Which media companies have excellent communities?

My communities

Communities (Photo credit: steven w)

The key factors to consider include title and brand, type of editorial content, audience and what role you want the community to play for your readers.  Typically, media groups use communities to encourage engagement as measured by time on site and page views.  Communities could also be used to acquire new readers if you add social sharing buttons.  Additionally, communities can be great for advertisers open to different types of sponsorship.

Here are two examples that will help to illustrate how two very different titles approached the idea of community.

The Economist has created an online community based on debates between users on a given topic.  One of their brand values is encouraging “intelligent debates” as a way of advancing ideas, expanding knowledge and combating ignorance.  The format is to have readers discuss a given topic with metrics about which was the audience is going and a guest speaker.  These debates are often sponsored, so a great source of revenue.

Economist Debates: Business and change

Runner’s World has a created several forums that focus on specific issues such as training, gear, tips for beginners.  Their brand is very straightforward, all about running at various levels.   The format is more basic and looks like something from 1995.  That said, the reader participation is not trivial, the beginners’ forum has more than 9m views.  Pretty impressive for a very targeted type of content.

Runner’s World Forum – Home

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