Finding a solution to a problem is a journey that consists of two key parts: the search and the validation. Search is no longer a problem for most people - you can Google anything and get millions of results in less than half a second. The challenge now is confirming those search results with real stories of people solving real problems. The best stories are the ones told by the ones who lived through it in their own words, and communities have a lot of them. It's why more and more people are turning to review sites, peer references and forums for information.
Where communities come in
One of the most common questions in a community is "how do you use [product] to fix [problem]?" When other people answer that question, they are basically writing a story around their own journey. In other words, most communities have hundreds, if not thousands, of miniature autobiographies scattered throughout that would be extremely interesting to anyone facing similar challenges.
The problem is that most of the time, these stories are only read by the original poster and maybe a good portion of your community membners. Syndication is a way to take these stories anywhere your customers, prospects, and general public are looking; on your brand website, in eCommerce, or any other digital space you like. Making them easier to find amplifies the power of these stories, and hopefully creates more interaction in the community as well.
Getting stories to share
Soliciting stories from users may take a little extra effort. Tagging content as a "user story" or "customer story" is a good way to make them easy to find, and tags can be used as filters for syndication later. You may need to work with customers so they will share their stories as testimonials in your community. A contest is a nice way to encourage customers to share their personal experiences. According to this post, the biggest hurdle to getting customers to share stories is that people don't feel their story is good enough. A contest helps incentivize people to overcome that barrier and also provides a framework to simplify the process so people don't have to start from a perfectly blank page.
As an example, Khoros has had customer awards for many years. Now called Kudos in our community where submissions are written by and voted upon by our customers. Syndication of that content would look like the screenshot above in the Khoros Community, Atlas. We are currently building our 2020 Khoros Kudos (open for submissions!) and plan to leverage those stories in an upcoming website redesign!
One key insight about sharing customer stories is to make sure to be clear that any story shared in a public space could be promoted in this way in the future. That gives you flexibility, and it’s also a good reminder for authors about what they should or shouldn’t be sharing in case their story covers information about other people or their company.
Accessible stories are more important now, and easier with syndication
With more of a customer journey taking place without contacting to anyone at the brand, making good stories easy to find is critical to success. Using a community to foster and showcase stories is a natural and credible solution to this challenge. A community also enables customers to ask questions and connect with peers so they can build expertise. Khoros' new Syndication capability is included in the platform and makes it very easy to amplify the stories and conversations in the community to a broader audience.