Continuing my behind the scenes look at the new Agriculture.com let’s meet Jeff Caldwell, Jeff helps manage the “community” that makes up the online home of Successful Farming magazine. One of the interesting things he’s found about the members of the community are how they get involved. As you might imagine if you think about it as a group of people sharing common interests and ideas, some are very active and some aren’t. According to Jeff the very active members make up about one percent of the total with almost twenty percent willing to do posts and comments. That leaves almost eighty percent who “lurk” which means they’re reading, watching and listening. I think this is very common to most online communities and why I don’t recommend measuring success of your online efforts just on how many people may comment on a blog for example. Unless you realize that the percentage of people doing so is very small.
Within the new Agriculture.com there continues to be a number of topical forums like the award winning Farmers for the Future targeted to young farmers. Jeff is the “hall monitor” for these forums which is very important. Successful Farming doesn’t just set up a forum for discussion and then walk away. Jeff monitors the conversation, contributes and even encourages participants.
Another way Jeff utilizes the information posted by community participants is for his own editorial purposes. By seeing what they are talking about he learns what’s important to them and that is a big help in determining the type of editorial content he should be focusing on with his own writing. All in all, I think you’ll find that Jeff and his team are very in tune with their audience by being part of the online family. Jeff Caldwell Interview