When it comes to marketing, the two most common mistakes are doing it too late, and doing it too soon.

Timing Is Everything

You definitely don’t want to limit yourself to the “build it and they will come” strategy and passively wait for people to discover your site. And you don’t want to wait too long lest your brand new community becomes old news.

But you also don’t want to start telling the world before your community shows a minimum of engagement already. In other words, don’t call in the food critics while your restaurant is still half empty.

So somewhere in between is the big launch sweet spot, and it’s up to you to find it.

Complementary Communities

So where should you go to to promote your site? A good method is reaching out to another community to help seed yours.

Now while you could just try and poach a competing community’s members, I believe instead that the best approach is to target a complementary community.

So if you’re launching a forum about gardening, don’t try to approach another gardening forum. Instead, reach out to gardening chatrooms, blogs, or mailing lists. Try to create two-way relationships between you and these other channels. They talk about you, and you in turn will promote their content to your members.

At first I had to spend time every day getting posts up on Crater, because no one knew about it. Slowly, through interactions on Twitter and a few postings on the official Meteor-Talk Google Group, a small user base started forming. I started cross posting discussions from Crater to r/Meteor on Reddit as another way to draw in new readers.

Josh Owens, Crater.io

If the other community allows it, cross-posting can also be a good way to increase awareness. You can sometimes even use tools like IFTTT to automate the process.

And don’t forget to take advantage of social media as well. Even if you don’t always point people back to your site, link-sharing is a great way to build up your audience and brand, and people will gravitate back towards your community eventually.

The other way we’ve grown is through Twitter. We make an effort to manually Buffer every article, mentioning either the blog author or the company, and the person who shared it.

Ryan Gum, Closing Call


  • Find three complementary channels on which to promote your community.
  • Plug your community into some kind of auto-tweeting service (such as Buffer).