Date: 10th May 2021
By Sarah Moore
After shifting from in-person conventions to virtual events because of the pandemic, Creative Scrapbooker Magazine is launching an online membership program to further connect with its digital audience.
The quarterly print magazine focuses on scrapbooking, card making, stamping and mixed media projects.
“We’ve had to find a way to connect with our community that is very much about getting together [in person],” says Katharina Doyle, the magazine’s co-founder and publisher.
Before the pandemic, big scrapbooking conventions acted as a way to connect passionate crafters and generate revenue for our magazine and vendors. These shows are also great marketing tools for the crafting industry as a whole. Vendors sold products, people scrapbooked live and took classes, inspiration and creativity galore.
Since 2007, Creative Scrapbooker Magazine has hosted two Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnivals every September, held in Calgary and Edmonton. When people had to stay at home because of COVID-19, the magazine had to pivot. Interest in scrapbooking increased, people still wanted to connect, and now the way of connecting needed to change.
In September 2020, instead of their annual in-person event, Creative Scrapbooker Magazine offered a free two-day virtual carnival, with live demos, classes and prizes, through Facebook. Exhibitors held classes as people watched and crafted from home.
Though the first few hours were “very hectic” with technical difficulties, Doyle says the response was enthusiastic. They had approximately 6,000 members in the private Facebook group for the event, and between 1,500 and 1,800 people watching live at any time. It also increased their international reach, as people tuned in from almost every state in the U.S., and from countries around the world such as Germany, the U.K., Spain and Asia.
“Our virtual carnival kept the community together. It held the group strong so that when we are ready to go back out live, people now know us even better and now, might travel from a distance to attend” says Doyle.
Understanding the appetite for online connection, Doyle and her team are launching an online membership program as well. Starting May 1, 2021, people can pay monthly to be part of the VIP (Village of Inspired People) Club, hosted through Facebook. They’ll have access to classes, demos, fireside chats with industry leaders and other content.
“I don’t know if we would have had the confidence to do this online membership if it hadn’t been for COVID which made it so normal to meet online,” says Doyle.
Before the pandemic, she thinks there would have been hesitancy. But people are now more comfortable navigating those online spaces – and that’s a positive.
“COVID has really boosted the acceptance of virtual education and virtual enjoyment,” says Doyle. “It’s not the same, but it’s good. And we are planning to host live in person events again this fall!”
What was the first magazine you fell in love with?
There wasn’t one. I never thought I would be in the magazine industry. I was in supply management for a high-tech company, but I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I knew that when I had children, I didn’t want to work those 60-70 hour weeks out of the house. When Creative Scrapbooker started, the fact that the medium was a magazine was coincidental.
What is your favourite thing about working in magazines?
Really feeling the impact of decisions that are made by our team. Those decisions determine the happiness of the people that we reach with the magazine in terms of what they’re learning, and being inspired by, plus our decisions determine the future of the people who work for the magazine, and the bread on my table. Plus, I love that internal “wow, we’re doing this and it’s actually making a difference in how people are enjoying their day.”
How would you describe Alberta’s magazine industry, in a couple of words?
Diverse, intelligent, enthusiastic, passionate, committed. I remember when I went to my very first AMPA conference. I sat in the back and, after working in a male-dominated industry, I was so happy to see women, men, young, old, every ethnic group. It was just like I had found my place. And I knew right then that this was the right path because I was so energized by the people who are in the industry. They love what they do, they’re fun and they really care.
Who is someone whose work you especially admire?
Co-founder and editor-in-chief Jackie Ludlage. She makes my job as publisher easier by creating a gorgeous magazine and amazing online content.
Suzanne Trudel, Executive Director of AMPA, who cares passionately about everyone in our association, and is constantly working to support the magazine industry.
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
The VIP Club membership program and the further expansion of our magazine across the U.S.. I’m also looking forward to travelling again and meeting our readers on the floor at events.
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