Families represent an important audience for English Heritage, whose portfolio of 400 historic places include dramatic castles, magical gardens and atmospheric battlefields. Add in an action-packed schedule of family-friendly events, and the fact that Members’ children go free, and family membership is a compelling and valuable proposition.
Our challenge was to engage younger Members, finding new ways to make the story of England come alive for them and their families. That meant engaging directly with children, exciting them about history, and making connections between English Heritage places and our country’s past.
Our first task was the development of a new magazine, Kids Rule!, specially for child Members, mailed out quarterly with the Members’ magazine for adults. The creative challenge was to deliver a fun read for kids which also offers educational value, appealing to parents who make the ultimate decision about family membership.
The result is a series of illustrated magazines that chart the history of England chronologically, over a three year period, making the magazine more collectable. Targeting Key Stage 2 pupils (aged 7-11), each issue is focused on a different period of English history, and includes a poster which builds into a giant illustrated timeline. The magazine is accompanied by on-site collectable ‘pop badges’.
Working with English Heritage experts, we also created a new kids section of the online Members’ Area, including quizzes, competitions and downloadable dress up kits. And we brought kids directly into the content creation process, by launching a new series of ‘What was life like?’ videos. In each episode, young Members interview costumed re-enactors – including ‘real-life caveman’ Will Lord – at English Heritage sites.
Kids Rule! has been exceptionally well received, with outstanding reader satisfaction scores in reader surveys, and hugely positive feedback on the ‘pop badges’.
The ‘What was life like?’ YouTube playlist has delivered dramatic traffic, with over a million views and 32,000 likes across 12 episodes. The most popular video, in which two young English Heritage Members meet Audley End’s Victorian cook Mrs Crocombe, has attracted 358,822 views to date.
Find out more about English Heritage membership here.