The biggest question people have when they start an online community is:
“What should my community be about?”
This is an important question because it determines the direction you go for the rest of the time you run your community.
I recommend that you use the PLACE Method to choose your community’s Core (or primary) Topic. The PLACE Method is a simple brainstorming tool that helps you gather a bunch of ideas, and then narrow them down to the one that will work best for you.
PLACE stands for Problem, Love, Ask, Create, Energy.
Check out the list below to see examples of how Core Topics fit under each of the PLACE categories, but remember these are just starter ideas. Use your imagination and see what comes up for you.
Communities that Solve Problems
Some of the best communities revolve around problems people want to solve. Think about topics like:
- Getting more traffic on Instagram
- How SEO works
- Pinterest marketing
- Planning your content
- Managing calendars for mompreneurs
- How to start and manage a podcast
- Freelancing support and tips
- DIY home renovations
- Roommate searches in (insert city here)
- Test prep groups for college students
Communities Where Your Passion Becomes Your Profession
These communities are for professionals, freelancers, or biz owners who love what they do so much, they almost can’t believe they get paid for it.
- Interior design
- Travel planning
- Learning/teaching languages
- Creative crafts (card making, scrapbooking, etc…)
- Fashion and styling
- Performative arts (music, dance, etc…)
No Idea? Ask Your Audience!
A simple way to find out what kind of community to start is to ask your audience. If you have an email list, ask them what kind of communities they’d benefit from. These topics have a wide range of variety starting with:
- Best restaurants in (insert city here)
- Plants and gardening
- Literally anything
Communities Built Around What You’ve Already Created
Do you already have content, products, or services for a certain topic? If so, build your community around that! Here are some examples from my own expertise:
- Copywriting tips
- Buyer psychology
- Time management
- Tips for writing articles
- Productivity tips
- Community building
- Goal setting
- Banishing imposter syndrome
Communities Around Things that Give You Energy
These types of communities have fun written all over them. This is where you go to escape. Think of these communities as your hobbies and what you spend your free time on, such as:
- Puzzles and puzzle swapping
- Party planning
- Book clubs
- TV shows
- Movie reviews and discussions
- Your favorite genre of music
- Celebrity gossip
- Virtual reality
- Your favorite podcasts
Tip: Notice how each Core Topic is specific enough to grab the interest of people who care about the topic, but broad enough that your community can explore the topic together for years to come.
If you want to get more clarity about how you can start building your community, check out last week’s article here.