5 Step Guide to Create a Safe Online Community

As Trust & Safety move to the forefront of legislative assemblies around the world [https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/harmful-online-content.html] [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/a-guide-to-the-online-safety-bill], creating an online community that is a safe space for all is more important than ever. And with nearly 70% of audiences spending more than 15% of their time on-site reading posts and comments, you want to ensure your guidelines cover the comments most likely to drive the community away. But the challenge remains: how do you regulate countless unknown users that have access to your platform and make sure everyone plays by the same rules?

To help build your community, we’re giving you our 5-step guide to creating community guidelines that stick.

1. State the purpose

What’s the point? Why are we here? Why are you taking the time to ensure your audience has a safe space to engage? Because your audience is the most important part of your community, how they behave on your site directly impacts loyalty, retention, and revenue. When you start by defining your purpose, you can ensure that everything that follows contributes to it. Your mission statement for your community should connect with your company’s overall vision, state your goals, and clearly explain the type of community you hope to achieve.

2. Create the rules

The next step to creating a healthy online community is to define your site’s engagement rules: starting writing. Your guidelines should clearly spell out both acceptable and expected user behavior when using your platform and participating in your community. By explicitly stating the rules of engagement, you have a standard you can point to and enforce to remind users of expected behavior or remove toxic users who refuse to follow the rules. We’re here to give you some tips on preparing your own set of community guidelines.

While guidelines will vary across communities (and jurisdictions), there are some key elements that should be covered:

  • Personal attacks: how far is too far? Are certain people fair game? Are others off-limits?
  • Vulgar or obscene content: are you PG or R? In what context is “shit” ok? What about “bullshit”? (and yes, we have a “shitlist” workshop we use that can help with examples).
  • Libelous or defamatory statements
  • Anything described as threatening, abusive, pornographic, profane, indecent, or otherwise objectionable
  • Self-promotion, including links to blogs, 3rd party social, or crowdfunding sites

And remember that even though your focus should be the do’s and don’ts for your community, including the why can help build buy-in: Use your guidelines to outline the type of community you want to create so users can know how best to contribute.

3. Make it accessible

Once you’ve spent the time and effort to define your guidelines, it’s time to share them with the world! If you want your users to play by the rules, it’s essential they have a clear understanding of them. Typically, you’ll want to ensure the users receive your guidelines when registering. We recommend including your mission statement and a link to your guidelines and an FAQ page just above the conversation for easy reference. Having your guidelines live on a dedicated page of your site can also be helpful for internal reference and dealing with complaints, so make sure you’ve got them laid out in a way that’s easy to navigate – consider subheadings for each category outlined above, with specific examples where possible.

4. Enforce the Guidelines

Now comes the messy part – outlining the penalties for failing to follow the rules. This can be especially tricky, depending on your revenue model. Enforcing a zero-tolerance policy can be more difficult when dealing with paid subscribers than anonymous users. Still, it’s crucial that users know they are responsible and accountable for their behavior on your site. As a best practice, we recommend defining different severities of offenses and how they are handled – a low-level offense such as name-calling might earn a short ban with a message reminding the user of how to engage:

Other mid-level offenses, such as offensive usernames or repetitive self-promotion, might use a three-strike and you’re out system, whereas doxxing or libelous comments might have zero tolerance. Wherever you land, defining the consequences and even preparing the messaging will ensure that your team is ready to copy and paste and be consistent in their messaging and that users know the rules aren’t just for show.

5. Start Moderating

Finally, crafting your guidelines is the easy part. The backbone to enforcing your guidelines and building communities is your moderation team. Whether this will be their primary role or yet another hat they wear, you’ll need to ensure you have team members on hand to ensure your guidelines are applied in a timely and consistent manner. Whether you handle moderation in-house or outsource it to a 3rd party, all moderators should undergo specific training that reviews your guidelines and their practical application and instills the ability to identify and manage unconscious bias. This will provide a more holistic understanding of the guidelines, empowering moderators to apply them more objectively. While hiring moderators can get expensive if your community is very active or posts controversial topics, an automatic content moderation solution can help maximize your resources.

Final Word

While creating a safe community in an online world can be a daunting challenge, starting with these five simple steps can help set you on the path to success.

Data Is King: Personal Experiences Boost Conversions By 30%

What’s your preferred experience with published content? Would you prefer a site that feeds you generic articles, or a publisher that knows how to personalize the content you see? The obvious answer is the second option. A personalized website is far more enjoyable as it provides the topics, opinions, and commentary that speak directly to your unique set of interests.

Some publications are better at personalization than others. These publications know how to identify if an article, or even a headline, will encourage readers to spend more time on the site. Their content is informative and capable of adding value to the reader’s experience so they feel compelled to consume the story. They also know how to use highly targeted links within the articles to drive up clickthrough rates.

By adopting personalization as part of an overarching content strategy, publishers remain connected to readers who are very protective of what they consume. There’s a rising trend of “selective news avoidance” all over the world. According to CNN, only 23% of people get their news from news websites. Young people, in particular, are more likely to use social media for news updates.

Can Personalized Content Trump News Avoidance?

Reuters Institute commissioned their annual Digital News Report. The study analyzed a YouGov survey of 93,000 participants from 46 different countries. Among the key findings was a growing lack of trust in newsworthy content, a problem with its strongest foothold in the United States. Only 26% of US respondents say they trust the news, a three point decline from 2021, and the lowest positive sentiment among all surveyed nations.

Common reasons cited for selective news avoidance have to do with growing polarization, perceived media bias, and a sense of too much politics in the news. But a senior Reuters executive, who helped commission the Digital News Report, says the issue goes much deeper.

“A large number of those who selectively avoid the news say the news has a negative effect on their mood,” says Rasmus K. Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Click-Bait Headlines Or Insightful Titles: Which Is The Best Approach?

What are the primary causes for news avoidance? According to the International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), one of the reasons could be that some publishers rely too frequently on “click-bait headlines.”

In a research study entitled “Clickbait’s Impact On Visual Attention-An Eye Tracker Study,” IIIT-H studied gaze-fixation from 60 participants to measure the amount of visual attention paid by readers to different articles. One group of articles had click-bait headlines, while the other group used educational titles. The results found that click-bait headlines received far less visual attention from readers than articles with non-click-bait headlines.

Click-bait headlines promote a misleading title separate from the crux and context of the article content. According to IIIT-H, people feel duped by misleading headlines, feeling a disconnection between the promoted title and the body of the article. They abandon the page rather than continue the experience, reducing total engagement rates.

Instead of creating false headlines to trigger quick clickthrough rates, successful publishers create thought provoking titles, encouraging readers to consume the entire article. The best way to create headlines that generate engagement is to develop a deeper understanding of what resonates with the intended reading audience. To gain those audience insights, you can use the power of first-party data to align engagement strategies with audience preferences.

First-Party Data Is The Intersection For Creators And Readers

Two of the best examples of first-party data are pageviews and time on-site. You can rest assured that people are intrigued by your content if both of these numbers are trending in the upward direction.

Aim to develop a deeper understanding of what best resonates with your readers. You can identify commonalities in things like the tone of the articles, the positioning of the headlines, common topical themes, and certain keywords that appear in articles with the highest amount of reader engagement.

Your creative team can access these findings in your audience insights platform dashboard to view the results for themselves. They can view the data and clearly identify which articles earn the most engagement from readers. This will help them pivot the content strategy to focus on future stories that support greater audience engagement.

Profile, Personalize, Perform: The Power Of First-Party Data

There’s a lot of power to be wielded with first-party data, which gives your publication a leg up on competitors. Your audience insights platform stores demographic details about your readers, including variables like age, location, backgrounds, and past consumption behaviors on your website. Pool these insights together into rich audience profiles that tell your creators how different types of readers are likely to engage with the content.

You can also segment your audience into different buckets: new readers, known readers, and subscribed readers. The difference in each audience category is measured by their degree of engagement with your website. New readers are fresh to the site, which means there’s very little behavioral data to profile. Known readers are people who have provided at least one example of first-party demographic data that you can use to start building your profiles. Subscribed readers are those who have fully converted and actively paid for premium access to your best content.

As you build your audience profiles, focus intently on the subscribed audience. Look back at the patterns that led people on the journey to fill out the subscription form. What were the articles they read? What common topics or themes were prevalent in those stories? Where did they spend the most time on your site?

Using these enriched profiles, coupled with the data you have on your top performing content, you have all of the necessary information to personalize what readers experience the next time they visit your site. You can deploy highly segmented examples of content that appeal to different readers at each stage in the consumption journey with your website.

Focus on creating personalized content that enables those deep journeys, which should help boost subscription conversion rates by 30%. Watch those pageview and time on-site metrics shoot through the roof by deploying this strategic approach!

Top Revenue Diversification Streams For Publishers

At the root of every digital publication is an inherent goal to educate, interest, and engage with the intended audience. By providing relevant and informative content to the end users, publishers create thoughtful and fulfilling relationships with their readers. A consistent stream of high quality content motivates readers to return to the site and continue to consume the content.

The cycle repeats itself until the reader develops an affinity for the publishing brand. Visiting the website for the latest updates on the news of the day becomes part of a daily habit. As that habit becomes a growing need, those same readers become brand loyal users. These are the people with the highest potential to become paying subscribers for your top quality content.

All of that is well and good for building a loyal audience of passionate and engaged readers. But how do you monetize those efforts, and how can you introduce new revenue streams to scale growth higher and faster while maintaining publication standards and providing quality journalism? That’s what we’re going to discuss here.

Challenges for revenue-driven publication leaders

Increasing revenue requires a proactive push for subscriptions and a delivery of highly targeted ad inserts as part of an affiliate marketing program. The good news is that, according to Pew Research Center, 86% of American citizens get their news through a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

More importantly, over half of respondents said they prefer consuming content through these devices as opposed to TV, radio, or podcasts. This means there does remain a sizable audience to monetize from through revenue diversification strategies.

The bad news is that, as polarization deepens throughout the population, the amount of trust in journalism has waned. This is a particularly growing problem for US publishers.

According to a study published by Statista, United States citizens rank lowest on a list of 40 countries whose residents say they trust the media. Only 26% of surveyed Americans say they trust the news media. By contrast, 37% of neighboring Mexicans say they trust the media, while 42% of neighboring Canadians admit they trust their news sources.

All of these insights emphasize why there’s such a strong need for a high quality content strategy. Aligning content production to the tastes and interests of the intended audience is essential to boost onsite engagement. That’s what allows you to run affiliate marketing campaigns with select partners.

Examples of revenue diversification channels

As a business model, it’s always critical to live by the adage “never put all of your eggs in one basket.” The more you can diversify means of generating revenue, the less likely you are to falter if one of those channels stops performing at the level that your business needs. When it comes to revenue diversification strategies, knowing how to utilize each of the channels available to grow your brand is vital to scaling new growth.

So what are some of the channels available for your revenue diversification strategy? Here’s a quick breakdown of each and how best to use them to your advantage.

Subscription models: win them over with quality

This is probably the most straightforward revenue generating model for publications. By convincing more of your reading audience to pay for access to your top shelf content, you’re earning direct value out of each posted story across your publication.

Many readers actively want to add their own opinions to a published piece of content. If you gate access to the comments section and the community behind it, you incentivize those readers to become paying customers.

In exchange, they gain the means to participate in lively discussions with other engaged readers. It’s a two way relationship that benefits the reader and your publication. You just need to guide people to that decision by doubling down on high quality content that increases their propensity to respond.

E-commerce strategies: target the right offers to the right people

It goes without saying that data is essential for any digital experience to become a successful venture. However, the type of data makes all the difference between publications that have something to sell to their e-commerce affiliates and those that don’t.

First-party data has become the backbone of any e-commerce engagement strategy. It’s by using first-party data that targeted shopping experiences are provided to the audience. This type of data allows you to build highly informative audience profiles in which you can segment your readers by their interests and what types of content best capture their attention.

By curating these profiles, you can coordinate with your e-commerce affiliates to create relevant shopping experiences for the intended audiences. Align the offers to the reader’s passions, which you can determine based on the content they consume. This is how you improve the user experience and make some extra money through your affiliates.

Affiliate links: personalize ad inserts for maximum effectiveness

This is a very similar approach to your e-commerce strategy. Using first-party data and the profiles you create from it, your affiliates can customize the ad inserts they promote to specific types of readers on your site.

Customization and personalization are the best ways to generate views, clicks, and engagement from targeted advertising. Show your affiliates details about the end audience so that they can create highly curated messaging, images, videos, and other forms of content to connect with the audience. If done successfully, they should see a healthy return for their efforts.

Flexible commercial models: putting it together

Imagine if you could give your affiliate partners the ability to form a trusted partnership built around reliable, audience-driven, first-party data. How much more valuable would a relationship with your publication be to those affiliates as opposed to a standard commercial revenue vendor type relationship that other publishers will offer? There’s no question: you gain a significant competitive advantage by offering a commercial revenue partnership.

The first-party data you possess and the audience profiles you build allow affiliates to send out promotions that will earn engagement. People end up coming to your site and the site of your affiliates. It’s more scalable, more flexible, and more beneficial for everyone involved.


With an analytical approach to the data available to you, a definitive goal, and an audience-first content strategy, the right revenue growth tactics will become increasingly evident. Keep in mind that each of the above approaches, while uniquely effective, may not align with your brand and its interests – which is OK! Carefully curate strategies that are in alignment with your brand’s overarching POV and they will in turn effectively serve the long term goals of your organization and contribute to the growth of your audience and, subsequently, your revenue.

Skip The Toll: How To Deal With Tech Savvy Trolls

It’s the year 2022 and people now turn to devices for human connection. The internet has never been more social and with that constantly growing traffic comes a bounty of wonderful moments of connection… And an all time high population of trolls.Internet trolling is defined as ‘malicious online behavior’ characterized by aggressive or deliberate provocation of others. While this behavior may (debatably) be cathartic for the person trolling communities in anonymity, their presence significantly deteriorates the health and safety of a digital space, and thus its usability.

Publishers big and small suffer equally at the hands of trolls. They’re tech savvy, almost always anonymous, and with an abundance of time on their hands to spread toxicity, they’re a force to be reckoned with. What’s worse? They’re here to stay.

In lieu of surrendering, here are a few troll tactics to look out for and what you can do to skip the toll and protect your peace.

Multiple Accounts

Trolls are obsessive, petulant and persistent. If you’re suddenly up against a horde of trolls, keep in mind it may just be one person, on a mission, using many accounts. Trolls have the time and the tech to overwhelm spaces, dodge bans, and sully the hard earned good vibes of your community. How do I solve it? – Once you’re familiar with a troll’s behaviour, you can spot them in the wild (disguised as a new user) as they start fights or encourage incendiary opinions. These repeat offenders leave hints that point to their identity. Armed with your community tools and data, look out for similar names, emails, avatars, or IP addresses linked to existing bans. Check, confirm and then ban them as many times as it takes.

Hate Speech and Vulgarity

Trolls need attention and offensive language is an easy way to get it. In 2019, approximately a third of the posts that Viafoura moderators came across contained hate speech and/or vulgarity. That’s almost 83 million attempts at being nasty for no reason, so we can at least give trolls credit for being dedicated to their craft… But not good credit, to be sure. How do I solve it? – A ‘banned-word list’ can help limit this particular tactic but some trolls may use a tactic called ‘masking’. Trolls will mask banned words with symbols, vertical spelling, periods, etc. to throw off a simple banned-word list. If you’re not sure what to look for, trust – 0nce u se.e 1t, y0u c4n’t uns33 1t. A more sophisticated, natural language processing AI, like Viafoura’s, can spot masked words and block them with over 90% accuracy.

Bonus tip: Many service providers claim to have AI or automatic moderation, but don’t actually leverage natural language processing or machine learning to understand variations of words and sentence structures. Check in with your moderation provider to make sure your tool can learn as moderators approve or block comments, further training the algorithm, which should be customized to your guidelines.

Serial Flagging

User to user moderation can be a valuable safety tool but it also has the potential for abuse. Some trolls will use the ‘flagging’ feature to silence or frustrate innocent users. In some cases, the serial flagging may even result in an unfair ban for people that have not violated any guidelines. If a user flags often and most of the content they flag does not violate community guidelines, you may have a troll on your hands.How do I solve it? – Use your data and work with your community. Consider this incentive to be involved with your community and get to know who your positive contributors are. Asking trusted users for their insights and experiences with the suspected troll will help you recognize false-flag reporters on the spot.

Dealing with trolls isn’t always easy and it’s never a fun experience. Unfortunately, they are here to stay and if left unchecked they can turn your digital space into a tumultuous community rife with conflict – definitely not something you want associated with your brand. By equipping ourselves with the proper knowledge, tools and awareness, we can keep trolls at bay and use those same moderating methods to prevent toxic user behaviour from developing even without trolls fuelling the flames.

To learn more about Viafoura’s suite of moderation tools visit https://viafoura.com/content-moderation/.

Effectively Using Microblogging to Cover Live Events

Most of us have come across a blog post at some point in our time on the Internet – you’re reading one right now! They’re a great way to share opinions, discuss topics, and express ourselves. With how easily accessible they are for both authors and readers, it’s no surprise that blogging is a popular and widespread function used by individuals and organizations alike. But most people overlook (or maybe aren’t even aware) of a subsection of blogging that’s gained massive traction over the past few years. 

Microblogging has quickly expanded to become a popular option for sharing content across the digital landscape, and with good reason – it’s easy, effective, and allows people to engage in a shared space similar to blogs, but in much more manageable, time-efficient sections. As a result, more and more media companies have realized the benefit of microblogging, and are using it to engage with their audience within their own platforms.

An incredibly effective way to do so is by covering live events through frequent, rolling updates on their platform. Live events usually attract significant interest, so providing coverage can help you gain a good amount of attention and engagement. Read on to learn more about why using microblogging to cover live events could be a great option to drive community engagement, especially when supported with the right tools and functions.

What is microblogging?

This is probably the first question that some may want to ask. So what exactly makes microblogging different from regular blogging, and why does it make a difference?

In simple terms, microblogging is about creating shorter, more succinct content for audiences that can be consumed quickly. Compared to regular blogs, audience members will spend much less time on individual posts, so microbloggers usually make up for this by making more frequent updates to their pages so audiences can remain engaged. 

Compared to blogs, microblogging involves much more picture and video content, which can be a great way to stimulate audiences without writing in detail. Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are some great microblogging examples. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Advantages of microblogging

Of course, microblogging has some definite advantages over the traditional blogging format, which is why advertisers, media outlets, and big businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. Here are some of the biggest reasons why microblogging is worth it.


Since microblogs are based around shorter, less detailed chunks of content, they take a lot less effort to produce big results. For example, you can prepare several microblog posts in the same amount of time it takes to write and put up a blog post of standard length. There’s clearly a tremendous amount of value to be derived from microblogging just from how easy it is to prepare content for the format.


It’s official; more people spend their time browsing the Internet on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. This means that if you’re looking to engage an audience, your content needs to be mobile-friendly. Blogs can be a chore to read through on mobile devices, and scrolling through walls of text is just as appealing as you’d expect (it isn’t).

This is where microblogging and its focus on visual content shine – your audience will happily view videos and interact with exciting photos, since they translate much better onto mobile platforms. In addition, the shorter content segments often mean that you can prepare posts that can be taken in with little to no scrolling at all, which is great for the quick, concise updates that are standard during live event coverage.


Since your content is produced in smaller, more frequent intervals, microblogging allows you to change the subject and direction of your content on the fly. This is a lot easier on your content producers since each post usually takes minutes to conceptualize and write out. In addition, covering new developments, reacting to events, and responding to audience interests are effortless on a microblogging website.

Covering events through microblogging

We’ve gone over the benefits of microblogging, and its clear that the time-limited and fast-paced nature of live events make it very hard to cover them effectively through regular blogs. Microblogging is clearly the way to go, and some of our readers may already have theirs up and running. However, some important steps need to be followed if you want to effectively do live coverage and drive engagement. Here are some of the best tips to make your next event coverage session a huge success.

Prepare and confirm functionality

Before the event starts, you’ll want to make sure that your platform doesn’t have any outstanding issues or bugs that might end up being a problem during the live coverage. Finding and sorting these problems out beforehand will save you a lot of trouble down the line and make your live microblogging coverage a much smoother experience.

Take pictures

The strength of microblogging stems from the added engagement driven by graphic content. While it’s acceptable to provide only text based post updates on your feed, you’ll find it much easier to break up the monotony of your text wall with photos or images of the event itself. If the event is live, consider having someone attend and take pictures. If you’re covering a streamed event, take screenshots of memorable moments and pair them with your text posts for great effect.

Talk to your audience

Your audience will be having conversations based on the event; you should join in as well! Have someone ready to reply to comments, like popular opinions, and generally promote discussion. Not only will you spark added activity and continue to drive engagement, but you’ll be able to show that your platform is involved within the community and cares about what the audience has to say.

Be ready to moderate

Not all discussion around microblogging coverage will be healthy. Plenty of trolls and toxic individuals will likely attend the event, more than happy to spread negativity, toxic thinking, and outright inappropriate content. If using automatic moderation, make sure your algorithms are working as intended, and it’s highly recommended you use live moderators to cover all the bases and put out fires as they start.


When done right, microblogging to cover live events can help media platforms boost their reputation as a trusted source of information and discussion. But using the right tools and taking the proper steps to prepare for your coverage is just as important. Our solutions suite offer several practical and highly effective tools that can be used to enhance your next live event blog. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for you, contact us today to schedule a demo, and elevate your next live blog event from good to extraordinary.

How to Generate News Article Ideas

Digital media brands and web publishers are keenly aware of the importance of new articles, especially feature stories. These content pieces draw in and hook an audience; they inform, entertain, provoke, and stimulate readers to elicit responses. Viafoura provides a fantastic array of software options that allow those readers to share and discuss their thoughts, which leads to community development and brand investment. But without an interesting, appealing flow of content, your audience is unlikely to stick around long enough for any of that.

The solution is simple; continuously generate fresh new content that everybody will love, of course!

 But let’s get real – it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. Writer’s block is very real, and you might struggle to find the right kind of material to cover despite your best efforts. But don’t worry – if you’re looking for ways to get news article ideas, we’ve compiled a list of helpful strategies and approaches you can use to find the right topics for your platform and audience.

Focus on local issues and incidents

If you’re looking to start from the basics, going local is one of the best ways to get compelling news article ideas for your pages. The biggest benefit of this approach is that you’re living in the middle of what’s happening. You or your team may have come across a story waiting to be told just by going about your day. Or you might end up hearing an interesting tidbit from your social circle that could make for a great feature story idea. And often, many outlets usually skip over local news for being too niche or small scale. But there will always be an audience for the small stuff, which means you’re the digital media brand they turn to for more.

Look up what's trending

Social media has its ups and downs, and one of its big ups is that it’s got its heart on the pulse of what’s hot right now. Looking up trending terms can be like following a trail of breadcrumbs to your next big news article idea. You’ll eventually come across a big event, an impactful announcement, or something else that’s getting a lot of buzz, which will give you a good idea of where your brand should focus and what your take should be. 

Turn to pop culture

Tried and true, pop culture gossip and coverage have always been a staple for reliable views and attention. From shocking headlines to entirely false information about which big celebrity did what to who, they’re compelling enough that most readers will at least stop to take a look if only to see how much they believe it. Of course, your digital media brand could take a much more professional approach towards these topics when gathering news article ideas. Still, it stands that the appeal for this type of content is undeniable, and you can always choose to focus on smaller yet relevant niches such as music or book releases for feature article ideas.

Dive into self-help

These types of articles and columns are a surprisingly effective source of news article ideas, especially when building a group of returning readers and audience members. Many readers find these kinds of articles uplifting, form connections with their own needs, or are sometimes just curious about the issues that others might be facing. Self-help articles can range from how-to-do-x style, step-by-step manuals to weekly columns where a qualified responder selects and answers a reader’s question. As long as you’re tactful and write with the intent to help, you’ll find a lot of success in coming up with news article ideas with this approach.

Cover international angles

Most members of your audience would love to hear about far-off lands and stories on different cultures or lifestyles. That’s why international stories make for fantastic news article ideas; you get to introduce a little exotic flavour in the content they read, which is a great way to get people talking, discussing, and sharing their own experiences in your community space. Of course, using international stories for news article ideas does require you to sponsor your writers for some globetrotting, which may or may not be within your means – but we’d highly recommend giving it a shot!

Turn to science

Technology and science is wild, and it’s getting wilder by the decade. There’s always some new discovery or research that’s making waves in the scientific community, but that doesn’t mean your average reader can’t appreciate the magnitude of what’s happened. Providing a layman’s breakdown on a scientific or technological topic while also going over what exactly that means for us as a community is a great way to bridge the gap while giving you some great news article ideas.

Read the news

Yes, that’s right – oftentimes, the best way to cover a topic is to find out what’s being covered! Even if you’re not the first one to use it as a news article idea, you can choose to write updated or follow-up stories based on the topic, which can let you provide additional insight or follow up on a topic competing media brands might not remember to follow. While it probably won’t be the primary source of all your news article ideas, it can still be a great way to supplement them.


And there you have, some varied yet effective strategies for overcoming writers’ block and generating some interesting news article ideas for your platform. Remember that while content is the backbone of what drives your audience’s interest, it’s the experience and journey they go through with your brand that ultimately gets them coming back for more. Viafoura’s software suite can provide you with everything you need to elevate your digital media brand to the next level, so don’t hesitate; contact us today to schedule a demo and see how we can support your content efforts.

Deep dive: What a digital customer experience should look like

Customer interactions with brands are increasingly being carried out in the digital space. As a result, the digital customer experience has become a major, if not the major, aspect of customers’ overall journey with digital media brands. In addition, with technology continuing to push the way we interact with each other online, content providers and media companies have also changed radically to accommodate their audience in the digital landscape. 

But catering to a digital audience isn’t as simple as “post content, get benefits”. Readers and subscribers are increasingly looking for added value from their interactions and looking for a holistic experience rather than just a great product or service. More than these, it’s the lasting impressions made on an audience that’s the key to having them come back time and again to your platform; the kind of impressions you can build through Viafoura.

In this article, we’ll go over why you need a digital customer experience strategy, what the key aspects of this experience look like, and how it’s essential to the growth of your digital media brand and its orbiting community.

Why bother with a digital customer experience strategy?

There are some essential facts about today’s online audience that highlight how important it is to tailor a digital customer experience around your brand. Consider the following:

From both a financial and audience retention standpoint, it’s clear that an elevated digital customer experience plays a huge role in the success of a digital media brand. If your customer doesn’t feel valued or feel that the unsatisfactory aspects of their interactions aren’t reasonably addressed, they’re more than ready to leave without looking back. As we head into an ever-growing digital era of interactions and commerce, taking the time to make sure your web platform supports a healthy digital customer service experience will be virtually mandatory to sustain audience interest.

Key insights into crafting a digital customer experience strategy

A digital customer experience strategy is usually tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of a brand, so we won’t be able to provide an assessment, nor the exact steps you need to take to improve your own customer experience on the web. But we can identify some critical components that form a solid foundation for good digital customer experience management. Making sure your strategy takes these into account will show results through increased engagement and satisfaction with your brand.

Prioritize convenience

Consumers aren’t switching channels because they want to ride the bandwagon; it’s because, above all, consumers value convenience and ease of use. As long as elements of your strategy take the hassle out of things and provide the most convenience, your audience will respond favourably. Making it easier to find content, share opinions, have discussions, and contact you are just a few ways your brand can provide convenience.

Pay attention to audience needs

Your audience is unlikely to be interested in all the content you offer, because everyone has their own tastes and preferences. Recognizing this and adjusting what you offer them is key to keeping them interested and engaged. Most digital customer experiences involve using gathered consumer data to make smart, automatic decisions about content recommendations. While external services and tools can do this for you, the best practice is to collect and analyze this data on your own and adjust your digital customer experience strategy accordingly.

Consider the audience's whole interaction

The digital customer experience starts when they arrive on your site and ends when they leave it on a web platform. Everything from how they log in, the content they read, and the tools they use to engage with the platform and each other, are part of the impression that’s made. It’s also important to consider any non-digital interactions since your audience will not differentiate between their online and offline experiences.

Empower mobile usage

A significant portion of your audience is highly likely to engage with your platform and content through mobile devices. In fact, consumers actively prefer to use multiple channels and methods to engage with brands, so it’s essential to make sure that your mobile digital customer experience is just as highly tuned as your desktop interactions. Ensure your platform has an alternative, mobile-friendly formatting and maximize how many features carry from desktop to mobile browsing.

Drive engagement

Since consumers are driven by the emotional impact and engagement they receive from a brand, supporting the ability to participate beyond simply reading your content is key to a successful digital customer experience strategy. Consider integrating the ability to comment, reply to posts, and like their favorite content to have your audience switch from passive to active interaction. These interactions are more likely to leave a lasting impression on your audience and, in turn, more likely to get them coming back for more.


Having a digital platform isn’t enough to keep your audience engaged with your brand; it’s important to consider the overall digital customer experience. Remember that an audience looks for convenience, consideration, responsiveness, and lasting impressions. Your audience will also respond well to active engagement, and one of the best ways of doing so is through online community engagement and management software. Viafoura offers you the tools you need to take your engagement to the next level – so if you want to build upon your digital customer experience, contact us to schedule a demo and learn more about how we can help you connect with your audience.

How to Host a Virtual Conference, Webinar or other Event

Most organizations are aware that making connections in person is a valuable aspect of growth and development. But in recent years, there’s been a major shift to fully digital conferences, meetings, and events, which has resulted in an influx of new social engagement and networking methods. As a result, it’s a good idea to understand the importance of virtual events like conferences and webinars, and how to successfully host one through your web platform.

Some businesses have had it harder than others when it comes to making the switch to digital and may be considering holding off on such events until large-scale in-person interactions are viable again. However, you can still take advantage of the positive aspects of conferences, webinars, and panels on an entirely virtual level while also enjoying additional benefits exclusive to this format.

If you’re unclear on how to host a virtual conference, don’t worry; this article will take you through the basics of how to host a virtual event as well as some virtual event best practices. Let’s get started by taking a look at some key concepts.

What Is a Virtual Event?

The majority of the North American population has likely become very familiar with virtual events in the past few years. These events are hosted digitally with content being streamed or shared in a communal setting, which allows people to participate in an event regardless of their location using their digital devices.

Depending on your goals, there might be different types of gatherings you can organize, from virtual webinars to discussion panels to live streams of performances or readings. That’s why the first thing you need to do is determine what kind of event you want to host according to your objectives. Remember that the focus of these gatherings is engaging with the audience like you would, for instance, with live blogging or informational streams.  

Virtual Event Checklist

When it comes to hosting virtual events, there are some practices you need to follow.

Determine the length of the event

In the past, public expectation was that conferences would last a whole day, which allowed all participants sufficient time to network and make connections. However, this doesn’t work with virtual webinars. Nowadays, people prefer to register for virtual events that last for a short amount of time, a maximum of 1-2 hours long. Of course, we understand that sometimes this might not be enough for your needs, but note that you can always organize a one-week virtual conference and have all the events spread throughout the week.

Creating an agenda

Just like an in-person event, you need a plan for virtual webinars. Often, panels and conferences are long and can last for several days. Having a proper agenda can allow attendees to choose which sessions they would like to attend. Remember, as a rule of thumb, when organizing an online conference, you should line up all the essential information at the beginning of the event. Then, to close up the entire event, schedule your most dynamic speaker


If you are thinking about hosting a virtual webinar, a round or two of rehearsal is a must. In this regard, you can find software that allows you to have a practice room, where you can go over some points with speakers, test the quality of the video/audio, and make sure the slides and tools are working before all the attendees connect. In addition, there are some platforms where you can even record your practice sessions. Doing so can improve parts of your online presence to make it more engaging.

how to host a virtual conference

Internet connection

Having a solid internet connection is non-negotiable when hosting an online conference or event. Any disruptions in the quality of Internet connection can prompt many attendees to drop off. That’s why every event-hosting software offers you the chance to check all your levels. Remember that it is also crucial to make sure that your speakers and microphones provide high-quality audio.

Virtual Conference Best Practices: How To Host A Virtual Conference?

Organizing and hosting a virtual conference is not an easy task. We’ve put together a list of actions you can take to ensure your online event will go smoothly.

Choosing the right webinar software

Some of the best platforms you can find online for digital events include GoToWebinar, WebinarJam, BlueJeans Events, and even Zoom. To pick the perfect platform when learning how to host a virtual event, you need to look at the platform’s features. Remember to check the maximum number of attendees, engagement tools, analytics, and community chats and plan your schedule and budget accordingly. 

Presentation tools

Depending on the type of software you choose, there are different presentation tools you can use. For example, some of them allow you to present a pre-recorded presentation that way, and you can be more engaging with the audience through real-time conversations. Depending on the nature of your event and its intended purpose, some tools may be better than others. 

how to host a virtual conference

Picking topics and speakers

Like in-person conferences, choosing relevant, engaging topics is key to maintaining engagement throughout your event. Otherwise, your overall conversation might be spread across such a wide range of topics that attendees might find themselves confused, distracted, or unsure of what to take away from your presentations. Also note that selecting your speakers is also integral to the success of your event; try to have a panel that offers different perspectives about the subject. Three to five industry experts would be an ideal amount for most events.

Making a registration form

The best way to plan out your virtual webinar or conference is to create a registration form that tells you the information of the people who will attend. Here, you need to request details like their contact information, age, location, and gender. This form also allows you to share some things about the event, like the list of speakers, schedules, and social links, and also provides some useful data and statistics on your attendees.


If you want to know how to host a virtual event, we can tell you that it involves more than just organizational skills. You will also need some marketing know-how to promote your virtual event, and you’ll need to use email marketing and social media to keep your audience posted well in advance. Keep in mind that the objective is not just getting the most number of registrants; what’s important is having the proper attendance ratio scaled for your event so things remain manageable.

how to host a virtual conference

Making your platform secure

Having a virtual event means you will be the host of a professional conference. That’s why it is vital to ensure that the platform is secure. To achieve this, you need to look for software that has authentication to protect the entire event. You’ll also need complete administrative control over the event, allowing you to moderate participants as necessary. Various online community management softwares offer these as functions in their software packages, so consider investing in one of them to better regulate your virtual webinar.


In summary, we hope we’ve convinced you that virtual webinars, conferences, and other similar events can be just as productive, profitable, and beneficial as traditional, in-person events. And note that while digital events provide a direct benefit, their effects are proportional to your investment and the effectiveness of your preparations. Consider implementing community engagement and management software to expand your web community and create a space where your brand can develop a dedicated following. Alongside well-planned virtual events, tools like these can help solidify your online presence and help your business grow across the web.

Building a Social Media Style Brand Experience for Any Website

Crafting a brand experience successfully is one of the key goals that a company should work towards to when looking to improve its online performance. It leads to audience engagement which is crucial for conversion and sales on your site and for building a loyal customer base. To achieve a high engagement rate on your site, you need to get creative and stand out from your competitors.

Over the past decade, one of the biggest success stories in audience engagement has been the explosive rise in social media usage and dependence. With so many individuals active on various platforms, organizations have been quick to direct their marketing and engagement efforts through social media. However, it’s important to note that due to how data is exchanged and used on the web today, integrating a web feed for a social media platform doesn’t do nearly enough for your website, as you get almost nothing in data returns while the social media platform continues to receive continued referrals and activity.

So what’s the alternative? The fact is that it doesn’t take much to create the same levels of engagement that can be found on social media platforms. You just need the right tools and knowledge to develop social media-like experiences for your audience. By emulating the beneficial aspects of these platforms to create a digital brand experience, you can build a community that invites members to revisit and engage with your services.

Why use tools to create a brand experience on my company website?

If you are looking to build a loyal customer base, a standard interface is no longer enough in today’s market. Instead, your audience needs to feel intrigued, motivated to participate, and valued for their contributions. Integrating tools that facilitate these events for visitors to your website elevates their experience with your business from a chore to a customer experience. But if you don’t know much about a brand experience or the tools used to make it happen, it can be challenging to visualize how you can take your website from here to there.

Don’t worry; to help you get started, we’ve put together some easy to understand examples of brand experience design, fostering increased engagement that can make a world of difference to your current website.

Brand experience examples

As mentioned above, creating a media feed on your website makes it more attractive for customers who heavily use social media. Creating similar experiences for them likens the positive experience of social media to the brand experience they undergo on your web platform.

Below, we’ve listed several different website features modeled around social media that you can use on your platform.

Complete social wall

The social media feed does a lot of things right; it provides a constant flow of content to engage the visitor, provides vibrant visuals with plenty of imagery, and provides value that encourages them to revisit the website. However, building your own brand wall doesn’t have to rely on social media directly; you can use tools to create a similar social wall built around your brand experience and customers.

Brand Experience

Testimonial space

Word-of-mouth is a more powerful tool than ever before. Because of how often the consumer journey begins from references and good reviews, it’s essential to show potential customers that you have a satisfied audience. You can create a testimonial space that shows what people have to say about your brand to achieve this. Showcasing what satisfied customers are saying about their experiences does wonders to foster positivity and encourage new visitors to start their journey with you.

Personalized user profiles

Having a system in place that allows your visitors and customers to create an identity is key to crafting a brand experience. It’s much easier to remain engaged and participate as part of a community when viewers can record and build on their actions and overall experience with your brand. Software tools can let your users create an avatar, respond to likes and follows, and view their historical activity. Features like this provide the infrastructure you need to have your brand members keep up with their interactions and contribute to the growth of your audience.

Likes and follows

You can argue that the ability to like, follow, and share content on social media platforms is one of the defining features of the core social media experience. Integrating these options directly into your platform through software tools can be a straightforward and effective way to capitalize on user preferences, and build a social media-style, branded experience that promotes continued engagement and association with your platform.

brand experience

Community Chat

Having great content on your website is a fantastic way to develop your brand experience and promote engagement. Providing a way for your community to discuss and share their thoughts on that content is even better! Community chat systems like the ones provided by Viafoura offer real-time, active engagement that can be extremely effective at letting your users feel like they’re part of the conversation and within a larger circle of association. These tools will often provide the ability to capture user data, which can be used in a variety of ways to increase conversions and tailor your brand experience to user needs without direct reliance on social media.

Conversations and Comments

Users often have immediate reactions and responses to content, posts, articles, and updates that you might offer on your website. Providing a space to comment on your content and begin conversations with fellow users is a great way to allow your users to interact with each other and enjoy a brand experience. Like social media platforms, certain software tools also allow for likes, badges, and other meaningful means of recognizing noteworthy contributors, which rewards positive contributions and provides your users with a means to identify helpful or exciting content.


It’s important to note that while most users in your community will add to and build upon your brand and its level of engagement, some users may detract from building positive brand experiences. For example, troll posts and toxicity are a very real part of any online social community, and they’re most likely an aspect of the social media experience that you’d want to avoid actively. Good software tools like our content moderation tool will have ways to quickly and effectively flag these types of comments and posts and remove them while also offering a means to moderate walls, active feeds, and comment sections actively.

These are just a handful of examples that show how you may engage with your users and grow your community and note that none of these require direct integration of social media websites into your website. Instead, you can incorporate these features straight into your website to start building a community within your own digital space through social media-like experiences. Viafoura provides an incredible array of community-building tools and solutions that can help you establish a strong web presence, so if you’re still wondering how to increase brand engagement, look no further! Click here to request a demo on how we can help you meet your engagement goals. 

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