How we created a content programme to engage the charity’s youngest members
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.
We decided to create Kids Rule! – a 16-page, quarterly magazine for young members that is mailed out with the charity’s Members’ Magazine. 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, making the magazine more collectable. Targeting Key Stage 2 pupils (aged 7-11), with a target 9-year-old reader, each issue is focused on a different theme or period of English history. To encourage readers to collect the magazine, we also included collectible elements, such as posters that create a giant illustrated timeline and papercraft models of English Heritage properties from each period that can be created to build a ‘street through time’. The magazine is also accompanied by on-site collectable ‘pop badges’ designed by the magazine’s illustrator.
To complement the magazine and create an ever-growing digital ‘history from home’, resource for family members, we also launched a dedicated kids section of the online Members’ Area to host digitised magazine content, including quizzes, competitions, activities and downloadable dress up kits, along with additional original digital content.
Kids Rule! magazine has been exceptionally well received, with outstanding reader satisfaction scores in our regular reader surveys (average satisfaction score 8/10), and hugely positive feedback on the collectible pop badges at sites. As a brand, Kids Rule! continues to grow, with a series of dedicated Kids Rule! branded events now taking place annually at sites. We have also launched a series of Kids Rule! virtual draw-along events for family members, in which illustrator Wesley Robins teaches viewers how to draw caricatures of famous people from England’s past.
Since launch, the kids section of the English Heritage website has also grown substantially to provide a rich resource of fun, interactive content that continues to engage family members with the stories of English Heritage sites and the people associated with them. In 2021-22 this section of the website attracted 430,000 page views, up from 67,903 in 2019-20.
Find out more about English Heritage membership here.