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Our 19 Favorite Community Management Resources for 2021

Check out this list of our favorite community management resources: books, podcasts, and blogs to inspire your work.

Whether you’re looking for community management basics or you’re a seasoned pro looking to stay up to date on the latest, it’s good to have a list of community building resources handy. We’ve got you covered: These books, blogs, and podcasts are tried and true suggestions from the Higher Logic team, sure to assist in your branded online community journey.

Want to dig deeper? Check out our complete guide to online community.

The Big List of Online Community Management Resources

Let’s dive into our favorite books for community builders.

Community Management Books

1. Community in a Box: How to Build Event-Driven Professional Communities by Mark Birch

Mark Birch shares stories and tips in this practical guide for community builders, with advice for building and scaling a professional community that will lead to organizational change.

2. Building Brand Communities: How Organizations Succeed by Creating Belonging by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles Vogl

This 2020 book is an indispensable resource on how to build authentic brand communities. Carrie and Charles are both seasoned community builders with tons to offer on how to build an online community at your organization.

3. Get Together: How to build a community with your people by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, and Kay Elmer Sotto

Successful communities are created with strategy and hard work – Bailey, Kevin, and Kay recognize this and give practical ideas and inspirational stories for how and why you should build your own online community.

4. The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation by Jono Bacon

Jono Bacon’s long history in community building lends itself to a robust read. In this 2012 book, he provides experiences and observations and 12 interviews with community management leaders.

5. People Powered: How Communities Can Supercharge Your Business, Brand, and Teams by Jono Bacon

Jono is back on the list with a more recent work, published in 2019, which compiles 20 years of practical experience into a methodology and blueprint for building community.

6. The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation, and Intuition at Work by Natalie Nixon

Natalie Nixon’s book on creativity is less community-focused, but community builders can definitely benefit from this read. Her book highlights how to continually hone creativity and how to improve your own “creativity quotient” in order to innovate better.

7. The Business of Belonging: How to Build Communities that Grow the Bottom Line by David Spinx

This book made the list and it’s not even released yet – that’s how you know it’ll be good. David Spinx, founder of CMX, has been in the community industry for a long time, so this book will be sure to satisfy questions you have about how to build a branded online community.

8. The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

This 2012 book by David Brooks is older but definitely still relevant. He presents an analysis of how humans live in a creative, and social way. Since community building requires a deep understanding of human motivations, this book will help you build your community strategy on a solid foundation.

9. The Art of Community by Charles Vogl

Charles is back with seven principles of belonging, each of which will help you build a strong culture that’s founded on your branded online community. In the words of one Higher Logic community manager, “This should be required reading for all community managers.”

10. The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win by David Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich

Here’s another psychological book that gets deep into what motivates human behavior and how to motivate your entire organization from employee to customer. Although a good read for every community manager, this book will be especially helpful for internal community managers or builders.

Bonus: The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker

This book is broader than just online communities, but Priya Parker’s bestseller has many principles that can be applied to building a branded online community.

Community Management Podcasts

11. Community Signal by Patrick O’Keefe

Community Signal is a bi-weekly podcast for community professionals with topics like acing your next community manager job interview or understanding why Lego got rid of their online community. You’ll love these informative conversations with the host, Patrick, and his guests from across industries.

12. In Before the Lock by Erica Kuhl and Brian Oblinger

Don’t miss this podcast – a true gem from two community industry leaders with practical and inspirational guidance. They’re so deep in community lore that their podcast title is based on forum slang. (“In before the lock” means you’re posting in a discussion that you expect a moderator will be closing down shortly.)

13. Conversations with Community Managers by The Community Roundtable

Check out The Community Roundtable’s podcast, which is just what the name sounds like: Conversations with real community managers and builders at all sorts of companies, like Imperva and the Project Management Institute.

14. Peers Over Beers by Chris Detzel and Michael Sandoval

Join community experts Chris and Michael for their online community podcast, where they tackle hard issues facing community managers in their daily struggles. Their conversations are geared toward enterprise community managers and social media professionals.

Community Management Blogs

15. Holly Firestone

Holly Firestone’s blog is always a good read. She has a long history in online community management, building, and strategy, and she now heads up the community at Venafi. She shares real-world advice and career tips for fellow community builders.

16. Noele Flowers

Noele Flowers writes about a wide variety of online community topics, from building and launching to measuring success and elevating the quality of engagement. Don’t miss her posts!

17. Chris Detzel

Chris has built and managed several online communities, and he’s sharing his wealth of knowledge on his new blog, written especially for B2B online community builders.

18. Higher Logic

Not to toot our own horn, but the Higher Logic team regularly publishes expert pieces on community building, strategy, and growth on our blog.

19. CMX

CMX’s blog is filled with the insights you need to build an excellent community. They also have a Facebook group where community managers (or those interested in the community space) can join to connect and talk all things related to building a community. And another bonus, don’t miss the CMX podcast: Masters of Community.

Don’t Forget These Bonus Community Management Resources

The list above is just a sampling of all the great resources in the world of online community. In addition to industry blogs and books, there are many resources that weren’t written specifically for online community builders but offer useful insight and context for the work you do. Check out these interdisciplinary resources:

Keeping up with changing technology is a must for community managers. Books, blogs, and podcasts are easy ways to stay informed. But you’ll also hear different perspectives and new ideas from these resources, which will help you keep your own work fresh. And we all know that staying fresh in the digital world is key to engagement.

Elizabeth Bell

Elizabeth Bell is the former Content Marketing Manager at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.