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One of the most successful franchises I’ve launched in my online community consists of regular profiles of community members.

The GOLO Profiles are a big hit, and people are always looking out to see who will be profiled next. It has become quite the badge of honor, and the information that people share with me is pretty amazing.

I’ve learned of alcohol addictions, bad breakups, DUI arrests, spouses living in the country illegally, eating disorders and other tales, some sinister, others uplifting. And no, my name isn’t Jerry Springer.

It started out as a germ of an idea that grew in a way I never expected. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about growing successful online communities is you simply have to try a bunch of things and see what resonates with the community. It’s a bit of trial and error, but when you hit big, you’ll know it.

Being interviewed for a GOLO profile is so prestigious to some, that they’ve expressed a bit of nervousness at the beginning of our phone conversation. When that happens I gently remind them that I’m no Barbara Walters and assure them that my editing skills will serve them well in the end and they will certainly come across as interesting. I then promise that we’ll have fun, and we always do.

It’s a simple formula, and one that you can certainly emulate in your own community. Here’s how it started for me:

  1. I selected a member and asked her to be the first interviewee.
  2. We set up a time that fit both of our schedules.
  3. I called her and we spoke for about 25 minutes.
  4. We had a blast.
  5. I transcribed the interview.
  6. I edited it down to a Q&A format.
  7. I posted it the following week.
  8. People immediately wanted more.
  9. I repeated number 1.

If you aren’t doing something similar, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. If it doesn’t resonate with members, move on to something else. But I’m betting it will. And I hope you’ll come back and tell me all about your success.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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