Lockdown insights: Three inspirational ways publishers are giving kids a voice

There’s nothing like future-proofing your audience by starting them young! What plans do you have to involve younger members of your community in what you do?  At Contribly, we believe in giving kids a voice too. So here are three insights into how publishers give kids a voice by creating valuable opportunities to tell their stories … with some takeaways for you to think about.

How The Irish Times give kids a voice - Isolation Art

James Moonan, aged 15 via The Irish Times. ‘This is called Wild Imagination. It is a picture of me inside my house looking out and thinking of all the things I’d like to see outside my window. Like pink flying flamingos, snowy mountains, giant colourful flowers and my favourite animal, a lemur.’

This Irish Times call-out asked children to submit a painting or drawing based on their experience of how life has changed in recent weeks. As a result, 870 pieces were submitted (70 entries a day) and were judged by children’s illustrator and environmentalist Don Conroy. 


This beautiful and moving article gives a poignant insight to life in lockdown through the eyes of children in Ireland. In short, Ireland has definitely got talent.

Take away:

‘Isolation Art’ nails the motivation element essential for any successful call-out. Entrants know there’s a celebrity judge, and when and where the winning entries will be published.  

Likewise, Our research at Contribly shows that in order to increase uploads audiences want to know why they are contributing, and what will happen to their content.

Elizabeth McElroy, aged 13 via The Irish Times ‘This picture captures how it feels to be trapped indoors and slowly squeezed of normal routines. I chose a snake because snakes represent temptation, and it’s hard to resist doing things you normally enjoy at this time.’
Isabelle McCabe-Bushe, aged 7 via The Irish Times. ‘My self-portrait is about how I feel sad and worried. The splats of paint are my worries.’

How Irish Farmers Journal give kids a voice - Colour the Countryside

Irish Farmers Journal’s strategy is to encourage their print readership to be more involved with their digital products, many behind a paywall. What better way to action this than to involve the whole family? The IFJ magazine printed a picture to colour-in and asked children to upload their work via the Contribly tools. This was a huge hit with their younger audience. Over 350 children have taken on the challenge to date.

Take away:

By inviting children to contribute, Irish Farmers Journal is driving their audience from print towards digital, stimulating new habits from within their community. Most importantly, they are putting their brand at the heart of the interaction – not social media.  Those parents and grandparents that are helping children upload their pictures, are exploring other call-outs too. ‘Farming During Lockdown’ has received over 900 fantastic stories so far from all ages – young’uns to over waaaay over 80

How Farmers Weekly give kids a voice - Writing competition

Farmers Weekly’s kids writing competition is a little different. Children are invited to share their favourite day on the farm. Cash prizes, sponsor goody bags, and the incentive of having their story published online, has got young people sharpening their pencils and monopolising the laptops. A fantastic example of a brand giving kids a voice.

Take away:

Sometimes, it’s about giving people a helping hand. With this competition, above all, Farmers Weekly is providing a valuable service to their busy key worker readers with an interesting project to get the kids occupied. Certainly, these publishers give kids a voice and as a result, get some fantastic stories out of it too.

What could you be doing?

The benefit of Contribly is that you can respond immediately to things that are happening right now and tap into the mood of your community. This week,  lockdown, next week who knows?


Contact us to find out how you can give your community a voice

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