The key to reviving a community is reinventing it. Give people a strong reason to return, not more of what it used to be.
The change needs to be undertaken at the core of your community. Some ideas you can use include:
- Change the core. Change the very core of the community. It’s not the same as it used to be. It’s something different, better, more relevant to the daily lives of members. Offer a new condition, redefine the purpose, change the boundary or common interest.
- Contact previous members. Contact previous members and ask for their advice. Offer them senior positions and ask for their help in rounding up some of the older members. You will need them to help the newcomers.
- Where are they now?. Begin with some ‘where are they now?’ content about your previous members. This should attract former members to return and find out how they’re old friends are doing. Put an open call for members to contribute a piece on themselves.
- Focus on the big issues and important members. Don’t ignore your previous community. Spend a few hours and draw up a list of the biggest topics, key members and personality. Then ask members to contribute their thoughts on what’s changed since they were last there.
- Consider using something simpler. Perhaps you should archive the existing site? Start a Facebook group instead and see how many members join? Once it grows launch a new site.
- Choosing to talk again. Before you decide to launch the community, give people a reason to talk again. What’s the big major new thing that matters to your community, focus on this from now on.
- Have a poll. Be simple, have a poll of the top issues, ask members which they care about most and write more about the top answers.
- Write member focused contest. Write a list of the top 5 members. Or “5 members this community can’t live without”, or “5 members our community loves to hate”. Surprisingly effective this. Everyone has an opinion on people.
- Change the personality. Become less polite and more tabloid. Be a little snarky. Or, vice-versa, make it nicer and politer. Kick people out.
Reviving a community is extremely difficult. You need to go beyond what your community used to be and push very hard for several months to make it work.