The Central Outpost
Keeping Your Members' Interest
by Oddball
July 23, 2006 (Last updated on January 17, 2008)

At the start, a leader begins his clan with huge dreams. Most of the time, the dreams start out surrounding the idea of leading a group of men to victory. But in this process, leaders sometimes lose sight of how clans run, whether they choose to run it that way or not. What I mean is that all members join for a purpose. It could be for fun, for discipline, or for the enjoyment of the game. But a lot of times, people realize, if the clan they are in is not working for them, they can just choose another. Well, leaders don't want this to happen. Most leaders do whatever they can to prevent the loss of members. So what can you do? In this article, I will show you some tips on how to keep your members' interest and keep your clan alive.

Caring: One of the first things you should understand as a leader is that a personal relationship can draw a person closer than a strict, demeaning one. Build a close relationship with as many members as you can. Don't just put their name on your roster and never talk to them. This will lead them to feel left out and unimportant. You always want to let your members know that they have a choice in the clan. They need to understand that the survival of the clan is on their shoulders also.

Site: So many leaders think that a website is the key to a strong clan. This is partly true. The common misconception is that the design is what really matters. Well, that isn't so. The reason a nice designed site can come in handy is when some one wants to join. It is a good feature to have if you want to attract a wide public audience. But what about content? Content is ten times more important than the design of your site. What you need is content that gives both information and appeal to people. No one cares to sit and read over last years scores in some ladder that no one has ever heard about. People think that adding a lot of pages with stats is going to make them look better. This isn't so. It is good to have records of your scores, but what really draws people to your site is your opinions and your voice. Content is key. Look around at the gaming community you play in. Write articles about stuff that is going on around you. Let people know who the real you is; don't just give them the opportunity to judge you by your cool name. Provide your site with updated news, active links, updated rosters, and in-depth information on each and every member. Give in-depth examples on the game you play. Specify your goals and wants. Make a goal in your mind and then let people know what that goal is.

Forums: Forums are a major part of a clan. It isn't every day you get to talk to your whole clan, is it? Yes it is. Forums are one of the most widely used tools in clans and communities. A forum can reach out to someone who may be at school or at work and still give them a chance to connect with the clan. Let your forum be a place where everyone can have a voice. Host multiple boards that stretch across a wide range of topics. Don't limit what your members can say. Also, try to keep the forums active. Post daily if you can. Get non-members interested in your forum. Don't just limit it to the clan. Have a public voice be able to surface in your community. Pick a quality board. No one likes hassles on forums.

Being equal: Some people may like the idea of being "better" than someone in a clan (i.e. having a higher rank). This is a good thing to be able to show in a clan, but does it really work? If you make it, yes it will. Ranks can be divided into two groups, if you will. The first group consists of giving a person a rank to make them feel special. The second consists of issuing ranks to keep order. I bet most people have no idea why they use ranks. A lot of people figure, “Well... we need some way of separating classes, right?” Wrong. Ranks should be used as a way of equalizing the workload. Each person should have a specific job. A rank doesn't just come with having experience in the clan. It should come with showing experience in the clan. This can be a difficult task to do, handing out jobs. But what is better than giving someone a job to do where they will see the difference they are making? Not much smile

Getting your name out there: Many clans think that they will become well known by having a site. Well that is wrong. How are people going to know you’re out there? Here is another tip to keep your members active: have your members join other forums and get your name out there. Have your members introduce people to your site, forum, and ways of playing. Have your members make artwork that you can submit to sites, have them make sigs that they can hand out to friends that have their clan name on. Give your members a chance to work for their own enjoyment.

Don't use your members. Never use them. They are people, people who only wish to have fun. Remember that. Your members came to your clan expecting not only the best you can offer. But the best they can offer too.