One helpful way to think about content generation for your forum is to borrow an analogy from the sales world. “Seeds, nets, and spears” is a phrase used to describe three types of leads that a company might use to generate sales. Putting this phrase into the context of forum software, we define each term as follows:
Seeds. Content added to your forum by the site owner or users. A seed compels other users to participate either by submitting a reply or creating their own thread. Seeds grow into threads and bring in future users via search engines.
Nets. A request or invitation to a large group of users to contribute to your forum. An example would be inviting subscribers to your newsletter to participate in the forum or putting a large advertisement for your forum on your main site to draw traffic to the forum.
Spears. A discussion led by a well respected authority in the community. One key to a successful forum is buy in from the site owner and other well known people in the community. The right person can act as a lightning rod that stimulates conversation.
The next time you’re thinking about ways to generate more activity in your forum, think about content generation strategies in terms of Seeds, Nets, and Spears. Note that these tactics are complementary. We recommend utilizing all three approaches in tandem.