In early 2018, we began working with a client who was keen to build their community by leveraging their VIP relationships.
A major VIP, they felt, would build “buzz” around the community and be the spark the community needed to ‘kick to life’. We were sceptical. We analyzed the discussions in the community and determined members had countless product questions. So instead we roped in the top members and created a detailed product guide filled with the best advice from the best members.
We launched it just before the big VIP event (and it received almost no promotion).
The VIP event was a success by most measures. It generated a huge amount of traffic. But compare the data for the community just 1.6 years later. Which content do you feel is best for the community?
The VIP event certainly hits the spike far in excess of the product resource, but its popularity dies just as fast. The product resource, however, still reliably brings in (and presumably helps members) 1.6 years later.
(In early 2019 we worked with members to initiate a 2019 update).
Perhaps a clearer understanding comes in looking at the cumulative traffic.
However, there’s no reason to stop at a single resource. You can create 10…or 50 (one every few months) and reliability increase traffic to the community while delivering more value to members.
You rarely want a spike, you want to create activity/content/discussions which reliably increase a clear metric in the community.
Given the choice between creating something that might be immediately popular or something which has long-term utility, go with utility. You might not see the benefits immediately, but the value will steadily build up over time.