Chess Academy focuses on helping players improve at chess and welcomes all levels of chess players. They are the biggest partnered chess server on Discord with over 18K members.
Perrin, the owner of Chess Academy, created the server during a time when people needed more connection than ever: at the beginning of COVID lockdowns in March 2020. “The server's aim was to create a welcoming space where chess enthusiasts can chat about chess and learn from each other. The server rapidly expanded and acted as an alternative to in-person chess clubs at a time when they were shut down.”
Growing Chess Academy has allowed Perrin to learn first-hand how important it is to nurture community while audience numbers are growing.
“It's fine to have a certain amount of YouTube views, but a creator will only form a true fan base when there is a strong community presence. Creators should prioritize forming deep, meaningful connections with their fan base, rather than growing their subscriber count.”
Discord provides a place for people with shared interests to come together and interact with each other, but it shouldn’t stop there! Chess Academy hosts weekly fun tournaments, lectures, streams and other events regularly to encourage connection.
1. Find: As a creator, a niche can serve as a connection thread between fans and members. Finding your niche might be easy, but thriving in it can be its own journey to tackle. Perrin’s advice to create the niche community you deserve is to do research to understand what audiences want from a community:
“When I started building Chess Academy, I asked other chess players what they would like to see from a chess server. It is vital that you understand your niche and what your audience wants.”
2. Focus: It may seem limiting to focus your server on a niche interest, but Perrin has found that the guide posts actually have helped Chess Academy become a more successful server.
“Aiming your community towards a specific niche allows creators to know exactly who their audience is and grow a community of people with similar interests. Every fan base needs a designated spot to engage with other like-minded individuals. Discord acts as a central hub for these people, allowing them to feel directly involved in a community.”
Perrin believes that establishing “a well-moderated, high quality community on Discord allows your fanbase to interact with one another in a way that boosts the morale of your audience. Meaningful connections will be formed, and these are highly valuable to any creator looking to establish a long-term fanbase.”
A big thank you to Chess Academy for sharing this wisdom with us! If you want to support the community, you can join here!