ORGANIZATION: Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce

DATE: 2011 – 2016

MY ROLE: Writer, Editor, Designer

SITUATION

With limited local media and no online news source, the Chamber Board of Directors saw an opportunity to position the organization as the trusted source for community news and information. One of the main ways to accomplish this was through the Chamber’s existing e-newsletter, which was very small at the time, but had potential for growth.

TASK

My goal was to produce a weekly e-newsletter that promoted community pride and shared community information. I needed to improve content and increase subscribers.

ACTION

  • Redesigned the e-newsletter and branded it to reinforce the community’s “Get Into Grinnell” brand
  • Added substance to the content by including a short, blog-post style message followed by events, announcements and job listings
  • Managed the editorial calendar and wrote or ghost wrote blog-post style messages each week
  • Created a style guide and instruction manual for the e-newsletter, making it simple to teach the weekly editing process to new interns and employees
  • Monetized the e-newsletter by selling advertising opportunities and securing an annual sponsor

RESULT

  • Reaches approximately 80 percent of Grinnell residents and achieves exceptionally high open rates upwards of 45 percent
  • Recognized with the 2016 “Publication of the Year” award by Mid-America Chamber Executives, a six-state association
  • Large factor in Chamber being recognized with the 2014 “Outstanding Social Media Execution” award at the Iowa Tourism Conference
  • Generates non-dues revenue for the Chamber
  • Most utilized membership benefit among Chamber members, it’s value alone has resulted in recruiting several new members
  • The Chamber now owns a very effective communication channel that drives traffic back to its website

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