One story is ‘this is a community for the best in the field’.
Another story is ‘this is a community for the most passionate fans of [topic]’
Another is ‘this community will get you answers quicker than anywhere else’.
Another is ‘this community is a place where you can truly be yourself’.
Whatever your story is, almost everything in the community should be aligned to it.
If your community is for only the best in the field, you should be able to display a criteria, a list of current members, send personal invites (or setup calls) with each prospective member, remove those who aren’t a good match, and host discussions in the manner that top people in the field expect (virtual roundtables or private groups).
If your community is about speed, you might proudly display the average time to first response, list the members who give the fastest responses, promote the community as the place to get the quickest responses and nudge members to ask questions in such a way that will help them get a fast response.
If your community is about belonging, you might feature and encourage emotive stories from or about members. You might initiate and prioritise emotional and off-topic discussions and create a powerful experience for each shy newcomer to become comfortable participating.
Often the problem is you haven’t found the right story to tell or you’re not telling it in a consistent way. The content and discussions you feature, the way you communicate with members, and the goals you set for yourself should all trickle down from the story.