How do you position your community? Consider 4 types of positioning.
- The only community of its kind. Being the only community is useful. This means either focusing specifically on a niche within bigger communities or identifying an overlap between different topics. Teaching/technology, for example. Now you're not competing against established communities, you might even get some promotion through them. People will join because it caters more specifically to their interest.
- The biggest community of its kind. Being the biggest community of architects, lawyers, investors, accountants is a major victory. It's hard (but not impossible) to be toppled). People join because everyone else is a member of that community.
- The most exclusive community of its kind. Exclusive communities engender a stronger sense of belonging. Many command premium membership fees. They provide a safe place to discuss delicate topics. People join because they want to be associated with it.
- The best community of its kind. This is a broad category. There are many different ways the audience might perceive you as the best. If you have the best community culture, manage to interview the key people, host great events, sustain the highest levels of activity, attract the best experts - you can position yourself as the best community. Best is in the mind of the beholder, you need to be sure your edge is something your prospective members will value.
When you launch a community, you probably want to be the only community of its kind. You have no competition there.
As you evolve, to retain members and compete against newcomers you need to either be the biggest, most exclusive or the best community of its kind.