I believe the column Evean is referring to is this one, where I talked about starting up a new guild. Many of the same ideas apply to any guild looking to expand.
The problem is, these days Kara guilds are a dime a dozen. Most of them have plans to eventually expand to 25-man raids, but many don't. Promises and intentions are just that. You're not going to hook many people in by saying, "Someday we'll try Gruul."
You need to offer something beyond the chance at Kara loot to make an impression. Most players are interested in more than loot. They want an environment where they feel comfortable. Figure out what your guild is really about. Is it about progression in a light-hearted atmosphere? Is it about strict attendance policies and DKP? Is it about kicking butt in the arena? Is it about being a neanderthal? Is it about pie?
Once you find out, you need to market that message: "If you're looking for awesome, tasty pie recipes, look no further than Malleum Majorem. Check out our Web site for more info!"
But posting ads in the Guild Recruitment channel isn't enough. You need to be active on your server's forum and on your server. When big companies want to get people interested in their products or services, they sometimes host events to build awareness of their brand. Here is a great example. A guild on EU Doomhammer hosted an event that anyone on the server could participate in. It's a lot of hard work to organize something like this. We've done similar events just within my guild, so I can't even imagine how tough it would be to do something like this for an entire server. However, it's a huge awareness builder for your guild. After all, you or I never would never have heard of that guild if they hadn't ran that event.
An event is one way to be active on your server, but it's just as effective to do the little things. If you see someone asking for help with a quest in General, spend 10 minutes to help him out. He might forget about your help as soon as you leave the party, but then again, you might make an impression. Maybe he'll say to his friends, "That druid from Malleum Majorem was such a great guy. I bet that guild rocks!" Word of mouth is more powerful than advertising, in my opinion, because people trust the words of their friends over those of the guy they don't know posting about his guild.
If you belong to a large- or medium-size guild, it's easy to fall into a fishbowl mentality. You log in and never look outside your guild for opportunities. Break that habit -- just because someone is guildless or in a guild you've never heard of doesn't mean they're a worthless player with nothing to offer.
Choke and sputter if you must at this suggestion, but -- trust me -- this works: Run PuGs. It's heresy, I know. But seriously, it's a very effective way to build awareness and meet new people. You're spending about an hour with that person at least. You're going to have to work together to clear the instance. It's a wonderful opportunity to show off how skilled and friendly your guild's players are, and it gives you a chance to get to know some people outside the fishbowl. Of course, in any PuG, everything could go horribly wrong. But even in the worst PuG, there's usually one or two people who know what they're doing, trying with futile determination to get people to stop breaking crowd control or pulling aggro. Those are the people you want in your guild (not the guy who /afk's through the gauntlet in Shattered Halls).
My officers have had great success with this method. Many of our members, including some who are now officers, came to us after PuGs. With the new daily quests and lowered Heroic key requirements, people are going to be running 5-man content quite a bit. It's a great opportunity for many guilds looking to staff up.
Now, don't misunderstand me: I never advocate headhunting. By that I mean actively trying to recruit members of another guild into your own. But running PuGs gets your name out there. If it goes well, it plants a seed. And someday if that player becomes unhappy with his or her guild, or the guild falls apart, they're going to be looking for a new place to call home. If you come across someone who is unguilded, there's obviously nothing unethical about asking them why that is and if they'd be interested in joining one.
Here are a few more awareness-building ideas:
- Offer to run officers in other guilds through Kara or other raids to help them learn the encounters.
- Take Halaa and keep it for an entire weekend (may not be remarkable if your server is horribly unbalanced toward your faction).
- Hold contests on your server's forum. Give away hard-to-find enchants, gem cuts, or craftable gear as prizes.
- Start up a twink squad to find good players as they level up.
- Place bounties on members of the opposite faction for cash rewards.
I'm sure the readers will have many more suggestions. What has worked for you? What hasn't? In any case, for all you officers out there trying to find some fresh reinforcements, I wish you luck!
/saluteSend Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!