Do you know exactly who you're trying to reach? Do you know why you're trying to reach them? Most people don't.
Many community projects try to target everyone. That's a bad idea.
You need to focus your efforts on a specific group of people at the expense of others. The concentration of effort on the few yields results. You get the few. These are the founders of your community. They need extra time and attention. You need to build up positive relationships with this small group first.
To do this you need to know exactly who you're trying to reach.
- Are they male/female?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do?
- What do they have in common?
- Why are they interested in the topic?
- Who are they trying to impress?
- Who impresses them?
- What are their biggest fears?
- What are their biggest hopes?
- What internet tools do they use most every day?
- What internet tools do they not use ever?
From this you should be able to build a list of real people who you want to participate in your community. If you randomly build a list of people, you're doing it wrong. If you can't build a list from the answers above, you've done it wrong.
You can broaden this group later, but when you're launching a community you need a pinpoint focus.