Borrow and Tweak Ideas from Other Online Communities

Rather than take someone else’s ideas outright for your online community, try to riff on the same idea, but not so much that it’s obvious you’re not the brain behind the brainstorm. Ideas are there for the taking, but wouldn’t you much rather be seen as someone who’s innovative, not someone who scours the web for ideas to steal?

Consider an idea from an online community to see how many different slants you can take on the same contest. A few years ago, the manager wanted to change the look of his community’s home page, so he had a photo contest. The winner of the contest received a cash prize, and the photo (with credit) appeared as part of the logo on the home page for all to see.

For many people, the prize was the money, but for the photographer, who was looking to make a name for herself and build her portfolio, the prize was her photograph displayed on the number one community in its niche. This contest was very well received and brought the community members together because they voted for the image.

Now brainstorm some ways to do the same contest differently:

  • Instead of having a photo contest, have a logo contest, an essay contest, a web-design contest, or even a contest that has nothing to do with changing the look of your community at all, such as a limerick or haiku contest.

  • Instead of a cash prize, the winner can receive a case of your product, a desirable item such as an iPad or laptop, or gift cards.

  • Instead of having the community members vote on the winner, you can appoint a panel of judges.

Now no one can accuse you of doing the same thing. You took inspiration from an idea but ran with it, making it more appropriate for your community and your budget.

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