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Digital Communities for PR with Christina Garnett, HubSpot

Digital Communities For PR With Christina Garnett, HubSpot

On this month’s profile, we are talking with none other than Christina Garnett, community builder and advocacy strategist at HubSpot. She uses audience intelligence and social listening to learn more about audiences to determine needs, behaviors, and more. Her work serves to help brands better connect with their current customers, potential customers, and fans.

Christina is featured in HubSpot Academy’s Social Media certification course as well as their separate course on social listening. She was a finalist for Sprout Social’s Community Builder Award in 2020 and has been a speaker for national events like INBOUND19 and Adapted Digital Media Summit and local events for the Virginia SBDC. You can also find her featured in various ebooks by HubSpot, Social Insider, and Talkwalker, as well as articles by The Next Web, Adweek, and Meltwater.

Within this interview, we discuss all aspects of communities. From how to find where your community lives to how to utilize communities to amplify PR efforts, Christina is sharing her top pieces of advice for creating communities for brands.

Read below for the entire interview with Christina Garnett at Hubspot:

1.) You have a coveted role at HubSpot as their Senior Marketing Manager for Offline Community and Advocacy, which I think a lot of marketers would love to have! How did you get to where you are? How did you initially get into community building?

I have a very untraditional career path, starting as a teacher and transitioning into marketing. I’ve always been incredible curious and I find that it has helped lead me into marketing and community building specifically. My first real community building work was creating an alumni network for a technical college I worked for.


2.) Tell us what “offline community and advocacy” means in your current role?

Offline community refers to all the communities outside of the HubSpot Community. It’s social media, Facebook groups, slack channels, and more. I am constantly doing social listening to learn more about the market, our customers, and their needs. The advocacy piece is the next step of work where I work to identify and empower our biggest fans. I work to make sure they feel like they have a seat at the table and are appreciated.


3.) For those who may not be familiar, what exactly is community building? What goes into that?

Community building is creating or improving the experience for a group of people who come together based on their common affinity or affiliation with a topic. It’s constantly optimizing the community experience to ensure that onboarding and maintenance behaviors make it feel like a place where people can connect, learn, and grow.


4.) How do you define “community” in a digital world?

The main difference between community and community in a digital world is scale. The ability to communicate and connect with like minded people in other countries at the click of a button means that these groups can foster belonging on a worldwide level.


5.) What are your top tips for building new communities for brands?

Be obsessed with the member experience and make it the heart of what you do. Metrics and KPIs are important but taking care of your members and giving them a valuable and worthwhile experience will move the needle.


6.) The ultimate goal of any community is action and engagement. What are your top tips for cultivating an *engaged* audience for your brand?

Action and engagement has to be worth it. What is the cause and effect of them responding to a post or answering a question? Does the cause and effect make them feel like they belong or feel ignored? Members of a community need to understand what they gain from being a part of the community and it has to have enough meaning to them for them to not only join but return. You need to understand what is important to your target community members. What motivates them?


7.) There are a lot of different platforms for brands to consider nowadays. How can brands find where their audience lives?

Social listening is priceless. It will show you where they live, what kind of conversations they have, and how those conversation may differ depending on which platform they’re on.


8.) Why are communities important for brands and how do you figure out what type of community is right for your brand?

Communities are the collective relationship between target audience and brand. It creates 1-1 and 1-many communication opportunities and offers brands a way to give their customers a seat at the table. To determine what type of community is right for you, do social listening and determine what the biggest needs for your target community are. Their need is your driver.


9.) PR and marketers have an integral relationship with one another, especially when it comes to lead generation. How does community and PR aid in moving prospects through the funnel?

Community can be your best source of word of mouth. You can find advocates there, problem solvers, and more. As members of the community, if you are taking care of them, there will be a sense of ownership and alignment with the brand. They will answer questions from prospective customers. They’ll share your latest news. If you are their biggest cheerleader, they will want to become yours.


10.) How can PR professionals aid marketers in creating communities for clients?

PR professionals can read the room better than anyone and they can spot opportunity. Ask your PR pros what they see as the biggest weakness with the brand. Can current customers be a part of the solution?


11.) What benefits does a community have on amplifying PR efforts?

Healthy communities root for each other. They see the power of helping fellow members and the community as a whole. They want opportunities to share the community they’re proud of and will share what they need to be a part of the cause.


12. ) What’s your #1 tool you can’t live without when creating communities and optimizing audience experience?

Not a tool, but lurk in your own community. Spend time and see how things are set up and what kinds of conversations are being had. Would you feel like you belong? Helped?


13. ) What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?

Make them tell you no. Don’t self reject when you see an opportunity you want. Go for it.




Want more tips about PR? Check out this interview with Robyn Stevens who discusses all aspects of broadcast media. From sending the perfect pitch to making your sources more enticing, she is sharing her best advice.

Like this series and have a guest you think would be a good fit? Shoot us a Twitter DM or email us at and let us know who you’d want to see featured next! PS: you can recommend yourself too.

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Kendall began her journey at OnePitch as an intern in January of 2019 and is now the Marketing Manager handling all of the marketing efforts ranging from social media to content, and emails. She studied communications at San Diego State University and enjoys drawing, being outside, and practicing yoga in her free time.

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