The Strong Common Interest
What you want the community to talk about can be a small part of the overall community concept.
The communities that work are those based around a very strong common interest. A strong common interest is usually something we spent a lot of time or money on, or is representative of our identity, or emotionally provocative in some particular way.
It's very hard to get this right. It often means you have to change what you think the community should be about.
Instead of building a community for people that own your company's washing machine, you might build a community for housework maestros – those that want to spend as little time as possible doing housework.
Instead of building a community for people that want to save a river, you might build a community for people to trade advice about fishing on the river.
Instead of building a community for improving a particular heart operation, you might build a community for the world's top heart surgeons.
The discussions you want to happen will still take place (even more I'd argue), but it's a smaller part of the overall community.
Get the strong common interest right. If it's wrong, nothing else you do matters.
If you want to master the social science approach to building successful communities, sign up for our Professional Community Management course.
Registration is open now. The course begins on April 28th.