The Underlying Desire
If you’re launching a new community, spend a lot of time validating the underlying desire for people to visit and join.
You need to address the underlying desire early in the community process.
Are you alleviating fear and frustration?
Are you providing respect and belonging?
Are you creating a feeling of accomplishment, hope, and success?
Yes, obviously you want all of them. But imagine you can only pick one.
Choose carefully. Each desire takes you down a totally different path.
For example, it’s easier to start a community around alleviating a strong fear or frustration.
People have a pain they want to alleviate (product questions, personal challenges) and are naturally drawn to places which provide answers.
But your work then becomes about getting people the best answer in the shortest amount of time. Most people only want 1 response to a question (the right response – all the others add to confusion). Most members visit once, ask a question, and leave. You need to make it easier to find or get the right answers in the shortest amount of time.
Communities about positive desires are far harder to get started. Members don’t have the urgency to visit and participate. You need to work far harder to attract and keep members. You need to cultivate the right founding members to get started. You need to start slower and accept you won’t have the same level of participation. You need to build a stronger sense of community and cultivate the best expertise etc…
If you’re finding you’re not reaching a critical mass of activity, or you’re struggling to keep members, it’s probably because you’re either unclear about the underlying desire of your members or you’re not organizing your work around satiating that desire.