A few years ago, we did a survey that asked community professionals what existing communities they participated in.
The results were illuminating. About 90% of community professionals didn't participate in any community about the topic.
Only around 20% could even name an existing community in the space.
This has strategic implications.
The temptation is to look at your competitors and clearly define a unique value proposition that targets a narrow slice of the audience. That makes sense if you have established competitors. That establishment factor is important.
When less than 20% can even name an existing community, you're not competing with established competitors. You're creating the ecosystem.
You don't need to create a narrowly defined value proposition or point of differentiation from competitors, you need to make sure everyone in your space is aware of your community first.
That's an entirely different set of principles that relies more upon partnerships, content sharing, and hitting existing media outlets.
Ask your members what existing communities they've heard of.
Ask your members which existing communities they participate in.
Don't list the options, let them name the options.
Now see what % of your target members mention your competitors. I predict you'll be shocked to discover that the vast majority of your audience doesn't participate in any.
p.s. My colleague Caty Kobe will be hosting a strategy masterclass session and talk at SPRINT Europe. If you're in the continent, we hope you will join us.