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Apr 28, 2000
How To

How to Sell More Content By Adding Community to Your Site:, Prospero

SUMMARY: No summary available., the digital content store, has joined the ranks of ecommerce sites including to, which have community features such as bulletin boards and live chat built into their sites. Deborah Bohn,'s VP Editorial shared the details with us last night:

Three Main Benefits
1) Traffic growth: People who like to "talk" about books and authors now come to the store. MightyWords maximizes return visitors by sending an automated email alert to people who've posted on the boards whenever someone posts a note in response to them.

2) Sales: Visitors who are passionate about a subject enough to chat about it are also often big buyers. MightyWords editors (who manage sections of the store such as "romance titles") routinely drop notes on the boards whenever they have new content products at the store that community members might like to know about. They also select "hot quotes" from the boards to post as promotional material on individual product pages.

3) Customer knowledge: MightyWords editors drop into the boards every day to learn what their audiences really want. For example, if lots of people say they'd love to get something new from a certain author, the editors make sure that author's agent is contacted immediately!

MightyWords hired two, part-time community hosts, who work about 20 hours a week each there while juggling other similar communities at sites such as MSN. "Hosts tend to have a genre they specialize in," Deborah explains, "they spread their time out between several communities and already have an audience who travels with them. We don't mind them working for other book communities as long as they keep cross pollinating their traffic to us!"

In addition, MightyWords assigned 50% of the time of an in-house staffer to run activity reports and create and circulate a daily activity summary including hot "pull quotes" to the rest of MightyWords team.

Costs & Vendors
Community can be relatively cheap compared to other site features. MightyWords' costs, including staffing, are only about $10,000 a month. Live chat events bump this by only $600 each. Deborah chose Prospero as their vendor to create and run the boards, "I don't want to sound like an infomercial, but I'm really pleased. It was easy to set up, easy to use and they even helped us find our hosts."'s Top 2 Tips for Succeeding with Community:

* Community works best when your visitors share a common passion or hobby. If your products cover a topic people feel strongly about it your community has a better chance of generating a return on investment.

* Grab a copy of the new must-have book, "Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities" by Amy Jo Kim. It's written in clear non-techie language with plenty of useful examples for marketing, programming, production and design pros alike.
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