The Read Jeseníky Campaign

In legal terms, it’s known as “pro bono” work—volunteering professional services for the public good. But why stop at law? This practice can be just as impactful in online marketing. The reason is simple: when done right, networking various projects can bring synergistic benefits for everyone involved.

A Passionate Mountaineer and a Bit of a Maverick

Meet Lukas Abt. This die-hard mountain lover feels right at home among the hills, ravines, and nearly forgotten springs of the Jeseníky Mountains. He has penned numerous publications to share his love for this landscape. After mapping out the springs and lost locations of Jeseníky, he came up with the idea of publishing a book called ‘Read Jeseníky‘. This region in the northern Sudetenland offers untold beauty and mysteries that Lukas wants to share with the world. However, publishing a book isn’t free—and neither is selling it.

When Everything Falls into Place

For the first edition, everything worked out seamlessly. A print run of over 7,500 copies sold out quickly. When supply meets demand, success usually follows. Furthermore, the timing was favorable—the year 2021 was relatively stable, and big donors were willing to contribute. One of the major sponsors at that time was, for instance, Janis’s Kofola.

The More, the Merrier (Especially When Good Ideas Come Fast and Furious)

The plan to expand the project and release the next installment in the form of a book titled “Read Rychleby and Králický Sněžník” seemed like the next logical step. Once again, the book aimed high with a noble purpose—to acquaint people with a region that remains one of the last untouched cultural gems in the Czech basin. The book planned to present a unique genius loci, illustrated through carefully curated, graphically appealing archival materials.

The shared objective was similar to what was accomplished in the first project: return a third of the book’s sales revenue to the local landscape by restoring significant local landmarks. Sites like the decaying Deer Wells and Pannewitz Springs were top on the list for rejuvenation.

High Hopes, Changing Realities

Enthusiasm was high, and it seemed like nothing could obstruct the project’s progress. However, the advent of SARS-CoV-2, masks, vaccines, and the global pandemic shifted the direction unexpectedly. This led to a series of challenges we still partially face today—financial cutbacks, scarcity of materials (who knew paper would become a rarity?), and waning donor enthusiasm for what now seemed like less urgent causes. The world has changed.

In a Crisis, Friends Are Revealed

So what about the project that was already underway? We decided to step in and lend a hand. The mountains are a subject near and dear to us, and we were enamored with the entire project’s concept. Another driving force was the shared communication experiences, a task primarily managed by our team’s Honza Verner. For several years now, he has been uplifting various brands, digital platforms, climbing and partnership ventures, and amplifying the remarkable career of Adam Ondra—a four-time world climbing champion, Olympian, record-breaker, and an all-around likable guy. 

Collaboration Kicks Off

Our primary objective was to raise CZK 303,303 via a crowdfunding campaign to fund the publication of the new book. After brief preparations, we launched the initiative on the Donio platform in June 2022. The results were impressive; nearly 80% of the target amount was raised, thanks to the contributions of 279 supporters, just two months later.

Mission Accomplished

The book was successfully published, christened, and the title “Read Rychleby and Králický Sněžník” has been added to our list of successful projects. Champagne corks were popping not only in Frývaldov but also globally, wherever members of our fully remote team happened to be sitting at the time.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

The project was complex and involved multiple people from the Freelance Core team. Initially, a communication strategy needed to be developed. This was spearheaded by our founder and CEO, Honza Verner.

Choosing the Right Channels

Facebook and Instagram were chosen as the primary communication channels. How did we tackle advertising on these platforms? Precisely, by targeting the right people with the right content. We pride ourselves on being experts in the field of social media management. Ondra, one of our specialists in this area, managed this part of the project.

Reach and Impact

During the peak phase of the campaign, from June to September 2022, we reached almost 400,000 users. A separate goal was to direct them to the Donio platform, and we simplified the guiding principle — the book would essentially be self-published by interested parties.

Power to the People

Throughout the campaign, we frequently emphasized that the publication would only happen if there was genuine demand. No big donors or grants, just the strength of a community with a shared interest.

A Seasonal Twist

As an additional supportive message, we let people know that by supporting and buying the book, they could solve the perennial problem of choosing an original Christmas gift for their loved ones. Especially fans of the first volume, “Read Jeseníky,” and local patriots repeatedly appreciated this idea, fueling the project’s growing momentum.

Targeted Outreach

In addition to our social media efforts, we reached out directly to around 700 local entities. We focused mainly on libraries, municipal offices, museums, and other similar institutions. For this, we utilized email marketing and sent out several newsletters with content specifically tailored to suit these types of recipients.

A Boost from PR Activities

We further bolstered our campaign with PR activities. As part of our long-standing relationship with Radio Čas, which is among our client portfolio, we secured an opportunity for Lukáš Abt to feature on the podcast “Under the Surface.

Spotlight on All Voices

This platform gives space not only to well-known celebrities like Voxel, Tereza Pergnerová, or Štěpán Kozub but also to individuals who have meaningful contributions to make, even without a big name. It served as an additional avenue to attract the necessary public attention to our project.

Connecting What Makes Sense

There are numerous ways to support a good cause, and one of the crucial elements for igniting effective synergy is a shared space where our clients can collectively operate. This made our collaboration with Kolimax a natural fit. This manufacturer of high-quality stainless steel cookware is located in Javorník, conveniently situated at the foothills of the Rychleby Mountains.

A Mutually Beneficial Partnership

Our strong working relationship, which encompasses a complete marketing strategy—copywriting, SEO, link building, PPC, video and graphics, as well as the operation of an e-shop on the popular Shoptet platform—has allowed us to offer a barter arrangement with this 150-year-old company and the Čti Jeseníky project.

Dual Objectives

The objective of this barter was twofold: direct promotion of Kolimax and financial support for the publication to the tune of several tens of thousands of crowns. As a result, acknowledgments to Kolimax appear not just on the Čti Jeseníky website but also prominently in the book itself.

Does Pro Bono Work Belong in the Report?

Yes, it does. We make it a point to meticulously track every minute spent working for our clients. Time tracking is crucial for managing individual marketing activities effectively, even when working for a charitable cause without monetary compensation. For this purpose, we use Freelo, a popular Czech online project management tool. What does the Freelo card for the “Read Jeseníky” project reveal? The Freelance Core team collectively contributed almost 244 hours towards the creation of the book, which now holds a place of honor in our company library.

Words from Lukáš Abt

Lukáš Abt himself says, “Without the support of Freelance Core, the book wouldn’t have happened. I highly value the team’s flexibility and versatility. Nothing is impossible, even when funds are limited. I appreciate their problem-solving approach and their ability to find various avenues for solutions. Although I’m not personally keen on navigating the digital world, Honza Verner and his team are like fish in water. They know what’s important and what’s not, helping me focus on the right aspects.”

No regrets

We don’t regret a single minute invested in the project and look forward to the next chapter, which will focus on Osoblažsko.

You can follow the current events, how the new book is being created, and what is needed to make it happen directly on the project’s Facebook page.

Mgr. Lukáš Jan Bednařík

Copywriting & Emailing


LI: Lukáš Bednařík

FB: Lukáš Jan Bednařík

IG: @lukasbednarik