So you want to run a knit-along for your new design, and you want it to be a success. First, as with all things, do a little research, and firm up your theme and goal, before you dig into the how.
Take a look at some of your favorite designers who are running a KAL, what are they doing that you like? Dissect what is making it work. Take a look at this google search I did, and eat up that info! There are a lot of good sense ideas out there. And some things may work better for you than others.
For starters, take into account your goal, and where you want to conduct your KAL. Do you want more email subscribers, and is that how you will be sending out your KAL info? Are you trying to start conversations, and be more active in the knitting community? Just tying to get some interest and attention in a design you’re excited about? Will you host it on Instagram, Ravelry, Facebook? Where is your audience most active, and most comfortable? A most important point, that cannot be overlooked, is that wherever you host it, you must be present there. You need to be available to check in on all discussion and all comments relating to your KAL, so you can answer any questions people may have, and keep everyone engaged. Don’t drop the ball!
In my research, this article in particular, by Leanne Pressly of Stitchcraft Marketing (they offer lots of services to help makers with their businesses, including knit-alongs), I found very well organized, concise, and helpful. It talks about running any kind of make-along, and her advice is spot on. I highly recommend you read it, and consider all she says. (Go here to read it! :)) I will reference her points here.
When choosing the project for the KAL, pick something fun, but not so challenging that it will put people off. Pick something that can be done in a reasonable amount of time, too. Leanne suggests somewhere between four to eight weeks, so as not to lose anyone’s attention.
Plan ahead when thinking about promoting your start date. Your audience needs to know about this well in advance, so they can plan and be prepared. You also want to give yourself enough time to drum up interest before it starts. Also be sure to scream it from the rooftops on any platform you have at your disposal! This is not a time to be shy about posting! Here are Leanne’s tips on how to promote, from her article:
“Begin promoting your MAL ten days to two weeks ahead of your start date. People need time to commit and get ready. Your participants will have to procure their materials and clear the decks of other projects.
Your announcement should include images of the finished project as well as a list of required materials. Include links to purchase supplies (or a kit) on your website, if applicable.
Don’t be shy. Send the announcement of your MAL to your email list, feature it in a blog post, and post it on all your social media accounts. If you’re recommending a specific yarn, ask the yarn manufacturer to help spread the word. If the project is from an outside designer, enlist their help as well.
If you are hosting a physical gathering in your store, have a sample of the project available for people to try on.
How will people indicate interest in your MAL? This is where you begin to create a two-way conversation and generate momentum. Be explicit in telling people how to join. Do you want them to comment “Count me in” on your Facebook or blog post? If you want to gather email addresses, put a link in your announcement.”
After it’s begun, have fun with it – keep that spirit alive for your participants! I just want to say this again – Be sure to comment on their posts, (and keep encouraging them to post). Be kind and helpful, and a cheerleader! Your audience is here because they like you and your work, and keeping them engaged throughout your KAL, and making it a great experience, will only keep them interested in you.
Good luck, and happy knitting-along! If you are going to host a KAL, let me know so I can cheer along!