ReadWriteWeb published its first premium product today in the form of a combination white paper/E-book and subject aggregation site. Their “Guide To Online Community Management” went on sale this morning. If you are a business or a brand engaged or planning to engage in social media, you should go buy this report right now. (The 70+ page PDF is a mere $299 – a steal for the amount of information contained therein.) The online compliment to the report is a dynamic newsroom aggregation site for everything community management and is can be had with a username and password provided when you purchase the report.
Report editor and RWW chief blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick sent me an advanced copy late last week for a couple of reasons. First, I’m sure he wanted me to review it, knowing I’d probably think it was good enough to say what I said above. But he also sent me a copy because I’m quoted in there somewhere. As a measure of disclosure, Marshall and I have known each other for a couple of years and I’ve hired him as a consultant in the past.
The report is a thorough look at online community management as an emerging job role in businesses, small and large. It dives into the discussion of whether or not companies need a community manager, what that role might look like and is the investment in such a position worthwhile in terms of the return produced. In predictable ReadWriteWeb style, the document is insightful, thoughtful and useful.
The introductory script explains why community management has evolved by saying, “The people formerly known as Customers now play a different role in almost every business and so new business roles are emerging in response.” The report then dives into an interesting mix of RWW research and opinion, mixed with quotes and anecdotes from many leading web thinkers on the subject and even comments and responses from RWW readers who commented on the subject matter-related posts on the site.
More importantly, for businesses, the report answers some very basic questions many brands and organizations have (Like, “Should my organization be on Twitter?”) with some sound recommendations and explanations. And there’s even a section in the document called, “How Not To Lose Your Mind.”
The bottom line is that I’ve read this report and highly recommend it to anyone considering hiring or developing a community manager position, anyone working at a business or brand involved in social media that doesn’t have an assigned community manager or any decision-maker at a business or brand wanting to understand more about the social web and its implications on business. Go buy it. Dive in. Explore the aggregation site (one of Kirkpatrick’s specialties, by the way — the man is perhaps the foremost expert on RSS in the world) and be smarter for it.
And no, I’m not being paid for this review (but will gladly place an affiliate ad/link on SME if they build such an animal).