There are plenty of ways to make a new community unique.
- You can make it exclusive and invite only.
- You can target a particular vertical or horizontal.
- You can focus on a particular niche within the topic.
- You can make it a movement.
- You can moderate it better for a better signal to noise ratio.
- You can focus on a particular type of activity within the community.
At this stage almost every idea seems exciting.
If only it were this easy. Every single approach that makes a community unique also has downsides that are going to upset potential community members too.
- If you’re making your community exclusive, who won’t you allow to join?
- If you’re targeting a particular vertical, horizontal, or niche, will you remove discussions, content, and activities outside of this area (even if members really want to talk about it?)
- If you’re creating a movement, are you prepared to annoy people who are very happy with the status quo?
- If you’re moderating for a better signal to noise ratio, are you prepared to remove a lot of content from members?
- If you’re focusing on a particular type of activity (i.e. members sharing video lessons), are you sure members will do this en-masse?
When faced with the downsides, the temptation is to dumb down the idea to make it as palatable to everyone as possible.
But that results in JAC (just another community).
The reason why everyone isn’t creating unique communities that explode to life is they can’t stomach the trade-offs to make a truly unique community.
Don’t use the downsides as an argument not to pursue an idea, use them to clarify the idea. Get into the weeds and be as bold as you dare.
Also, remember, you can’t create a unique community while pleasing everyone.