Your members want to know what people like them are doing.
This comes up in almost every survey and interview we do.
Your members want to know how people like them have set-up and used the software.
Your members want to know what people like them are getting paid and how they spend that money.
Your members want to know how they compare to others just like them.
The easier you can make it for members to compare themselves to others, the more they tend to visit the community.
One approach is to do big reports. Once you can collect a few hundred survey responses you can aggregate this data and produce the definitive reports for the sector. StackOverflow do a good job of this, so do our friends at the Community Roundtable.
Another approach is to use profile questions. When people create their profiles, ask questions which relate to the main areas of comparison. What tools/products do they use? What level are they working at? How did they overcome the main challenge your audience faces?
A final approach is to guide people in emails and communications to cornerstone discussions in the areas where members most want to compare themselves to one another. One client, for example, had members who wanted to know how others collected and used their data.
The easier you make it for members to compare themselves to one another, the more people participate.