Types of Communities and the Content They Need to Grow Healthily

The Problem of Community Categorization: An Unresolved Issue?

Providing relevant and engaging content based on the type of Community you manage is crucial for creating an active and engaging environment that fosters growth and development. Making the right decisions in this regard helps increase engagement, improve relationships with existing members, and attract new ones.

The problem is that it's complicated to determine how communities should be categorized: there is still no absolute consensus on this, and even experts in the field struggle to reach an agreement.

We have also thought about this at length and decided to share our opinion with our readers in this article. Here is how we chose to categorize communities and the most suitable content to encourage the growth of each type.

Community of Interest

A Community of Interest consists of individuals who share a common interest, which can belong to a myriad of fields: from technology to politics, from sports to culture, and so on.The main characteristics of these communities are the shared passion and the willingness of its members to actively participate in the project by sharing information and supporting each other in achieving their goals. These dynamics allow for the development of strong internal cohesion and a robust sense of belonging, which are crucial for consolidating and growing the group.

In a Community of Interest, the content offered must be relevant to the shared interests of the members and should encourage participation and discussion, such as:

  • News and updates on topics related to the passion that unites the members.
  • Accounts of personal experiences shared by community members that can be encouraging and inspiring for others.
  • Photos and videos showcasing the shared interests in action, like photos of a sports event or videos of a musical performance.
  • Organization of events and meetings to promote interactions among members even outside the virtual world.

➡️ Read alsoWhat is the true value of your Brand Community?

Community of Practice

Communities of Practice are composed of people connected by a specific professional, academic, or business field. A typical example, which is increasingly common, are Social Intranet (corporate communities) aimed at involving all stakeholders related to the brand, whether they are employees, administrators, investors, and so on.

Their users find an easily accessible and user-friendly environment to discuss common problems, share information and resources, and support each other in developing skills and best practices. Additionally, Communities of Practice are a fertile ground for the emergence of ideas and innovations that can benefit everyone.

These types of Communities can be real private corporate social networks, delivered in the cloud by platforms like SelfCommunity, which allows Community administrators to collect valuable data to comprehensively analyze the profiles of their members and identify the best strategies to engage them effectively.

The content offered within Communities of Practice should focus on learning and sharing knowledge, skills, and ideas, such as:

  • Guides, tutorials, and webinars with detailed information on how to perform a specific task or use a product or service.
  • Case studies and success stories illustrating how other companies or organizations have successfully utilized the skills shared by their community.
  • Documents and other educational resources like manuals and e-books to help members learn best practices in a particular field.
  • Discussion posts to stimulate the exchange of ideas among a company's stakeholders.

Community of Purpose

In Communities of Purpose, the unifying element is a particular purpose, a 'mission,' that represents the ultimate goal for all members. A typical example is organizations dedicated to ethical and social causes such as environmental protection or human rights advocacy.

Communities of Purpose are characterized by strong activism and deep emotional involvement of the members towards their common cause, often led by leaders who seek to direct collective efforts organically.

The content suitable for this type of community is intended to keep all members actively engaged and constantly updated on the progress of the results achieved through their efforts, such as:

  • Action guides that explain in detail what actions members can take in support of the mission.
  • News updates on the evolution of the objective.
  • Webinars to allow community members to discuss and better coordinate their efforts.

Community of Place

In Communities of Place, people come together based on the sharing of a geographical location, such as a neighborhood, city, or region, thus developing a strong sense of belonging to the territory.

The geographical proximity among members facilitates the development of very strong bonds, also due to the typical cultural identity shared by those living in the same area.

Members of Communities of Place are often involved in volunteer activities and civic participation to improve their Community. This can include neighborhood cleanup projects, organizing community events, and collaborating with local authorities to solve shared problems.

Here are some examples of content suitable for the growth of a healthy and active Community of Place:

  • Local news about events, projects, and developments in the area of interest.
  • Reviews of local businesses and attractions.
  • Photographic and video material promoting the landscapes, scenery, and historical sites of the territory.
  • Announcements of local events and initiatives organized by the community.

Community of Circumstance

Communities of Circumstance are composed of people who come together based on a specific situation, usually temporary (but not always) and often not chosen by them, such as an illness or disability.

A distinctive feature of these communities is the great heterogeneity of members who, being united by a circumstantial situation, can have very different backgrounds and a wide range of experiences.

Given the often-existing differences among members of Communities of Circumstance, it is not easy to identify universally valid content because each specific situation requires a different approach.

In a Community that gathers a group of people suffering from a particular disease, for example, it may be useful to produce informative material containing recommendations on how to optimally manage the disease and how to receive financial and psychological support. A group dedicated to single parents, on the other hand, may benefit from collective meetings where the more experienced members have the opportunity to share their experiences and offer valuable advice to others.


Recognizing which category a Community falls into is essential for accurately identifying the target audience and shared goals, and consequently, understanding what type of content to offer to promote the development of the project.

Discover SelfCommunity and how to improve engagement, reinforce brand awareness and increase loyalty with an unique and fully customizable Social Network platform.

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