Do You Remember Mashable?
I remember Mashable as the best site for social media and online community professionals.
It had a thriving community, great content, and a clear mission.
If you wanted the latest news about social media, you went to Mashable.
At some point, their scope began to creep beyond social media.
Their articles became increasingly celebrity-focused and content became ever more list/how-to/'unbelievable' focused.
Judging by today's posts, most of us can agree it's become largely irrelevant to any imaginable target audience.
The moment you try to attract an audience you don't have, you're doing a disservice to those you do. You open the door to competitors too.
If you want to attract a new audience, launch a new community. Give the audience the service and attention they deserve. Keep the community focused.
StackExchange didn't let its community for programmers expand to designers, engineers, mathematicians. It facilitated a system where it could launch new communities easily to cater to each unique group.
Likewise, the moment you start writing articles to be popular instead of useful, you've entered a war for attention. Each week you need an ever-more sharable headline and set of bullet points or the audience stops clicking. Far better to make sure every article has such valuable advice you don't need to write simple list summaries.
Many of you run terrific communities. Don't be Mashabled.