Eddie Winner: Best Online Community
Three years after the initial launch, Architectural Recordâ€™s online community, which has about 87,000 members, has proven to be a dynamic tool not only for driving Web traffic, building loyalty among readership and creating an ongoing dialogue between readers and editorial staff,Â but itâ€™s working as a great source for story ideas as well. â€śOur readership is an engaged, professional audience with a lot invested in the content,â€ť explains Web editor William Hanley. â€śWhen we see a particularly active commentary, we often follow that up with a blog or an article expanding the conversation.â€ť
Hanley and the other editors encourage readers to submit solutions to common architectural challenges, share news with the community; publish photos of completed or ongoing designs, and provoke dialogue with opinionated comments. The readers enjoy images of buildings designed by their peersâ€”projects they can learn from, share with clients, and use as benchmarks. To that end, the community features 17 showcase galleries, containing nearly 10,000 reader-submitted photos from more than 50 countries.
Readers can also create profiles that highlight their professional achievements and affiliations; one-time registration allows readers access to several related McGraw-Hill communities that may interest Architectural Record readers.
The online community is maintained by shared IT personnel, who also work on other McGraw-Hill online offerings.
Although Hanley acts in a managing editor capacity for the Architectural Record community, all editors engage in regular dialogue with users as part of their daily activities. â€śWe have guidelines, of course, and we monitor and contribute to the conversations,â€ť says Hanley.Â â€śFor a site that allows anonymous posting, the dialogue has been remarkably civil. The community more or less polices itself.â€ť
To continue to keep interest levels high and maintain growth, â€śWe do short editorial pieces spotlighting some of the more interesting commentary threads; perhaps a blog, perhaps a follow-up, but it bumps the conversation and keeps readers engaged,â€ť explains Hanley.