Caption: Varvara (CC BY 2.0)

Caption: Varvara (CC BY 2.0)

If you want a community initiative to be successful, don’t rely only on announcements, prominent calls to action and mailing lists. Pound the pavement, contact 10-20 influential members in the community and ask them to get behind it by participating.

The 14th annual Awards started last week. Over the last 13 years, 128 different members have been nominated for an award. It is completely powered by the community and is a fun time of the year.

Yes, we announce it. Yes, we have a link in our header. Yes, we mention it on our Facebook page. Yes, the staff gets behind it and adds a link to their signatures. Yes, we add some pointers in popular sections.

But as much as anything else that we do, what generates the most qualified nominations is that I identify a selection of active members and ask them to participate. The voice that needs to be most represented in these awards is that of our active members. They love the community, and they are well-informed.

When I say that I ask them to participate, I don’t mean that I have a separate “influencers email list.” I mean that I contact them individually. I don’t think of these messages in terms of conversation rate, but let’s just say it’s pretty good.

Building in different ways to get the word out to the community is great, but don’t forget to reach out to people on an individual basis, if you really want to jump start an effort.