After reading a few articles online, such as the one on the Cave of Dragonflies saying about types of content, and a few more saying that unique ideas are a great way to get repeat visitors and community spirit, I have started thinking about the various types of interesting content that are outside the normally recommended stuff, but may in fact help your site through word of mouth, signatures and indirect promotion. So, in no particular order, here are the five types of content that's interesting to your visitors, outside of the typical news reporting and isn't found on Wikipedia:
Now, until recently, I never really even knew what these things are, but they are actually an extremely simple way of getting a lot of information about a very particular subject as well as showing your interest in a topic. They are simply a list of fans on a site which also contains the usual rules, joining information and FAQS about whatever the subject area is. This way, by making these, you can get quite a bit of interesting content without actually needing to stick 100% to the original subject matter but on a slight tangent from it. So you'd make a fanlisting about say... a particular character in a TV show/film/video game, and as well as the listings, you'd actually then add an FAQ or set of information pages about the topic. This way, you can become a one stop source for a very, very narrow topic, and if you use the name of the topic in the address, often end up in page 1 of Google for said thing.
2. Quizzes and Games
You know, answer the questions about this topic, or reach the end of a maze based on this topic, or the like. I've found them quite useful in building community spirit (I just today held a contest where the winner of the maze thing got a private board as a prize, and it ended up with about 40 people taking part out of the 100 I generally have visit a day), and best of all, they can actually advertise for you. Just make the code they win have a link to your site which goes with a neat banner or button image people can put in signatures, on websites or on blogs, and the idea is that people will get curious about the quiz or whatever, click it, maybe take part then even visit your site or forum as an indirect result.
Plus, as said, a nice little vanity thing for your members to put in their signatures instead of... you know, links to your competitors forums?
3. Unique topic articles
What can I say... top ten lists, top five lists, comparisons between objects, rants about things that annoy you and pretty much every type of non news report article content you can think of. Content like this can be quite fun depending on the site, I've seen Gaming themed sites give advice to gaming webmasters, webmaster sites compare forum software or such like and a certain site even had interviews with fictional characters (and real person interviews are good as well)! Basically, think unique, less news reports and more actual opinions. Of course, you can pretty much guess that much of this is perfect blog content for a day to day basis, right?
4. Services and Fun Services to others
I've seen plenty of these. Hell, nearly every type of site has some of these things. Think the tools for checking page rank and such like if you're a webmaster (like some by Digitalpoint and such like) to those comedy URLs (yougotowned and such like) where you can create a dynamic address with some information about something or a joke. YTMND pretty much made a living out of this idea, and when you consider that a certain Object Generator thing got banned on various sites for overuse, and the effect of LOL cats, cool services are often a great tool for word of mouth visitors. The image ones are good as well, such as the countdowns, random images and gaming licenses/cards found in signatures, since you basically get a link to your site, even indirectly in the signatures of thousands of people and may even get some nice page rank benefits to boot, depending on how said service worked.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure a lot of this stuff gets Dugg fairly often, so you may want to prepare for a decent bit of popularity, just in case (don't want your server falling down dead do you?)
5. Your ideas?
These ideas are all well and good, but there are far more that you can come up with by yourself that'll attract visitors to your site or forum. Look at sites like the The Admin Zone and such like, there are potentially hundreds of possible unique ideas which you can use for drawing in members, and even more types of interesting content. Do something original before anyone else, and you'll seriously benefit from it, trust me.
Any comments and opinions on this article? What types of content found outside the box do you use for your site or forum, and how has it helped you?
Another article from vBulletin.org and Admin Addict.