the community is at its best, or are there a number of barriers in their way?

Consider where on their journey users are confronted with a sign-up form of some sort. Then, evaluate if there’s greater potential for conversion by giving them a bit of free reign to see the value you have to offer elsewhere. Giving unregistered users enough access to see but not join on-site discussions or special events like a live ask-me-anything community chat could be just the kind of content that is worth their time and, subsequently, their registered first-party data.

Does your current comment interface and strategy help or hinder engagement?

Providing users with the means to easily jump into the comments section and join discussions is an effective way to improve engagement. Recently, Viafoura partnered with News-Press & Gazette Co. (NPG) to help the team overhaul its prior approach to comment sections that relied on manual approval. This had resulted in endless queues of user contributions stuck in limbo. After integrating Viafoura’s automated moderation onto its platform, NPG saw a drastic improvement in overall engagement as well as the complete reactivation of previously stagnant communities across a number of its sites.

Community health

Have you and your teams taken measures to ensure that when new visitors arrive, they’re greeted by a wholesome and inviting community?

If some of the first things visitors see are comments and discussions rife with vitriol and toxicity, they won’t stay long — if at all. To keep the peace and foster a welcoming space for newcomers, it’s imperative you provide clear and concise community guidelines. These guidelines will assist in the preservation of your community’s well-being by giving its members and your moderation teams consistent parameters to follow while reinforcing your brand values and interests while doing so.

To scale down some of the more taxing and meticulous moderation tasks (such as profanity and hate speech), adopting an intelligent moderation engine is a turn-key solution for immediate deflection of toxicity.

Create a playground of engagement

Creating an engaging and discoverable user experience (UX) will invigorate your audience. As publishers, there is an obvious responsibility in providing your readers with high-quality content that stands out in the vast and highly saturated digital media landscape. More specifically, as digital publishers, the journey that users go on as they experience your site and its content is just as important.

A digital media platform that gives its users a range of capabilities to engage — through exploration, discovery, or community — is guaranteed a far higher chance of earning consistent growth in registrations, longer time spent on-site, and an increasingly concise understanding of its audience’s behaviour and interests. All of this can contribute to an improvement in ad revenue by providing you with the data necessary to prove the worth of your premium ad space to potential partners.

Topic and author follows

Topic and author following capabilities are highly engaging points of conversion and excellent data collection avenues. By tracking what content and which authors are being followed via built-in analytics, editorial and content strategies can be adjusted to meet the evident interests being shown in the declarative data that comes from these community-specific actions.

In terms of engagement, users who follow particular authors or topics also have a far higher propensity for return visits because of the notifications they’ll receive when more content tied to what they follow is published.


In this digital age where an extensive and engaging digital experience platform is paramount to the success and longevity of digital media organisations, taking the time to create rewarding and enjoyable experiences for your audience communities is the least we can do. With the right tools and approach to a community-focused growth strategy, publishers will make short work of achieving their ROIs and surpassing previous KPI goals.

About Leigh Adams

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