I may be going out on a limb in saying this. A lot of SEO gurus have time and time again told you that content is king. Have you ever heard the phrase "If you write it, they will come!"
Unfortunately, good content is not easy to come by. Others would say it is overrated. There's too much of them, it's very hard to come up with them, and worse, it's too expensive and time consuming to get the latest and groundbreaking news.
Converting content into returns is not very easy. Most of it is written for the purpose of using keywords. Though it may be able to catch the attention of some readers, the turn-out will always be a small percentage of the whole.
I guess you could say it isn't worth it. For some, that is.
Instead of coming up with "great content", it would be better to focus on creating connections. Social media networking or social bookmarking come are great examples of this. Instead of depending on search engines to throw readers your way, why not take a proactive approach? Stir up something, anything.
Create opportunities for members of your community to interact with one another. Introduce them, ask questions, interview them, do things that will somehow lead to more activity. This in itself helps in making unique content. Content can easily be generated especially if there are interactions. Generating content this way will make it very hard for your competitors to copy.
By doing this, you get to create a community that participates, not just read.
Anyone can google a keyphrase and just jump to the next page when they're done reading the article. They're simply guests. Anyone can be guests in your community. But I would rather have a participating community.