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Public community: What it is and why its important

Public communities allow non-members to browse all the content created in the community, which increases brand awareness and visibility.
Written by
Duncan Elder
Last updated
October 23, 2023

A public community is a group of individuals who share a common interest or purpose, and who come together to interact, share information, and support one another. Public communities can take many forms, from online groups and forums, to local organizations and interest groups. They can be focused on a particular topic or issue, such as climate change or social justice, or they can be more general in nature, such as groups for new parents or pet owners.

The defining characteristic of a public community is that it is open and accessible to all members of the public who share the common interest or purpose. This means that anyone who is interested in the community's mission or goals can join and participate. Public communities can be a powerful force for change, as they provide a platform for individuals to come together and make a difference.

Within a public community, members typically engage in a variety of activities, such as sharing information and resources, discussing issues and ideas, and collaborating on projects or initiatives. Members may also provide support and encouragement to one another, offering advice, feedback, or a listening ear.

Overall, public communities can be a valuable source of connection, inspiration, and support for individuals who share a common interest or purpose. They offer a way for people to come together and make a difference in the world, and can be a powerful force for positive change.

Benefits of a public community

Creating a strong public community can be a powerful tool for business growth for a brand. Here are some ways in which a strong public community can be beneficial:

  1. Sense of belonging: One of the primary benefits of a strong public community is the sense of belonging it provides. People naturally seek out connection and community, and a strong public community can provide a safe and supportive space where individuals can come together and feel a sense of belonging for a shared interest.
  2. Facilitate collaboration: A strong public community can also facilitate collaboration and cooperation between customers. Members can pool their resources, knowledge, and skills to work towards helping each other and addresscomplex challenges.
  3. Exchange of ideas and knowledge: Public communities can also be a valuable source of information and knowledge. Members can share their expertise, offer advice and feedback, and provide resources to help others learn and grow.
  4. Build trust: A strong public community can also help to build trust between members and also attract new customers for a business. By working together towards a common goal, members can develop a sense of trust and mutual respect, which can foster deeper relationships and more meaningful collaborations.
  5. Foster networking: Public communities can also foster professional and social connections to help individuals expand their networks. This can be especially important for people who may be new to a community or who are looking to level up in their profession.

By providing a space for connection, collaboration, and ideation, public communities can help to create a stronger customer community for a company.

Characteristics of a strong public community

We discussed the benefits of a public community, but what are the ingredients for building a public community? Let's discuss this here:

Sense of belonging: A strong public community is characterized by a sense of belonging among its members. Members feel connected and invested in the community, and see themselves as part of something larger than themselves. This sense of belonging is fostered by a shared purpose, values, and mission, and by a feeling of mutual respect and support.

Active engagement: Members of a strong public community are actively involved in the community. They contribute their ideas, feedback, and support, and are committed to working together towards the community's goals. Active engagement can take many forms, from participating in events and discussions, to volunteering time and resources to support the community's initiatives.

Shared values and interests: A strong public community is built on shared values, interests, and beliefs. Members are united by a common purpose, and are passionate about the community's mission and goals. These shared values and interests help to create a sense of identity and purpose within the community, and are a driving force behind the community's success.

Open communication: Communication is a crucial component of a strong public community. Members are able to communicate openly and honestly with one another, and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. Open communication helps to build trust and understanding among members, and can foster deeper connections and collaborations.

Diversity and inclusion: A strong public community is inclusive and welcoming to all members, regardless of their background or beliefs. Diversity is celebrated, and members are encouraged to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the community. This diversity of thought and background can help to drive innovation and creativity within the community, and can lead to more effective solutions to the community's challenges.

Steps to create a public community

Check out the steps given below to create successful public communities that engage and empower customers, build trust and advocacy, and drive positive change.

Identify the purpose and goals of the community: Before you create a public community, it's essential to determine its purpose and objectives. What benefits and value will the community provide to its members? Is the goal to build a network of like-minded individuals, provide support for customers, or drive brand advocacy? Clearly defining the purpose and goals of the community will help you to shape its identity and strategy.

Define the target audience and understand their needs: Once you have a clear understanding of the purpose of your community, it's time to identify your target audience. Who are the individuals you want to engage with, and what are their needs, interests, and pain points? Understanding your audience will help you to tailor your messaging and approach, and create a community that is relevant and valuable to its members.

Choose the right communication channels and tools: A critical aspect of creating a successful public community is choosing the right communication channels and tools. Depending on your audience and goals, evaluate different community platforms. It's important to choose channels that align with the needs and preferences of your members, and that facilitate engagement and communication.

Encourage participation and contribution: Once your community is up and running, it's essential to encourage participation and contribution from members. This can be achieved by creating a safe and supportive environment, setting clear guidelines and expectations, and providing opportunities for engagement. You can also incentivize participation through gamification, rewards, and recognition.

Foster a positive and inclusive culture: Building a positive and inclusive culture is critical for creating a successful public community. This can be achieved by setting clear expectations for behavior, promoting respectful communication, and enforcing guidelines. It's also essential to celebrate diversity and encourage members to share their unique perspectives and experiences.

Monitor and evaluate the community's performance: Finally, it's essential to monitor and evaluate the performance of your public community. This can be achieved through tracking engagement metrics, collecting feedback from members, and evaluating the impact of the community on its members and the broader community. Regular evaluation and refinement will help to ensure that your public community is delivering value and achieving its goals.

Tips to maintain a thriving public community

Once you have created a public community, the key to its success is to maintain its vibrancy and engagement. In this article, we discuss tips to maintain a thriving public community.

Tips to maintain a thriving public community:

Keep the community engaged and motivated: The best way to keep your members engaged and motivated is by providing valuable content, recognizing their contributions, and offering opportunities for growth and development. Regularly hosting events, webinars, or Q&A sessions can help members stay engaged and provide value.

Regularly communicate and provide updates: Regular communication with your members is critical to maintain a thriving public community. Provide updates on the community's progress, upcoming events or activities, and seek feedback and suggestions from members. Using social media or email can be an effective way to keep your members informed.

Celebrate achievements and milestones: Recognizing and celebrating the community's achievements and milestones is essential to maintaining morale and motivation. It's an opportunity to recognize the contributions of its members, share success stories, and encourage members to continue to engage.

Address conflicts and concerns promptly: Conflicts and concerns can quickly arise in a public community. Addressing them promptly, transparently, and fairly is essential to maintaining the community's health and vibrancy. Ensure that there are clear guidelines for handling conflicts, and that the community understands the process.

Continuously seek feedback and suggestions: The best way to improve your community is to seek feedback and suggestions from your members regularly. This can be done through surveys, polls, or regular discussions. Use this information to identify areas for improvement, implement changes, and meet the evolving needs of your members.

Examples of successful public communities

Brand communities: Examples of successful online communities include Sephora, Figma, ConvertKit, and SAS. These communities provide a platform for users to share information, connect with others, and engage in discussions.

Professional communities: Professional communities, such as CoachHub community and industry associations, provide opportunities for members to network, share knowledge, and advance their careers.

community discussions
An example of a public community


In conclusion, creating a public community as a brand can be an excellent way to build a loyal following and provide value to your customers. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a thriving community that fosters engagement, encourages collaboration, and provides a sense of belonging.

Continuously seeking feedback and suggestions from members, celebrating achievements, and addressing conflicts and concerns promptly are critical components to maintaining a thriving public community. Through the creation of a strong and supportive community, your brand can promote positive change, build trust, and develop stronger relationships with customers.

Duncan Elder
Content writer

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