This is my 27th issue. This means that I’ve got a full year’s rotation of 26 issues behind me as the Managing Editor of Lavender. Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to be able to say that? Just how I’ve yearned to have at least one year behind me so that not everything is brand-stinking-new? Oh, it’s a good feeling.
I’m not one who wants time to pass too quickly, but knowing that a full year of issues had to happen before I would fully know my ear from my elbow with regard to the editorial calendar, I was antsy. And, now that it has passed, I can reflect on a year of great successes and challenges. Many of the successes are fairly easy to identify:
1.) The 26 issues exist in their entirety, and nobody perished during the production of them. Sure, there were late nights and a steep learning curve, but producing a magazine is something that is learnable.
2.) Between 26 issues lies a revamped and reinvigorated website that has more content for you, accessible all the time and to a greater extent than anything we can do in print. It’s growing, it will become even more robust, and I can’t wait to see what will happen this next year at www.LavenderMagazine.com. The stats show us that more of you are coming to the website and you’re staying longer, which means that we’re doing something right.
3.) The iPad and iPhone apps are booming. People are seeing that they can get the latest issue of Lavender delivered right to their devices and that we actually add more content to it, including clickable web links and embedded videos. And, that same Online Magazine with its links and videos is viewable at any computer and on any smartphone. You can get Lavender wherever you can get internet connection.
4.) Our online interactions are growing. Facebook and Twitter followers increased by 44% this last year. Excellent. We’re getting messages to you in a more timely and relevant manner, trying to match the message with the medium. That means more content in different ways to more people.
5.) We see more of you. You’re appearing at events and commenting on Facebook posts. You’re sharing our links, retweeting our tweets, and showing up in our online photo galleries. You’re sending in critiques and you’re passing along props. This means we’re becoming the interactive community that we’ve wanted—and needed—to be. You’re hopefully feeling our credibility increase as we’ve embraced transparency and discussion. We’re nothing without our community and your feedback is crucial.
6.) The ads tell a story, too. When you look at our publication, know that it is possible because of the advertising. The growth in diversity of advertisers both online and in print this year means that more businesses are seeing worth in this audience, whether it be as a financial power or as market influencers or any other reason. And, more people are seeing our publication as a vehicle for reaching this audience. Look to them as resources that believe in you and this community.
The challenges are fairly easy to identify, too, but I’ve had a revolving list of those going since Day 1. The most basic challenge is to provide an attractive and relevant lifestyle publication for the GLBT community (and its allies) of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, the region, and the whole World Wide Web. No big thing.
So, looking at the next 26 issues, I challenge us all to continue to grow as an interactive community. Seek out conversations. Defeat harmful political campaigns. Remember that there is a whole online world of content at your fingertips that doesn’t rely on a press and that allows you more of a voice.
And, when you get down and out, look at the kitty on this cover and sit in a moment of “Awww.” It’ll do you good.