Saltar para o conteúdo principal

How The Quietus editors saved their magazine

The alternative music magazine reached its do-or-die membership target in just a couple of days

The Quietus cofounders Luke Turner and John Doran stand in a field of sunflowers, looking ambivalent.

The Quietus (Abre numa nova janela) is a much-loved music and culture magazine that, like many in the publishing industry, is facing tough economic realities.

This spring the magazine ran a “Save The Quietus” campaign to keep the lights on. 

Because of their canny planning – and a little bit of spontaneity – the magazine overshot its goal of 350 new members within the first days of the campaign

To date, The Quietus has signed up almost 600 new members.

So what made The Quietus’ campaign so successful? 

Here are 5 campaign strategies that worked – and 1 that didn’t.

5 strategies for running a successful membership campaign

1. Formulate a compelling new narrative

Editor and cofounder of The Quietus, John Doran, says continually asking for money in the same way is unlikely to give you the boost a do-or-die campaign requires.

“We put the campaign off until I was happy that there was a novel way of explaining our situation to readers."

He says, “instead of just turning around and saying, ‘We really need your help’, I wanted to think of a narrative for people to latch on to. At the end of the day, it was as simple as working out how many individual people would save us.”

Doran wrote a heartfelt plea to the site’s readers (Abre numa nova janela), asking for support with that key number – 350 members needed – at the centre of his message.

2. Set a tangible goal that is visible to your community

Once The Quietus editors had settled on that number, they set a goal on their Steady page to motivate their community to help them reach it.

Screengrab of The Quietus' membership plans, with a 14-day countdown on one plan and "285 of 350 memberships reached" on another.

Having a concrete goal will help your community follow along on your journey. It also helps to give some context.

For Doran, this meant highlighting The Quietus’ reality in his campaign launch essay (Abre numa nova janela): the site’s readership had increased into the millions, but only 900 members were paying to support them. Explaining that they just needed 350 more to keep the lights on then became a compelling – and, importantly, realistic – goal.

💡 Learn how to set a goal on your plans page (Abre numa nova janela)

3. Create urgency with a limited-time offer

The Quietus editors decided to offer a discount on their membership plans for six weeks only, to help drive sign-ups. And it worked: within just a few days they had reached their goal.

Offering a discount is a great way to sign up members who are on the fence, by pointing out the membership benefits alongside the fuzzy feeling they’ll get for supporting your work.

The Quietus did this with a simple, motivating statement: “It has never been cheaper to become part of the Quietus Low Culture community and you get more than ever for your money.”

4. Use your personal social media accounts

The fans who are most likely to sign up for membership are the ones who care about the people behind your project as much as the project itself.

The Quietus editors know this, which is why they used their personal social media accounts to ask for reader support.

“Our socials guy, Sean, is really good,” says Doran. “But at the end of the day, for Luke [Turner, cofounder] and I, this is our child. I think you have to lead from the front on this stuff.”

Doran tweeted about the campaign from his own Twitter account, and his personal appeal paid off. Despite having what he calls a “modest” 15,000 followers, his tweet reached more than 600,000 people, thanks to a large number of supportive retweets.

John Doran's tweet says "My website The Quietus is in trouble but you can help" with a film still from The Seventh Seal, a character playing chess with Death.

He says the biggest spikes in new membership sales came directly after personal requests like his tweet.

5. Make your campaign content fun

It’s easier to bring your community along on your campaign if you make it fun. The Quietus did this with carefully-selected imagery, such as in Doran’s tweet, that gave the campaign a doomsday vibe, but with a camp wink.

“We came up with a huge media document,” he explains. “There were themes or flavours for each day. 10 days into the campaign we were going to have lots of different Homer Simpson GIFs. There was going to be a Watchmen day, a doomsday clock, stuff like that.”

He says taking time to carefully consider what and how you post can make a big difference. “It's really worth thinking about how you phrase stuff, what imagery you use, even tweeting at the right time of day. You should be aware of when it is that you get the most interaction with people.”

The magazine's Instagram post reads, "In the first 24 hours of our subscriber campaign your kindness and help has been overwhelming. We now need just 100 more sign ups to secure the short term survival of this site!" Alongside a film still of a man strapped to a bed, about to be injected with a giant needle.

One strategy that didn’t work: planning too far ahead

The Quietus ended up unable to use a lot of the content they had planned, because they met their signup goal so quickly.

“After 48 hours,” says Doran, “we realised all of this doom and gloom stuff had to go because you can't lie to people. We had to say immediately, ‘This is really amazing. I can't believe it. The wolves are now away from the door’.”

It’s important to keep an eye on your numbers and have your campaign respond appropriately. Otherwise, says Doran, “anyone could turn around and say, ‘Oh, well you said you needed 350 new members, now 700 people have signed up, but you’re still posting pictures of nuclear bombs going off”.

If you do reach your goal early, thank your fans and let them know what any additional memberships will help you to achieve.

The Quietus team saved their magazine by knowing how to tell a good story

In the end, The Quietus team’s storytelling strengths saved them. They knew how to:

  1. Formulate a compelling narrative

  2. Introduce personable characters (themselves!)

  3. Set a goal at the end of the road

  4. Keep iterating to ensure their fans stuck along for the ride

You too can keep your project alive with a membership campaign on Steady.

Simply start by setting a goal or adding a countdown (Abre numa nova janela) to one of your membership plans, then spread the word with your fans.

Have questions about your membership programme? Let us know how we can be helpful. Send our content team a note: (Abre numa nova janela)

Tópico Success Stories