I think of relationship content as the content generated in discussion boards or blogs which bring like minded users together to exchange ideas. Typically, these users can be categorized as 70% lurkers (those that read posts but never contribute) and 20% joiners; 9% are regular contributors and only 1% can be classified in the elite category. These are your MVPs – your user group leaders, your super-contributors.

Knowing what your distribution looks like is key to knowing how to use them. You want to see whether your elite users represent the voice of your entire community, or whether their contributions apply only to their line of business or specific situation.

If your elite are a good overall representative sample, working with this elite set is easy – you can listen to them for feature requests, you can bounce ideas off them and you can monitor their posts to ensure that their goals are aligned with your business.

However, if your elite contributors do not represent the opinions of the community you need to identify which ones are your advocates and which ones are severely dissatisfied. In all cases, you need to reach out to them, and cultivate a relationship with them of openness and transparency. Your greatest contributors can be your best advocates and your dissatisfied elite can give you insight on what processes may be broken in your organization and give you an opportunity to turn around these individuals.

With over 60% of our customers having plans to offer discussion boards, the question is figuring out how you want to work with your elite contributors. Perhaps you want to create a sub-discussion group of only your elites to explore topics that are not suitable for general consumption – like finding out the specifics of how they want to see a capability implemented, or delving into the real problems that they experience when they interact with your company.

How do you, or what are your plans on leveraging your elite community? Do you have tips that you can share? Do you need help in figuring this all out? Let me know…