Audience Development

How a Magazine’s Bracket Engaged the Paper-Crafting Community

When it comes to enticing a niche audience, we like to think we have all the great ideas. I mean, we’ve got the word niche in our name!

But then we found this phenomenal bracket from the team at Creative Scrapbooker. Looking at a niche within their niche, the magazine wanted a way to grow their community of card markers.

This fun, creative, competitive bracket was an instant win! And while the stats from month one were fantastic, the bracket keeps getting bigger and better, growing exponentially in votes and participants each month. While your publication may not be scrapbookers, we’re sure this case study will inspire you to ‘scrap’ some of your other plans and immediately ‘book’ a bracket on your calendar.

The Highlights

  • 1,300+ participants in first month
  • 13,000+ votes in first month
  • 2,200+ opt-ins in first month
  • Turned into an annual campaign
  • Created community of card-making enthusiasts

The Idea

Established in 2005, Creative Scrapbooker has curated a large audience of paper crafting enthusiasts. The team at the magazine wanted a fun, creative way to engage with their audience of avid scrapbookers, grow email database, increase social media presence, and drive traffic to their website.

They decided to look at the “niche within the niche” of their paper-crafting audience: card makers. Their paper crafters are always eager to share their designs and appreciate the recognition of their finished card by other enthusiasts. A people’s choice bracket to find the best card design was the perfect fit to tap into their audience’s passions.

How’d They Do It?

Interactive content like brackets had always been something their team had wanted to explore, but they weren’t sure how receptive their audience would be to them. They decided to use their Card of the Month – People’s Choice bracket as a chance to test it out. And since not everyone is creating cards year round, running the contest monthly would allow a maximum number of crafters to participate.

Creative Scrapbooker's Bracket

To grow their database their simple voter registration form collected email addresses and included an email opt-in for their newsletter. They also added a question about paper-crafting interests and if the voter had read Creative Scrapbooker Magazine. The answers to these questions allow them to better market a subscription to these voters in the future.

The marketing of the bracket is critical to its success and high engagement. The magazine relied heavily on both invite emails and reminder emails within their bracket tool. In addition, they include the bracket in all their newsletters and make frequent posts within their private Facebook Group for card makers.

The Big Success

The response to the Card of the Month bracket has been fantastic! In their first month, more than 1,300 people participated, over 13,000 votes were cast, and they collected more than 2,200 opt-ins.

The bracket proves that their readers are definitely receptive to contests like this. Now they’re using the Card of the Month bracket as inspiration for new contests and activities for their readers. The success of the bracket has left the team hopeful to line up sponsors for this contest and others to create a brand new revenue stream!



More about Megan: Megan Black is the Content Maven for Niche Media. She also directs the content efforts of the Second Street Lab. When she’s not passionately defending the Oxford comma, Megan passes the time with the latest Netflix marathon.


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