What does your audience already do?

June 11, 2013Comments Off on What does your audience already do?

This is a common line of thought. 

Wouldn’t it be better if our audience members did {x}? They would benefit, we would benefit, the entire field would be much better.   

Let’s create a community where members can do {x}. It will be terrific.  

This logic doesn’t work well for building a community.  

Don’t use communities to change existing habits or create new ones. Use communities to build upon existing habits. 

The reason why members aren’t taking your desired actions now is probably not because they lack a community platform. It’s more likely a mixture of selfishness and laziness. There are difficult things to overcome. 

Analyze the habits of your audience before you launch the community. Identify specifically what they do in that topic. Go to a few meetups, take note of what they talk about. Do they share advice or shoot the breeze? Do they ask for specific tips or broad ideas? Do they give job/career advice and opportunities?  

Now create places within your community for these things to take place. For example, if members frequently talk about equipment in various forums and meetups, create the definitive member-reviewed equipment in your community. Invite members to share their very best equipment tips.  

Imagine you run a community for teachers. You notice they often talk about child discipline. You can create a place in your community for member-created guides, scenario discussions, quick tips, and interviews with experts.  

You can only do this if you already understand what your audience does. If you lack that knowledge, if you don’t really understand your audience, you miss a great opportunity to build the community.  

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