Take All the Scary Stuff Away
One member in a client research interview said “I just want someone to take all the scary stuff away”.
This is the reality which drives most people to your community.
They’re new to the topic and overwhelmed, scared, and frustrated.
They’re not going to ask questions because they don’t know how to formulate the question.
They’re not going to respond to questions because they don’t feel they have the expertise.
They’re not going to spend hours browsing content because there’s just too much there.
Too many communities do a terrible job of emphasizing with this mindset and making things less scary.
A few things here.
1) Provide a list of resources members should read when they join (keep it relatively short). Even better, have a 101 guide created by your veteran members.
2) Highlight the top member’s people should follow – or have mentors who newcomers can ask any questions.
3) Make it clear it’s ok to ask a “stupid” question, but it’s stupid not to ask the question – even provide a place for them to do it.
4) Cover some unwritten rules of the sector members can see (yes, write the unwritten rules).
5) Create a thread where members can share the biggest mistakes they made and what they learned from them (trust me, this thread is addictive).
Don’t just make the community less scary, make the entire topic less scary.