Here at Scribewise, we’ve already covered extensively why content marketing is important, the types of people you need on your content marketing dream team, the best way to distribute and promote content and dozens of other useful tips and tricks to improve and enhance your content marketing program.

But we’ve been keeping one little secret from you…until now, that is. Want to know the secret to taking your content marketing efforts to the next level?

It’s building a community around your content.

When you build a community, you begin to gather a group of likeminded people with similar goals, passions and interests. You begin to develop fans, people who want to get involved and who will help spread your message farther and wider than you might be able to do on your own.

Once that community is in place, getting members of the community to rally around your content and share it as if it were their own is the next step to content marketing success.

Here’s how to start building a community that is excited to share your content with the world to help amplify your company or client’s message.

1. Give the community a name.

Without a name, your community is simply an audience. Once you give a name to a group of people, you give them something to identify with, something they can hang their hat on. I recently attended the World Domination Summit (a conference for unconventional thinkers) and was amazed when I saw a meetup on the schedule (developed by an attendee) called “Fans of Ramit Sethi.” Sethi was not present at the conference, yet he’s done such a great job building a community of likeminded people that his community planned a meetup of their own. That’s community-building success.

2. Ask your community questions (and respond to them!).

You know all those blog posts, articles and newsletters you’re writing, publishing and distributing? Are you remembering to ask your community questions at the end of each of them? Giving your community the chance to respond with their own insights and opinions can be a powerful way to develop and nurture a budding community. Once a member of your community responds to your question, you must engage back! Creating a conversation or discourse around a topic is what will help your community stay fresh and active.

3. Give people opportunities to get to know other members of the community.

Provide places for the community to get to know one another on a more personal level. A Facebook group might be a nice place to do that- Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income has one of the most active Facebook communities I’ve seen, a safe place where fans of SPI can connect, collaborate and get to know one another better. Another place you might begin to build community is through a specific Twitter hashtag related to your community or even a weekly or monthly Twitter chat where the community can come together at a specific time to discuss a certain topic.

4. Highlight the content and work of members of your community when possible.

One of the most powerful ways to engage your community is by highlighting them and their work when it makes sense. Not only does this single out people in your community by putting the spotlight on them and sharing their work with your larger audience, it also makes them feel like a more valued part of the community. You might consider doing a monthly interview series where you highlight one member of the community who is doing great things. Or, you might consider a weekly or monthly link roundup (like I do with my Start Your Week Right Sunday posts on my personal blog) for the opportunity to highlight multiple people under one umbrella.

Remember, when you begin to develop a community around your content, powerful things can happen. Your content marketing program becomes less about pageviews, subscriber counters and other vanity metrics, and more about engagement and high quality conversations and conversions.

Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. Her work has been published on Ragan’s PR Daily, Muck Rack, Brazen Careerist, Mediabistro, Business Insider and AOL Jobs. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy- stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy.