Building Buzzing Communities with Richard Millington

By Jeff Cobb.  Last Updated on September 20, 2022

Richard Millington of Feverbee

What if you could build a thriving online community of people passionate about your area of expertise? Many Learning Revolutionaries are interested in doing just that, but don’t know where to start or how to go about it.

In this episode, community expert Richard Millington offers the insights and tips you need to start making your community vision a reality. Rich is the founder of Feverbee, a consulting firm that focuses specifically on helping organizations build and manage successful communities. His clients have included the United Nations, The Global Fund, Novartis, Oracle, OECD, BAE Systems, and AMD.

He’s also the author of Buzzing Communities: How To Build Bigger, Better, And More Active Online Communities and architect of Feverbee’s Community Management Courses.

Bottom line: Rich knows community, and he’s here to share that knowledge with you here in the 2oth episode of Learning Revolution.

So, put your cell phone in silent mode,  put a do not disturb sign on the door, and get ready to learn. (And, as always, be sure to share the good word about Learning Revolution.)

Listen to the Podcast

Listen in below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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Get the Show Notes

00:15 – This is episode 20. Wow! Ideas for Episode 25? Let me know.

00:55 – “Community” will be the focus of this episode. Past guest who have talked about the important role of community include Alan Weiss and Leo Babauta.

01:25 – Introduction of new “tools and tips”segment. Thanks to Michael Stelzner for the idea. Mike does a great job of this in the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

01:57 – The tool/tip for this episode is CCtoMany, a simple, low-cost e-mail list application that can be used for putting together a community. Shout our to Seth Kahan for turning me on to CCtoMany.

03:38 – Introduction of Rich Millington, founder of Feverbee and author of Buzzing Communities: How To Build Bigger, Better, And More Active Online Communities.

04:45 – Rich talks about how online gaming – and the communities around them – led him to his passion for community.

07:02 – Rich had the chance to work directly with Seth Godin as part of building his knowledge and skills.

08:30 – What does Rich mean when he says “community?” How is it fundamentally different from a group of people communicating together? Definition: A community is a (1) group of people who have (2) developed relationships (3) around a strong common interest. All three elements have to be there.

10:20 – If you are an expert – consultant, trainer, speaker, etc. – what are some key principles for developing a community around your expertise. First, of all – start small. To have a big online community, you have to begin with a small online community. Focus on who the first 50 to 100 members while be. (Listen in for more detail from Rich.)

12:25 – Listen in for common problems, common ambitions to come up with initial questions to engage people. And then reach out to specific people to engage them around questions related to these problems and ambitions.

13:20 – Discussion of the concept that “The best content for a community is content about the community.”

The best content for a community is content about the community.

Richard Millington, Feverbee

16:20 – What are some of the big mistakes people or organizations make in launching a community? “Big launch syndrome” is one problem. We are accustomed to the idea of big marketing launches, but this doesn’t really work for communities.

17:18 – Community organizers also often make the mistake of making the community about themselves. It needs to be about the benefit or goal that will be achieved through the community.

18:30 – People also tend to be way too reactive. They wait for things to happen in the community rather than having a plan of action and driving the community.

19:10 – People also tend to give up too soon. Often a community looks like a complete failure moments before it is a great success.

20:00 – Rich’s perspective on money and communities – i.e., charging for membership and/or selling products within the community. Rich thinks there is a lot to be said for charging, particularly for a “community of practice.” Having a fee helps to focus the community. On the other hand, people do expect more.

22:26 – On the topic of selling products to a community, Rich quotes Seth Godin: “It’s harder to find people for your products than products for you your people.” In a good community, you can actually ask people what they need. (A point that Alan Weiss also makes – and practices.)

23:20 – “Tremendous value exchange” concept – if you expect someone to buy something from you, you need to do a lot to provide them with value first.

25:10 – Technology should not come first in developing a community, but Rich does suggest a number of tools, including:

28:00 – Find Rich at

If you have questions you’d like me to address on the show or guest you would like to see on the show, be sure to drop me an e-mail or leave me a voice mail (look over to your right).

See also:

You can browse past Learning Revolution episodes here. As always, if you like the Learning Revolution podcast, I’d be sincerely grateful if you would do a rating and/or brief review on iTunes. (Once you reach the iTunes Web page, click “View in iTunes” and then select the “Ratings and Reviews” tab.)

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | iTunes | Stitcher Radio

The theme music for Learning Revolution is The Information Age by Anthony Fiumano, available on the Podsafe Music Network.

Additional Resources


Head shot of Learning Revolution Founder Jeff Cobb

Jeff Cobb, Founder of Learning Revolution

Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an author, and a speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business. Learn more about Jeff Cobb here.

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