We Haz Tabard
I am probably one of a few people who can remember having to save up to purchase a tabard pattern for their guild. Unless you ran a leveling guild in the days of Vanilla, the idea of not having a spare 10 gold among your members may seem preposterous, but it did happen. We were noobs in our 20s and 30s. The idea of spending 90 gold on our level 40 mount had us hoarding every copper we earned. Getting donations to spend 10 gold on some fancy piece of cloth? Forget it.
The thing is, that was five years ago. It was right around that time that having a tabard ceased to be a differentiator.
I have never been presented with the choice of two equal guilds and broken a tie based upon what their tabard looked like.
SO WHY DO PEOPLE STILL ADVERTISE THEIR GUILDS AS HAVING A "COOL" TABARD?
Yet I digress.
I've started to think about effective ways to recruit, as recruiting season will soon be upon us. If you're an established guild, you may not have to actively recruit. Just putting the message out to your members that you are in need of a few people may encourage applicants who know you have a history.
But what if you're just starting out? Do you advertise in trade chat? On forums? Do you use the worldofraids recruitment tool? Will you use the simplified "looking for guild" interface that will be part of Cataclysm?
How do you make yourself stand out? If you're part of the middle 80% of guilds who are basically identical with different raid nights, how do you entice someone to look deeper than your guild name? Once you start looking at guilds in more depth, the differences start to distinguish them. This one has policies more in line with what you like, that one does profit sharing from the guild bank, and the other has a goal of clearing all the hard modes before Cataclysm. But until you can get someone over to your website, or at least to read your forum recruitment post, you're just another name and maybe a subject line.
Not so long ago I was trying to get Cold Comfort the guild up and running. I tried the witty approach to recruitment. I did advertise in the LookingForGuild channel, and not as often but sometimes in Trade. I thought my tagline would pique interest and let me spark up more in depth conversations with prospective players.
Cold Comfort: All Guilds Suck, We Suck Less.
It was brilliant. And it failed utterly. In retrospect, it was obvious that it would. The people who hang around in Trade regularly aren't known for their analysis and subtlety. Anyone who could read between the lines and see the joke might have been interested, but most people just thought I was insulting their guild and saying that mine was better.
So I toned it down a bit. "Cold Comfort: Raiding Doesn't Have To Suck".
1[W From Someguy]: raiding doesn't suck you noob. I bet you've never raided 2in your life.
Or something like that. He probably used less vowels. And a few phonemes that I wasn't aware were in the english language.
Ok, so maybe using "suck" wasn't the best idea. So I dropped that and went for a basic message - we're a new raiding guild, we use EP/GP and we're recruiting for a 3 night raid schedule.
And I got nothing. Without something to distinguish me, I just faded into the noise that is city-wide chat. The same thing happened on my realm forums, though someone was nice enough to explain that I was probably shooting over people's heads with my joke.
I've haven't tried to recruit since, but more due to real life commitments that wouldn't let me be the leader I want to be than for fear that I'd get no responses.
So tell me: if you've done the trade channel / forum grind to start up a new guild, what advice would you give? Did you abandon all pretense of interviewing people, firing invites to anyone who whispered you? And for those of you with established guilds, did you ever find that your reputation was not enough to fill empty spots when you found your roster lacking?
Until Next Time