We Need Your Input to Change with the Times
By Karen Pickering
When was the last time you went to a Sears store to shop? After 125 years in business, Sears is closing their doors because they were not able to change with the times.
Over the past few years the way our horse community consumes information and products is changing. There has been a decline in the number of feed and tack stores that carry the Northwest Horse Source—the largest outlet for distribution of our magazine. While distribution is still robust, we are watching the trend toward online searches and purchasing. For many, the desire to get information immediately and to save time and money directs their searches and purchases.
Along with the trend toward online searches and purchasing, more people are spending time on social media. It’s possible to readily stay in touch and consume information in small, easily digested bites. This method of communication offers a ready solution to our increasingly busy lives.
In order for a business to be effective on social media platforms such as Facebook, it’s important to consistently engage with followers by posting photos, sharing stories and information in small, but highly relational bits. Social media is a great tool for today’s consumers, but it takes a considerable amount of time and skill to engage those consumers effectively. While many social media platforms started out free, exposure is limited unless the advertiser is willing to invest to increase the audience.
Here are two things that thoughtful consumers can do in this period of change:
1. Make a commitment of buy local. Loyalty has often been set aside in the quest for the best deal without thought for the outcome locally. How important is that local presence in the community?
2. Consider your own commitment to local community organizations that are supporting our children. A donation of goods or your time may make the difference in communities experiencing the disappearance of local merchants.
At the NW Horse Source, we are committed to be the resource you need for meaningful content, Northwest news and information as we celebrate our wealth of talented trainers, veterinarians, and businesses that support our Northwest community.
We believe we are standing at the intersection of online and print platforms as we consider how we will dispense and consume information in the future. While we see the need to change with the times, we are committed to listening to our readers and advertisers as we seek the path forward in a way that builds on the values and heart of the horse community.
Here are some of the ideas we are considering:
1) Help our current readers utilize our website and move toward offering only a digital edition of the magazine.
2) Conduct a subscription drive to support those wishing to receive print copies of the magazine.
3) Offer Social Media Management Services to our clients.
4) Make over 22 years of content created by our NW trainers, veterinarians and local contributors more readily available as digital articles on our website.
5) Continue to be the best outlet for information and advertising for the NW horse community.
You can be part of meaningful change. We value your ideas and suggestions and want to make it as easy as possible for you to respond. Please take time today to choose one of the following options:
1. Go online (survey link) and complete the short survey (on the next page) or email survey answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tear it out of the magazine and return by mail to: The Northwest Horse Source, PO Box 717, Blaine, WA 98231.
2. Email your thoughts about the five considerations outlined above along with any additional suggestions to email@example.com, or if you prefer, call us at 360-332-5579.
Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!
Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.