Culturapedia relaunches with improved paywalls

With the support of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, Blackburn based cultural project management company, Culturapedia, has revamped and relaunched is the national online resource for professionals working in community and participatory arts. mailout started as a bi-monthly magazine in February 1987 and went fully digital in January 2011.

Culturapedia, an independent project management company based in Blackburn, is contracted to deliver by The Mailout Trust.

Putting mailout online was a great success and significantly increased the number of users and people who know about mailout. Small news items, events and opportunities were made free on the website and a digital magazine, with longer articles, opinion and industry resources, was published every two months to subscribers. The subscription process proved to be a weakness.

Culturapedia were using a third party hosting and subscription service for paid content which was clumsy and users didn’t like it. The system couldn’t handle corporate subscriptions and in particular those from University libraries. A surprising amount of companies and organisations who wanted access also required a process that would accommodate order numbers, invoices and cheque payments. Our third party system would only accept credit and debit cards and was taking twenty five percent of all income received.

Paid online content is a challenging nut to crack but is targeted at a specific industry, now more than ever, in need of information and support. Working with Blackburn based Source Creative and Regenerate Pennine Lancashire the team devised a new system that would bring subscriptions in house and significantly improve the offer to users. has abandoned the idea of a ‘magazine’ in favour of longer, more considered, articles being published online on a regular basis (a minimum of six per month) and are available to ‘professional subscribers. Some of the news items and events listings are still free but others, including job opportunities and funding news are only available to ‘everyday’ subscribers.

The new site is working well and users seem to like it. It is still early days but Culturapedia are pleased with the results today. They feel that, with the help of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and the hard work of the team at Source Creative, they had designed an information commerce system that works for a professional clientele. They are busy marketing and promoting the revamped site. Social media, especially Twitter, continues to drive most of the traffic and the team have been working hard at building genuine followers. Sector and industry memories are short. People come and go and it is easy for knowledge to go with them. The new site and active marketing activity has ensured that will continue to be one of the countries busiest and most read arts based website in the UK.