If you’ve defined the Core Topic of your community using the PLACE Method, you’re on the right track. The PLACE Method is a great way to start because it helps you choose a topic that either solves a problem or is something people are passionate about.
The next step is to validate your audience’s level of interest, before you fully commit to the topic and move forward with either a free or paid hosting platform for your community.
It Takes Two…
The PLACE Method helps you narrow your focus down to a Core Topic that will work best for you. However, a thriving community depends on 2-way conversations, so your audience has to be equally as passionate about the topic as you are.
Assessing the level of your audience’s interest early on takes some weight off your shoulders because you know your audience is passionate about the topic.
That passion will generate conversations within the community and create the momentum and engagement you’re looking for.
Tip: If you’re not sure about your Core Topic, try narrowing your topics down to your top 3 picks and see what the audience responds to. That way, you can ask your audience to choose between 3 topics you’re passionate about, instead of blindly asking your audience, “What would you like me to start a community about?”
3 Ways to Gauge Your Audience’s Interest
Here are 3 ways you can gauge your audience’s level of interest in your community’s Core Topic:
1 – Ask Your Email List
It doesn’t matter how big or small your list is, the list is a group of your biggest fans. This makes them a great resource for advice and feedback. Most likely, they’ll be the first to join your community, so why not ask them if your Core Topic resonates with them?
You can do this by simply asking them to reply directly to your email, by inserting a quick survey poll (if your email marketing platform allows it), or by sending over a simple but curated Google Form.
2 – Utilize Social Media
Are you on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform? Ask your followers on your social media channels for feedback on your chosen Core Topic.
If you’re on Instagram, IG Stories is a great place to conduct this survey because:
- You can make a personalized video where you speak directly to your audience
- It has certain features and stickers that allow you to collect information on polls and quizzes.
3 – Create a Survey Through Google Forms and Distribute it on Your Email List and Social Media
Creating a simple Google Form is a great way to gauge your audience’s level of interest in your Core Topic. Google Forms will also keep all the responses organized so you can quickly refer back to them when needed.
The Ultimate Feedback Loop Strategy
Each outreach strategy will work on its own, but the Ultimate Feedback Loop uses all 3 methods together to capture the most responses possible. Here’s how it works:
- First, email your list and ask for a direct response from your readers.
- Then, turn to social media to let your audience know that you need their feedback. Invite them to subscribe to your email list to share their thoughts. (That way, you get a new subscriber AND you get feedback! A win-win.)
- Wait a few days and then create a fun, interactive poll on Instagram Stories. Important: Keep in mind that results disappear in 24 hours, so set a timer and to record your audience’s responses.
If you need an extra push, create a simple Google Form that you can send out to your email list and promote on your social media channels.
To get people talking, you need to start with a topic they’re interested in. That’s why it’s important to start with the PLACE Method. Using the PLACE Method, narrow your Core Topics to at least 3 different options.
Once you’ve got your 3 options nailed down, use the Ultimate Feedback Loop to gauge your audience’s level of interest. From there, the next step is to pick your platform and start building your community’s home base.