An interview with Sharon Burton, publisher, Adair County Community Voice/Farmland Publications
During the 2017 KPA convention and trade show, we were looking for someone to print our Discover magazine. Fox printed that for us last year and that was our first experience with them. We chose them because they had excellent quality sample magazines and their rates were reasonable. They have several publications (wedding, health, etc) where they provide the content for as many pages as you want. We haven’t used that resource but may in the future.
We were very pleased with the Discover and decided to consider how we could expand our products. We have also published two “Service Directories” with them since.
For years we published our graduation section in newsprint and a few years ago started printing the section in full color. We weren’t happy with the print quality; it’s really difficult for any printer to maintain quality color on that many consecutive pages. (Not trying to criticize; it’s a miracle ink sticks to newsprint anyway, right!) So this year we decided to take a risk and go with a magazine format. We wanted something that graduates and parents would want to keep forever! Needless to says advertising sales goals were increased, but the community supported the concept.
We designed it all, all 48 pages! I told my staff I wanted a magazine designed for the young reader, and they jumped on the vision. We also asked a group of seniors to serve as an advisory team and they provided a lot of ideas, insight and helped gather content. They were amazing.
Normally, our graduation section would be published in the edition prior to graduation. Because this is such a valuable keepsake, we decided it should include photos from graduation as well. That was a big risk, because students were no longer in school when the magazine came out. We mailed to every reader and printed extras that we made available at the office.
As for production, we had everything ready except for a few pages for graduation photos and got those pages ready as quickly as possible. It takes a 10-day window to get printed and delivered so it was two weeks after graduation before the magazine was mailed. It did take more time, but partly because we really added to the editorial content. We wanted unique content that graduates wouldn’t find in the yearbook or anywhere else, and our student committee really helped with that. Obviously production time increased by several hours, but our revenue doubled!
We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback, and some parents for incoming seniors have already asked us to do this next year when their children graduate. We think it will be even bigger next year!