Tanya Jones-Thibodeau, Publisher
As we leave 2017 behind us, like many, I find myself reflecting back on our 'digital only' and looking forward to what 2018 might bring to us.
2017 marks our 13th year as your local media source and 5 years as a ‘digital only’ publication.
There’s been many changes and challenges over the last 13 years for the Gateway Gazette. But as I look back over this time I’m proud of what I see.
After 8 years as a print publication, we were faced, like many, with economic challenges that put us in the position of making a difficult decision. At a time when small publications were shutting down and large publications were implementing massive layoffs, we took the plunge and embraced digital only full on.
Being several years ahead of the digital evolution in our region, our transition to digital only was bumpy. Yet we’ve seen the Gateway Gazette grow from a limited, print edition of 6,500 copies bi-weekly and no solid means of tracking actual readership, to a daily digital only publication with a proven reach to over 6,000 local area readers every month (often reaching to more than 10,000 readers). Hundreds of which subscribe to our daily or weekly email digests.
As an entrepreneurial free spirit, I often find myself involved in multiple projects and some of you may have already seen some of the projects I’m involved with, and will continue to see me pursuing those projects throughout 2018.
These include the writing of my Young Adult/Fantasy novels; creation of training programs for tech-challenged business owners and consumers; and the restructuring of the Ideal Protein weight loss program at Black Diamond Pharmasave.
But always at the forefront of my endeavours is the Gateway Gazette.
Throughout 2017 we tested many different strategies, tools, features and processes. Some we’ve kept, some we’ve discarded.
One area that we haven’t been as vocal in sharing as we perhaps should have been, is that we highly encourage content submissions.
The Gateway Gazette accepts and encourages content submissions from businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Whether you’re a business owner, staff member, club organizer, or a local resident - we openly accept articles, photographs, and videos for inclusion within the Gateway Gazette as a means to enable your voice to be heard, gain exposure, raise awareness, and possibly develop a portfolio.
For 2018 our goal is to encourage more of these submissions and to place more emphasis on local level information that is relevant to anyone in and around the entire M.D. of Foothills region.
We’ve also been diligent about maintaining a prominent presence on social media - which we intend to continue and improve.
And last but not least, we intend to increase our emphasis on advertising. This is an area that we’ve been very passive with while we spent time revamping the digital only Gateway Gazette and growing the readership. We believe in putting our readers and content first.
The recent feedback we’ve been getting from our readership confirms that we’ve been on the right path.
I like the local updates, actually wish there was more real news.
I enjoy the Gateway.
I enjoy the local updates, and news about what is happening in this area. Thank you for sharing the Gateway Gazette with me.
Love the Gazette, keep up the good work.
I like reading about local news.
Love the Gazette news.
I like the Gateway Gazette because it keeps me apprised of local and Alberta stories and issues.
I enjoy getting the daily news; please don’t quit.
With that in mind, our primary advertising emphasis for 2018 will be on our business directory - our goal is to see as many local businesses within the entire Foothills region represented in this directory.
We give it a great deal of exposure on social media, in addition to our website and email digests, and readers are finding it to be a valuable resource.
To assist with our goals for the business directory we keep the price affordable as well as offer subsidies.
Every business needs consistent exposure and with the rapid growth of the digital landscape, it’s more important than ever that businesses ensure that their business has a presence online - even if they themselves aren’t active online users.
In fact, several of our business directory advertisers are people who aren’t online themselves in any area. The beauty is that we can take care of a digital presence on your behalf or you can use our self-serve tools and take care of it yourself.
Our hope is that as this directory grows and gains more prominence that more and more locals, long-timers and new-comers, will make it their ‘go to’ in order to find out about the many wonderful businesses in our region.
[The self-serve business directory] worked well and was easy to use. I like being able to update the listing
Being busy owners of Pharmasave Black Diamond, my wife, Deirdre and I appreciate the seamless coordination of time lines and event posting that the Gateway Gazette provides. The personalized attention that Pam and Tanya give us make it easier to have an active presence online and allows us to do what we do best, that is to run a business.
While we too are a business, our dedication with the Gateway Gazette has always been to connect locals, businesses, and communities for the mutual benefit of all.
We intend to take this to heightened levels in 2018 and we thank all of ours readers and advertisers who make this endeavour so incredibly worthwhile.
The Gateway Gazette may hold a special place in my heart as my baby born in 2004, but ultimately it belongs to all of us, as it takes the efforts of an entire community to bring a community together.
Happy New Year and may 2018 be a year filled with love, happiness, and much fun!
I get your weekly edition. I subscribed as I have family living in Okotoks, and because I grew up in Black Diamond in the 50’s & 60’s. I enjoy any and all stories relating to BD & TV and was back for the ‘Homecoming’ this past summer. Still have connections in all 3 communities.
I think it is wonderful that we have a local initiative to bring us relevant reporting on a variety of fronts. I have often copied and pasted articles of interest which I forward then to my adult children and to friends who I know would benefit from that content.
There is little that I can offer in the way of suggestion for improvement. You are already providing an excellent service that has a wide scope in its content that covers household tips, local crime news, local politics and general interest stories here and beyond.
Thank you for this and I look forward to your informative reporting in the New Year!