There's an unknown yet insanely high number of sims out there on the web. Hidden in amongst that almost infinite number is your sim. So how are people going to find your sim? And how are you going to keep their attention when they do find it?
I think we both agree that advertising is the answer to that first question. But what about the second?
The answer? Be different.
Finding a way to differentiate your sim from all the rest is essential. There are many ways you can do this. You could make your website unique, an ongoing story arc, create a niche or focus for your sim, posting method / type / quality, building and fostering a community.
WEBSITES: Custom built (or template) sites are an excellent way to make your sim instantly appear different. If you use SMS then look at tweaking the CSS (cascading stylesheet) or finding a different skin that helps make it stand out from the other SMS sites out there (generic black background, header banner). Go nuts.
Also look at adding more helpful content to your site. Some ideas include: the TF map, mission descriptions, departmental information, information on visited planets and previous bad guys, menu from the lounge, commonly used weapons and equipment, links to writing resources, a chatroom, etc... Anything that will show the prospecitve applicant that there is more to this sim and that the CO cares enough to help players get to know the sim.
NICHE / FOCUS: Also known as a theme. TF38 has a niche, it's set in the Delta Quadrant. But what about your sim? What differentiates it from the others in TF38?
Here's some examples: search and rescue, SCE, covert ops, science, exploration. Or: action and adventure, drama and romance, grit and intrigue. And then there's plot vs character development. These are good to help get your sim started, to help get up and running and to attract players to your fledgling sim. As time goes on you can start to change this niche, as the sim and characters grow and develop this can diversify.
This niche is extremely helpful with advertising, remember to include this on your site and use it in your ads. It will help promote your sim quickly and easily. People will know what your sim is about and if it's right for them, without wasting theirs or your time. Awesome!
POSTING: Forums and SMS is the most popular way to sim these days. Sim Management System (SMS) is relatively new, having only popped up in the last few years. But is becoming very popular with simmers, especially the newer ones. The downside to SMS is lack of community feel, some COs get around this by setting up OOC forums to help foster and encourage interactions between players. And with forum sims, sometimes the complaint is people just don't remember to check in, easily solved with an email notification system.
Quality of posting is dependent on the CO and if you want to emphasise this in advertising (which I highly recommend) then you need to make sure you can back those statements up. What it all boils down to is 'like attracts like'. If you make quality posts to your sim (and make rules to help encourage others to post quality posts) and accept players who also make quality posts then you will attract more quality players. Simple. Sometimes it's not always good to accept everyone who applies.
So that's it. Go out and be unique!