The Guardian has generated more than 25,000 registrations since launching its ‘Six Songs of Me’ campaign, which is designed to entice new people to the site and involve readers in conversation.
The campaign, which was devised by glue Isobar, invites readers to share the music that has shaped their lives, by answering questions such as ‘what was the first song you ever bought’, ‘what is your perfect love song’ and ‘what song would you like at your funeral’?
In the first week alone, the site was viewed by more than 60,000 unique visitors, and four weeks later continues to rack up an average dwell time of 4.41 minutes.
The campaign is a continuation of the publisher’s multiplatform Three Pigs activity released earlier this year, which aimed to illustrate the publisher’s open journalism, digital credentials and brand promise of giving the whole picture.
Richard Furness, The Guardian director of brand engagement, said, “It’s absolutely vital that we’ve got a large and very engaged audience. The challenge from a marketing perspective is how do we encourage all our readers to spend more time with us and get them to participate in our journalism. It’s then about finding out more about those readers and getting them to register.”
The project looks at the autobiographical nature of music and was inspired by professor Eric Clark of Oxford University who does research into the psychology of music. He kicked off the campaign with an article taking about the profound effect music can have on our lives and his song selections.
The Guardian now has detailed demographic data on the 25,000 people that have taken part, including participants’ names and email addresses, as well as their gender, the songs they chose and where in the world they live.
The data will be used to shape ongoing editorial coverage of music, looking at geographical trends and other findings, as well as encouraging community discussions and blog posts.
Furness said, “Marketing permissions were asked for and received from all of those people, so we will talk to them about the project as it progresses. The key has been to have a dialogue with these people. Ongoing, it’s also great for us to be able to talk to these people about our music coverage and what we’re doing. The challenge is getting people to spend more time with us and we can do that by having a one-on-one relationship.”
He is mindful that the data collected should only be used to talk to consumers about things that are relevant to them though, so while the data could be used to market subscriptions he doesn’t want it to result in turning people away.
He said, “We will have to have a proper look at who these people are and how many we’ve had a relationship with in the past. I’m always wary of commercialising people straight away. They could be very light users, or this might be the first time they have interacted with The Guardian so trying to sell those people a subscription straight away would be pretty futile. It will be quite a complex piece of CRM looking at who they are and how to communicate with them.”
A number of celebrities have also taken part in the project such as Sugar Ray Leonard, David Frost, Rio Ferdinand and Jack White.
Embarking on a project such as this has been a learning curve for the The Guardian but the response and feedback it has received has confirmed to Furness that it is taking the right path.
“Even four years ago the whole marketing effort was about selling newspapers,” he said. “It has been a huge transition towards making the whole organisation, and certainly the marketing teams, think about projects like this and think about the digital-first aspect of what we do and the concept of open journalism.
“We’ve learnt a lot by doing this and it has convinced me that the strategy is right and that our effort is well spent by convincing people to come on to the site and share with us.”
Six Songs of Me’ will likely run until the end of September, but The Guardian will be rolling out two or three similar activations over the next year to reinforce its three core pillars.