The biggest competition you face to attract and retain members to your community is television. The average American spends 4.5 hours per day watching television. That's around 30 hours a week. If you can peel just a few of those hours away, your community will be thriving.
The problem is most communities do a terrible job of competing against television. You can't beat television with content. The best content you could ever dream of creating wont match the weaker television channels. Worse still, television is ever-present. Your content can be read, watched or listened to in a matter of minutes. If your members have to decide between your content or watching television, television will usually win.
But, I wonder, how many people would spend an evening watching television if they knew they were being talked about in your community? What if it was their night to lead a discussion on a topic they were passionate about? What if a friend of theirs was working on a guide for newcomers and needed their expertise. What if there was a VIP guest they had a question for?
You compete against television by planning to compete against television. You need a plan. This plan should use the motivational needs of people to be appreciated, to have an impact upon their surroundings and to build relationships with others. You need to put together a series of discussions, activities and opportunities for people to be involved. You need to ask people with passion, skills, knowledge and expertise to contribute that to the community. The more you satisfy these motivational drivers, the better you will do.
Most importantly, you're not in the content and entertainment business.