People join a community for a reason.
That reason is a benefit. It’s something members consciously want. It’s aligned with their goals and motivations.
The common mistake is to only identify the interest. e.g. ‘If members are interested in roasting their own coffee, let’s make the community about coffee roasting. We will tell members to join if they want to learn about coffee roasting.’
This leads to content-driven strategies. These don’t work well for communities. This appeals to the broadest possible audience. It get lots of people to sign up. However, it puts people in a passive (lurker) mindset. You don’t have to participate to get the benefit, so why participate? At the moment, most communities are designed for lurkers.
The challenge is to articulate a benefit that both a) aligns with these motivations and b) places the recipient in a participating mindset. This means you will be targeting less people, but you get the ones that participate.
People know from joining that they will participate to get the benefit.
The best way to identify the benefit is to interview your members. Where do they want to be in the future? What are their biggest fears/concerns? What are their hopes/dreams? Where do they need others to get there?
Build the community concept around that spot.
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