I’ve been fortunate to have a relationship with the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce for going on two years now. That relationship has enabled me to work with the chamber on its quarterly community news magazine, Out & About. The magazine had been published for many years with a partner company the chamber had relied on.
When that relationship ended, I was invited to consult with the chamber to remake the magazine into a quarterly (it had been bimonthly) and to create content that was more singularly focused on the Chesterfield community.
We reviewed a wide variety of publications around the St. Louis area and within Chesterfield to get a notion of what the sweet spot for Out & About would be. I worked with Executive Director Nora Amato and a small team of chamber members who are involved in publishing and marketing to arrive at these conclusions:
- Chamber’s Mission: The publication would need to reflect the chamber’s mission, which is articulated simply as “Connect, Learn and Grow.” (Read Nora’s column about this in the April 2015 edition.) The chamber exists to help its members do those things. One way the magazine fulfills that mission is through editorial and advertising opportunities to reach residents of the community and through packaging Out & About promotion/advertising with other chamber sponsorship opportunities.
- Distribution influences content: Given the distribution model (postal delivery to the 63005 and 63017 ZIP codes of Chesterfield), the content would also have to have a general interest focus. In other words, it’s not only business oriented content; it’s for the general Chesterfield resident.
- Schedule affects content: The chamber did not have the capacity to publish Out & About more often than quarterly. That meant the content had to be feature-oriented, with a long shelf-life. So, for example, rather than running a comprehensive list of events in the magazine, we publish highlights of the biggest community happenings and provide links to online resources that can offer more. We are careful to make sure chamber events are prominently displayed.
I’ve been pleased to have the chance to work with the chamber now on our sixth issue together, the April-June 2016 edition, which will be hitting mailboxes any day now. You can find online versions of all six editions here.
I’d also like to give a shoutout to St. Louis-area designer Anna Keith, who designed the last two editions of the magazine. She’s been a dream to work with.