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A Reflection on July 2021 in TheCR Network: Developing Community Skills

By Kelly Schott posted 07-30-2021 11:24

Community is an ever-growing space, which means we will always be building our skillsets and learning new skills in order to continue growing alongside it. We are never "done" learning, but how do we prioritize the skills we need? In July in TheCR Network, we wanted to dig further into that question and take a deeper look into the key areas that community professionals need to learn about, develop their skills in, as well as just all around practice in order to create value for themselves and their communities.

So whether you are new to community or have been around the proverbial block more than once, these conversations should be relevant and valuable for all.

Let's get into it...

July in TheCR Network: Roundtable Calls


Our first call of July focused on a core piece of content & programming strategy: editorial calendars.

On, "Building Exemplary Editorial Calendars: A How-To and Walkthrough", we heard from a member about how they have approached designing editorial calendars for their communities.

Then, we had time to specifically problem-solve and experiment with our own editorial calendars, workshopping ideas and challenges with peers on the call.

Particularly valuable for getting motivation and ideas, this call was a great opportunity to get outside of your community bubble and learn about what others are doing, especially in regards to structuring an editorial calendar, exploring their member segments, and integrating other areas of the organization into the overall calendar.

Whether you are just starting to think about an editorial calendar, or have been working with one for years, this call was a great exercise in exploring what you could be doing with these resources.

If you want to listen into this call, you can find the edited Roundtable Recording here.


Our next call focused on a topic that everyone loves to discuss: metrics. We did not look at just metrics, however, but we focused in on how we can report metrics, specifically through a "year in review" type of lens.

On the Roundtable Call, "A Year in Review: Metrics and Measuring What Matters", we were joined by two guest facilitators who have worked to create informative dashboards and visually-interesting reports like a year-in-review post for their community.

To understand more about how an external community shares their important yearly metrics and measures what matters in their community, Erica Moss and Goodi Poell from Atlassian joined TheCR Network to showcase their work for their yearly metrics review. A fantastic look at how different areas of the organization can work well together and why those relationships are important, this call highlighted the benefit of having a data analyst on the community team. But, not all of us are so lucky to have that (myself included!), so it was also a great reminder of what you can do with what you have. And that is all about asking questions!

Ask questions about data. Ask questions to stakeholders and leaders across the organizations. Ask questions of and to your community. Do not be afraid to dig in, because that is where you can find some valuable information.

If you want to listen into this call, you can find the edited Roundtable Recording here.


July's penultimate call welcomed in a guest facilitator and a familiar face to the community circuit.

The Roundtable Call, "Maximizing Community Engagement: Advanced Techniques To Keep Members Hooked", focused on some of the valuable experiences our guest, FeverBee's Richard Millington, has garnered throughout his time in community around the topic of engaging community members and sustaining that engagement over time.

We know that community engagement ebbs and flows and can change because of any particular thing, so what can we do about that to better prepare ourselves and our strategies to address those ebbs and flows?

One key takeaway from this call includes evaluating how our communities are affected by external factors (the COVID pandemic, for example) and taking that into account when putting together a strategy. Another key point was to design clear and effective purpose statements and how contrasting statements can actually clarify points of action.

In this case, engagement is build upon our understanding and communicating that understanding. All of which can and will be learned!

If you are interested in listening in to this call, you can find the edited Roundtable Recording here.


Our last call of the month, "The Community Skills Workshop", was, as the name suggests, more of a workshop than a traditional Roundtable Call, but explored the theme of the month nonetheless.

On this call, we walked through TheCR's Community Skills Framework and evaluated where our own skillsets stand, then opening up the call to conversation and to explore what we learned from working through this exercise.

One key takeaway I had from listening into the call was about the wide range of skills that are represented in community. We all come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide swatch of experiences, and all of the skills we bring with us are invaluable to our work. While we all may not be experts in all areas, we can balance our strengths with the strengths of others to create value for ourselves, our teams, and our communities.

If you would like to see more skills-related programming, please let us know!

We heard some great examples and had some great discussions this month, so why not round it out with what we learned about members of TheCR Network overall...

What Did You Think?

For the month of July, we opened up a poll to get a look at how long we, as a membership base, have been formally working in community management. We have discussed this topic before, but our goal for this poll was to get a quick average age of our members' time in community as well as understand the variety in knowledge, expertise, and perspectives we have in TheCR Network.

In order to find this information out, we asked TheCR Network members: How long have you been formally working in Community/Community Management? 

(with the caveat that "formally" means it is in your job description)

What did members say? Let's find out...

July 2021 poll

The poll results come from a sample size of 32 respondents and show that we really do have a quite a variety of perspectives in TheCR Network. While a majority of respondents (34%) said that they have between 1-5 years experience formally working in community or community management (which increases to 44% if we include 0-5 years of experience), those who said they have between 5-10 years of experience are right behind them at 31%.

It is interesting to look at where the bulk of respondents are coming from but it is also great to see the range. We originally broke this question down into smaller initial increments, and both 5-10 years and 10-15 years got these same percentages, but 1-2 years also got 15.6% on its own. This shows that there are a great amount of people who have a wealth of experience in TheCR Network (and hello to the respondent who said they have 15+ years!) as well as many new faces in the space who have a wealth of fresh perspective to share.

While this was a great quick poll to get an idea of what perspective members are bringing to TheCR Network, it is also a helpful way to highlight the range of experience members have. Some may be just starting out and some may be celebrating a decade in the space. But either way, we know we all have so much to share and learn from one another.

After thinking about our perspectives, knowledge, and skillsets, we are looking forward to taking that into our next conversation...

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

We have recently talked about metrics, value, and skillsets, so what comes next? If we combine these three topics we start to see something emerge that some people have vast experience with and others are just hearing about for the first time: ROI.

ROI, or return on investment, is an intriguing concept in community. Some people are measuring and projecting their community's ROI over time while others are working to wrap their heads around how community can produce value. No one is wrong and no one is behind. Because this is a skill we can grow and knowledge we can gain, we are looking forward to spending a month exploring how ROI is a Resource for community professionals.

In the meantime, if any of these conversations or concepts have sparked an idea or recommendation from you, let us know! While we plan our programming calendar, we also leave space for reactive programming, spur-of-the-moment topics, and member involvement, so leave us a note or send us a message and we'll get something together to address your topics of interest.

And if you're not a member of TheCR Network, or if you know someone who isn't a member of TheCR Network, but would love to participate in these conversations, please reach out! We're happy to talk about how you or they can get involved.

If you'd rather do that yourself, you can find out more about how to join TheCR Network here.