You probably have not noticed (because typically no news at all results in very little attention) but we have been silent on GTH for about a month now. Although this silence created a small void of internet traffic and exposure, it was very purposefully planned in order to build content, connect with local partners, and really hash out what it is we want to accomplish with this simple platform.
Over the past few weeks my husband and I (a.k.a. “the Team”) have been hosting a lot of “business” discussions and doing a lot of “planning,” which means we have been drinking a lot of coffee while doing a lot of thinking and paper-scratching. After clearing the air of all of the potential avenues that GTH could take, we mapped out what we think is the most practical, albeit challenging and exciting, niche for our little publication to call its own. We have been mulling the practicalities of what we are able to feasibly accomplish in the the realm of journalism, art exposure, and positive contribution (as we are both full-time workers, devoted academics, as well as family-time enthusiasts).
What has become obvious to us is that our plans for GTH have to be built on two concepts:
Obvious, huh? Well, what we have noticed is that many online publications of our stature focus on one or the other of these concepts. Rarely, both.
Many online sources will push out content in order to establish a daily expectancy and build readership through consistency alone. The content they push is not always substantial. There is little fact-checking and original thought involved. Other publications (and I would suggest we have been in this category from the beginning) seek to provide quality content but lack consistency in providing that content to the public. This results in a lull of growing readership, which is not ideal for either the publication or those they wish to promote.
Because GTH’s whole purpose is to provide exposure for emerging artists to the general public, consistency is key to our game. Yet, we want to respect those we promote by offering quality content that is not written on a whim, but is constructed with care and concern for the reputation of those we support. So, the question becomes how can we provide consistent exposure and quality content that is not affected by our increasingly busy and sometimes unpredictable schedules beyond GTH?
Part of that answer is to make GTH a platform of interaction. How? By providing a public editorial calendar, opening our publication to the free advertisement of local events and features, and by working to create a reputable internship program that turns GTH into a publication from which we can all learn a little bit more about our line of work.
The GTH Editorial Calendar
The foundation to accomplishing our goals is maintaining a promising editorial calendar and providing that calendar to the public. In the next few days our editorial calendar will become published for public view on our website. What this does is enables you to get involved. If you notice an open slot you will be able to submit a proposal for a feature.
If you are new to blogging or online publishing I recommend that you check out the following articles for ideas on how to get started with your own editorial calendar:
“How to Manage an Effective Editorial Calendar” on Scripted.com –This post has some good information on the “how” and “why” of managing an editorial calendar. It is a great resource for newbies.
“The 15 Most Life-Changing Editorial Calendar Tools” on Writtent.com — Helen Nesterenko has done her research on the best editorial calendars available. This is great resource for someone looking to shop and compare available tools.
“Guidelines for Effective Editorial Calendars” on MeetContent.com — This article provides some good advice and reminders for why an editorial calendar is important and how to get the most out of strategic planning.
EC: Bird’s Eye View
We are very excited to kick off our new initiative tomorrow by publishing an interview with Anora McGaha, the successful founding editor of the online publication Women Writers, Women Books. We have learned a lot from observing and speaking with this talented individual, and we are excited to introduce her to our readers. For the remainder of this month we will also be promoting poet Jeremiah Walton and his traveling bookstore/publishing project.
Then, starting in July, each month GTH will feature one particular artist. The monthly feature will include an interview (similar to what we have promoted before) published at the beginning of the month with continuous social media exposure scheduled throughout the month of the feature. Follow-up articles may be published regarding how the public reacts to and interprets the featured artist’s work.
Each guest writer will be given a feature space one day a month to publish. We have been so pleased to connect with Rhiannon (from Ivory Owl Reviews) who has become our first consistent and established guest writer. On the 15th of each month Rhiannon will feature a review of a newly published book. We have learned a lot about consistency and dedication from this excellent blogger, and hope to increase our GTH family with more guest writers such as Rhiannon.
Throughout the month we will provide “quick features” regarding upcoming events and opportunities for artists to get involved in their community. We will also open monthly publishing slots to the discretion of our interns and their interests as they correlate to the GTH purpose and content.
Along with “quick feature” promotions, we have also opened the side bar of our website for the free advertisement of events as they relate to the arts locally and internationally. Everything from art shows, school enrollment opportunities, to Etsy store openings may be advertised here. This is just another way we offer exposure for the emerging artist.
We have tossed ideas for funding back-and-forth over the past year, but every time we unanimously agree that we do not want paid advertising to figure into our non-profit business plan for GTH. Things we are considering are university sponsorships for our internship program, donations, and possibly print subscriptions.
Eventually, we would like the core of our purpose at GTH to include our foundational internship program that provides students and recent graduates with an opportunity to apply their entry-level skills to light journalism. We know how difficult it can be to land a job without a substantial portfolio, and so my husband and I are diligently working to complete an outlined learning program that will filter our interns through five facets of online publishing and management. This is more than a learning opportunity for the students. It will be an opportunity for entry-level journalists, SEO specialists, photographers, and writers to connect with and promote their peers. This program will stress collaboration, which is key to a successful arts community.
We are most excited about the potential of this program, which will keep us on our toes regarding new technology and techniques coming out of academic programs while giving us an opportunity to teach, learn, and evolve alongside the next generation of public voices.
Why make all of this planning public? Because we rely on you, dear Reader, for our success and we believe that your increased involvement will keep us accountable to our mission. As I look back on the past two years with GTH I have seen a lot of gaps in what we have done and how we have published, but over the past month of reflection I have determined that yes, although we have been quiet, we are about to get loud and it is a very exciting premonition.
Reagan K. Reynolds