Kickstarting a Community on Top of Product: Emily from Voice

In this podcast series, I'll be talking to a few community builders to learn more about their journey and hopefully help others grow their own communities.

Podcast - Kickstarting a community on top of your product

Welcome to our podcast series and how to kick start a community on top of a product.

Every week or so, we explore the long journey of community building by talking to founders and community builders.

Today, we're not going to talk about a standard community. We're going to talk about a new type of community. Actually, pretty unknown to me that I'm super excited to learn more about โ€“ it is an NFT-based community.

To chat about this, I'm very excited to welcome Emily Drewry who is the Marketing Director at Voice, an NFT Platform for creators.

Enjoy reading the interview or listen to our original conversation.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Emily's journey until her role at Voice
๐Ÿ‘‰ A non-technical explanation of what an NFT is
๐Ÿ‘‰ How building a community in Web3 is different than in other industries
๐Ÿ‘‰ How they're engaging with their community members on Discord
๐Ÿ‘‰ How did they get the first people to join the community
๐Ÿ‘‰ What is the hardest thing with the Voice community


๐Ÿš€ Emily's journey before Voice

โ“ Louise: So first, do you want to maybe tell us how you ended up running marketing and community at Voice and what your role is exactly about?

Emily: Like many people I've had an interesting career in learning different types of marketing across different types of companies. I've been both at startups and major major companies.

I learned along the way that I was working in social strategy and marketing and editorial and but what I was really doing everywhere was building community, it just wasn't called that.

I ended up at Voice just about two years ago. I knew the CEO and he brought me on board to launch our marketing efforts.

It was very important to me from the very beginning that everything we do, because we are ultimately here to serve creators, to make sure that our community was a part of everything and in fact led both our product development and our marketing efforts.

So that's kind of how I got to where I am today. I do not have Blockchain or NFT experience before this job, but I've learned a ton. And I'm happy to now spread everything that I've learned to others.

๐Ÿ’ป A non-technical explanation of what an NFT is

โ“ Louise: Amazing. What a great journey! And talking about NFTs, before we go further, can you explain to everyone what an NFT is except for being a buzzword so that we all understand what you're talking about.

Emily: If you kind of actually put the technology aside, the easiest way to think about NFTs is that it makes digital goods sellable and collectible.

So if you have any form of digital asset, it's often talked about right now as a piece of art, but it also could be a ticket or a piece of digital merge, or even if you want to get into the metaverse โ€“ digital land. Basically, it's putting a piece of code around this digital asset that proves who owned it, when it was created, and then tracks it throughout its entire lifespan and allows people to buy and sell that good.

๐Ÿค How building a community in Web3 is different than in other industries

โ“ Louise: That's a great explanation. I think I finally get that. I'm wondering, how different it is to build a community in Web3 compared to your other previous jobs?

Emily: It's very different in the day-to-day, but I would say that the fundamentals are the same.

What's most different about building in the Web3 space is that it's new to everyone. And so people are really focused on learning and experimenting.

And with that, there's a lot of... people aren't sure of what they should be doing. People are looking for support.

There's definitely some scams out there. So you can't really build as quickly as you might have been able to in previous industries, because everyone's a little wary and looking for guidance. And so we've really focused on building our community around education, shared resources, and support. And that has really helped us navigate this brand new space.

But at the same time, the fundamentals of community building, which is shared feedback and building for a common purpose. All of those things remain the same in Web3.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Community member engagement on Discord

โ“ Louise: That's super interesting. Do you use a specific tool to engage with your community? Where do your people hang out, and where do you engage with them?

Emily: We are following the kind of Web3 standard by housing our community on Discord which has been a really great experience because I think, again, everyone's kind of learning this platform and this tool at the same time and so we have kind of a lot of ability to experiment and to play around.

Our community has been fantastic in giving feedback on what they do want, and what they don't want. If the Discord gets too complicated, they tell us. And so it's been a really great place to house a lot of those discussions.

I think the one downside to it is because Discord is a new tool, a lot of people aren't in it yet, so they're already focused on learning the NFT space, they're like, I don't want to learn another platform to talk about.

But once they get in there, they're always happy to be there.

๐Ÿ‘‹ First people to join the community

โ“Louise: I think the hardest part, at least for myself, was to get the first people to join the community, so what are your thoughts on this, how did you do to get the first people to join? And how many members do you have right now?

Emily: We've been building our product alongside our community, so our first community members were really our first users.

The way that we kind of turned them into community members, active community members, is really by asking for their opinions every step of the way, implementing their recommendations and staying super transparent in our building process.

Right now we're just about to hit 6000 members in our Discord which I'm really, really excited about because like I said, only a small number of our users are in there, but the folks that are in there are super engaged and happy to be there.

We're still a relatively new company at this point but the growth in the community that has happened thus far I'm very, very proud of.

โ“ Louise: And these people who join your Discord, what are they looking for in particular in your community?

Emily: They're really looking for guidance, support, companionship, and I would say to get ahead. The NFT space is new, exciting, and competitive, and so folks want to make sure that they're making the most of the opportunities that exist. A lot of those opportunities at least we share in our Discord first. So any new product announcement, any opportunity to be featured, โ€“ those primarily start at our Discord, which makes it a really great place to be.

โ“ Louise: And 6000 members, how many people are taking care of them within Voice? You're responsible for it, and do you have anyone any other people responsible for the community on Discord?

Emily: Yes. I would not be able to do it without a team.

We have a fantastic Community Architect named Denise who came on board late last year to really help build out the Discord structure of the community. She really has been a fantastic resource for me in helping me turn kind of my community-building experience into something that works in Web3.

And then I have also a few other members of the Voice team who are in there every day helping take care of our community members. So it's definitely not something that I could do.

๐Ÿค” The hardest thing about the Voice community

โ“ Louise: What has been or is currently the hardest with regards to your community? What do you feel is the hardest thing to do?

Emily: That's a great question, I think as I kind of mentioned before: the NFT space is kind of ripe, because it's brand new, it's kind of ripe with scams and bad behavior. I think once people kind of see some of that happening they tend to be really skeptical of anything new or anything that's moving too quickly.

So it's been tough to balance those few bad actors with the majority of the community who are there for good purposes, and just make sure that everybody still trusts us along the way.

โ“ Louise: How would you measure the health of your community? Do you have any metrics you're looking at?

Emily: Yes absolutely. Denise does really fantastic community surveys that directly ask folks how happy and satisfied they are with the community, what they're looking for, and how often they are logging in and staying active.

Discord offers some stuff like that, like the average number of people who are logging in per day. But for me, it's really more about that survey and getting that direct feedback from people.

Louise: Thank you so much!


I hope you enjoyed the interview!

You can find the recordings of all the episodes in this series on Spotify.

Thanks ๐Ÿ‘‹

Louise