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Nine Principles to Communicating With Your Community


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Last week I received an email from Pinterest’s CEO, Ben Silbermann. So did millions of other people. After reading said email, I was inspired to write about it. I’m guessing millions of other people weren’t similarly inspired, so I’ll do my part in sharing what I think is a great example of communications, from which other companies can learn.

First things first — here’s what Ben had to say…

Note from Pinterest's Ben Silbermann

What’s so special about this email?

  • It’s human — he leads off by introducing us to his family.
  • It’s engaging — those links lead to his personal Pinterest account, where you find pics of his [super cute!] kid and a cool video that you might even re-pin.
  • It’s relatable — he tells us how he uses the product and recognizes that we likely use it in similar ways.(“We’re not so different, you and I”)
  • It’s multifunctional — he demos the product, by showing us his own pins; he establishes a value proposition; he subliminally reactivates us as users.
  • It’s honest — businesses have to make money to survive; Pinterest is not the exception. He recognizes a reality that we can all accept as truth.
  • It’s proactive — he predicts (quite accurately, in most cases) the reactions that we’ll have, and he addresses them before we can even react.
  • It’s transparent — he tells us what to expect in the immediate future, by explaining how they’ll execute going forward.
  • It’s collaborative — he invites feedback and ensures us that our ideas will be heard and taken into consideration.
  • It’s simple — you can read its entirety in 2 minutes or get the most important point within 5 seconds, by reading the bolded words.

The next time you communicate with your community, integrate these nine principals into the message. I betcha you’ll be perceived as a darn good person and garner the trust of your audience.


Director, Developer Relations at @SendGrid. Passionate about bringing people together around things they love. I tweet at @TimFalls.

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