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Craft work

Immediate Media’s craft titles have enjoyed spectacular success over the last year. How did they do it?

By James Evelegh

Craft work
Photograph: Rebecca Grant on Unsplash.

Subscriptions to Immediate Media’s crafting titles – Simply Crochet, Mollie Makes, Papercraft Inspirations et al – rose by 45% over the last twelve months, driven in part by new millennial crafters looking for ways to relieve lockdown stress.

In our latest podcast, Marie Davies, MD of Immediate’s specialist division, discussed their publishing strategy. Their success is underpinned by:

  1. Subscriptions. Recurring revenues are the main revenue stream and the bedrock of the business.
  2. Developing supplementary revenue streams, such as affiliates. The challenge with ‘affiliates’, which is work in progress, is to, firstly, create a seamless user experience and, secondly, to get editorial teams to write commercial content without compromising their integrity.
  3. Catering for multi-crafters. Many people who are into crafts are into more than one, so in 2019, they merged the websites of all their craft titles into a new one-stop-shop site – gathered.how – to cross-promote the portfolio.
  4. Innovation. They are always looking to innovate but are careful not to disrespect their readers, who as with many specialist titles, feel a real sense of ownership towards the titles. The magazine is their friend, their title, so you need to be in tune with their needs, so as not to alienate them through poorly thought through changes.
  5. Developing community and ever-deepening engagement. This comes in part through correspondence, in-person events (when they return) and social media, typically Instagram and / or Facebook. Incidentally, all social media activity is done with a clear set of objectives and is monitored through KPIs. In other words, they do it properly…
  6. Delivering value in everything they do. Their new weekly newsletter strategy, for instance, aims to drive a commercial return through serving up something meaningful each week, in the form of inspiration and tips. Their expanding ‘how-to’ video offering is part of this.
  7. Being smart with data. They use data extensively but try to avoid collecting it for its own sake. Instead, they like to start with a clear idea of what data they need and how they can use it to deliver value.
  8. Transitioning into a platform agnostic business. Print magazines is still the principal revenue driver but they are looking at ways to digitise more of their content and to make it commercially viable online.

The immediate task for Immediate is hanging onto all those valuable new subscribers, but Marie Davies, who spent eight years in subs marketing earlier in her career, is up for the challenge.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.