What's the difference between a blog and a forum?

Different tools for different jobs, right?  You don't use a hammer to tighten a screw, and you probably wouldn't use a blog to provide customer service.

 

But with all of the different options for social interaction, it can be tough to decide which one is appropriate, especially if you're just getting your feet wet.

 

hammer

 

Reasons You Might Want a Blog

  • You want to focus on a small set of topics that you control.
  • You want to have a small group of authors (or a single author).
  • You want to become known as a thought leader; your content is being syndicated.

Reasons You Might Want a Forum

  • You want to allow the ideas of the community to surface easily.
  • You have a wide variety of topics.
  • You want to provide customer support.

Reasons You Might Want Both

  • You have a large, active member base.
  • You have both established authors and a large community.
  • You want to provide original content and support on the same site.
  • Your community members are requesting both features.
 
If you're starting a brand new community, it's best to choose one or the other to begin with, and then expand into other features as needed (or as requested by the community).  
 
What are the key components of your online community?

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I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.

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