A Four Step Guide to Running Your Own Fan Club
Are you trying to get your own fan club up and running, but you don’t know where to start? Hopefully this will help! Do you want to be fans’ go-to source for all things whomever? Do you already know everything about the object of your obsession, want to share your obsession with others, and would love to be able to meet other superfans like you? Then it sounds like you’re ready to start your own fan club! We’ve put together an easy, straightforward, four-step guide to getting your awesome fan club off the ground and running, so read on!
Choose Your Fandom
This may seem like an obvious first step, but you need something to be a fan of if you want to create a fan club! The object of your fandom may be a character on TV, in a movie, book, video game, or webcomic, or a celebrity in any one of those mediums. They could be an entire fandom of characters (like Homestuck or the Harry Potter universe), or even a popular ship of two characters or celebrities! Whoever you choose, they should have a following of fans interested in their story and news related to them, or else it might be pretty hard to keep your fan club running.
Create a Presence
Once you’ve decided who your fan club is going to feature, you have to decide how you want to feature them! First, you should select a name for your club. It can be as simple as “The Abhorsen Fan Club” or something a little more insular like “The Nine Bright Shiners.” It’s your fan club, so be as creative as you like! After you’ve come up with a name, you want to start building your presence online. You have a lot of options here, but we think one piece is invaluable for every fan club: a blog or website. This is where most of the action takes place. Your very own batcave. Everything else you do in addition to managing your site is icing on the cake and will help build your club’s membership.
The decision to choose a full website over a blog is your choice, and depends on how motivated and tech savvy you are (though it is incredibly easy to run a website, doing a how-to on that would be outside the scope of this article). With a full website, you would have a lot of tools at your disposal that can make your site more robust, and increase the feeling of community (such as hosting a forum, for instance). If cost, time, or technical skills are a limiting factor to you, then a simple blog will suffice (like on WordPress). Fundamentally, the point is that you need a base of operations: this makes you look more legitimate and professional!
As for the “icing on the cake” that we mentioned, your site won’t go anywhere if you don’t have anything “pointing” to it. This means you need to create a presence in places where fans already gather, and convince them that you’re an authority on the subject so that they will visit your site. Consider creating a Facebook and Instagram fan page, where you crosspost your content. You can also create a subreddit, or even just post in existing subreddits about your fandom to get other fans interested in your club. Once you start building a following, you could create your own mailing list, where you share news and other tidbits with your members.
Post, and Post Often!
Having a presence isn’t enough; you also need to make your fan club relevant by posting interesting content. So for everywhere your fan club has a presence, you need to post, and post often! This keeps the community together and engaged! And if you continue to position your fan club as an authoritative information source on the Grishaverse, for instance, then you could even possibly catch the attention of the sorts of people in charge of disseminating press releases about Leigh Bardugo or any interesting stories related to her popular series, giving your members first access to breaking news!
The sort of content you post also depends on the focus of your club, as well as how much time you want to dedicate to your club. Posting short newsy bits and sharing memes might be all you have time for, or you may have the ability to spend more time crafting longer pieces for your blog and finding (or creating) unique content to share like clips or fan art. It can be very helpful to listen to suggestions from club members in coming up with posting ideas, as they will tell you which sorts of content they like seeing (either passively through their likes and shares of what you’re already posting, and actively through their feedback in comments). Rather than only disseminating information, try running giveaways or contests on your site on in your newsletter as a fun way to engage your members.
Once you have your fan club going strong and you’ve made a bunch of new friends, wouldn’t you love to get together and meet face to face? Holding gatherings can be as simple as either announcing when you’ll be attending an event (like GalaxyCon!), or even providing a means for members to host smaller, local events, or as complicated as creating a unique event just for fan club members. Since it’s your fan club, you can do whatever you want! What’s important here is that you are giving your members more value by creating opportunities to interact in the real world, so your imagination is the limit!
That’s all, folks! We created this quick and simple guide to help superfans just like you create a fan club that can become a super fulfilling way to promote and share your love for whatever fandom it is that speaks to you the most! Questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome, so let us know your thoughts in the comments below! And as we mentioned, GalaxyCon is a great place to have your fan club meetups, and we’d love to know if your club will be attending any of our upcoming cons!