Stay at Home Specials: 7 ways to keep your community company during the lockdown

By Team Steady

Independent publishers are needed more than ever in these times: as role models, as reliable sources of information, and as suppliers of comfort and entertainment. At the same time, the Corona crisis is an exceptional situation for independent publishers, who also need support and encouragement. All the more reason for publishers and their communities to stick together.

Now is a good time for independent publishers to reach out to your communities and start something special. Below are some tips for making your community’s time at home more enjoyable, while breathing some fresh life into your Steady project.

Of course, no one should feel under pressure to deliver even more than usual during this uncertain and rather stressful time. For those publishers who don’t have the energy right now, you might prefer to read our article about managing work-life balance as an independent publisher. We’re on your side!

1. Get in touch with your community

You’re probably already in contact with your community in some way or other. But now is the time to start a deeper conversation, to get to know your fans better and strengthen the warm community feeling. The people who support your work will be glad to hear from you in this difficult situation, so why not send them a friendly greeting?

Your community consists of people who appreciate your work and are always interested in your news. So it’s definitely worthwhile getting in touch with them, simply to update them on how things are going with you and your project. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask your community for support: you can either ask them to sign up as members, or ask them to encourage others to join your community.

2. Create your own “Stay at Home” format: Make your community visible

You might also ask your community how they are doing: Ask them about their experiences. Many people sign up for memberships because they’re attracted to that sense of belonging to something bigger — they’ll be glad to hear how other community members are doing. Invite members to talk about their current situation on your podcast or blog, collect some quotes, or maybe interview someone in your community who has a great story. Perhaps you have a doctor, a supermarket worker, a single parent with five children, or someone else in a very special situation among your members? Think of this as your very own “Stay at Home” format.

3. Offer a “Stay at Home” plan with special content

You could adapt your membership offer to the current situation by putting together a “Stay at Home” plan that offers exclusive content for a limited time only.

In terms of special content for members on this plan, you can

  • offer a new audio format
  • unlock a very specific article that fits the current situation
  • invite your members to exclusive live streams or
  • send them a postcard with your best greetings

To limit the duration of a plan, go to your Steady project and create a new plan. You can choose when you want the plan to stop being available by ticking the expiration date. After this date, nobody can buy the plan anymore. But all the people who purchased it will remain members of this plan.

4. Give away your community memberships

Encourage your community to become members by allowing them to give a guest membership to a friend. This way they can support you, benefit from being a membership of your publication, and make a friend happy at the same time.

Create a new plan with one or more guest accounts (of course you can limit the duration of this plan (see tip 3). In the plan settings you can define the number of guest accounts. People from your community can then buy this plan for themselves and use the “Invite Guests” tool to add friends to their plan — more on how to do this. Guest members will receive an invitation email from Steady.

The guest membership will remain valid until the member who bought the plan revokes the guest account or cancels the plan.

5. Offer memberships at a lower price

Why not use the current situation to make it easier for your community to become members? This way, people who might not normally be able to afford a membership can also be included. You might also do this if you think your community could do with a little extra motivation. You can create a new plan and either set a low price, or provide valuable benefits from your more expensive plans at a lower price.

6. Develop a common goal

Appeals to stay at home do not necessarily need to be delivered with a sad tone. You could create a “Stay at Home” plan to thank your community for staying at home and inspire them to work towards a common goal! It could go something like this: “By the end of May, I’d like 50 new members to support my project with the ‘Stay at Home’ plan”. If the goal is achieved, there will be a reward, such as an extra podcast episode, a new article or a special video on your YouTube channel. You could also consider donating the membership fees collected by this plan over the first month or two to a good cause.

In order to do this, you’ll need to create a new plan and set the plan goal to a specific number of members in your settings.

7. Say “thank you” with an exclusive plan for special fans

You can also use the current situation as an opportunity to thank people from your community. You could make an exclusive offer to those fans who are especially loyal to you — your newsletter subscribers, Instagram fans or Twitter followers, for example. Why don’t you make them a very special plan, so that they can take out a membership for a special low price or with some sweet added benefits?

You can easily do this by creating a new plan and setting it to invisible. The plan will not be shown in the Steady Checkout or on your Steady page. Only those who have the link to the plan can purchase it. So you can copy the plan URL and send it to whoever you choose.

Shout it from the rooftops

No matter which strategy you’d like to implement, don’t forget to make sure your community is aware of your new offer! Write a newsletter, get it out on social media, talk about it in your podcast, use all the possibilities you can think of.

Remember to stay positive and inspire your community to either sign up as members or help activate the potential members around them. And don’t be afraid to ask your existing members to help promote your campaign — they will be happy to help you!

This article is originally posted in Steady.

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