The State of NatureCoasting: 2018 Wrap-up and 2019 Goals
Wow! What a great year 2018 has been for NatureCoaster.com.
Thanks to each and every reader, advertiser and partner, we have become an award-winning publication – voted the best local/events blog for the State of Florida – connecting readers to the best of Florida’s Nature Coast. Read about it here.
At the end of 2017, we invested in a rebranding through a local ad agency called Kelp.
They converted our original logo to one that is easier to understand but stays true to our mission of connecting the west (water) and east (forest) sides of our beautiful Nature Coast to promote harmony and joy in experiencing water and land-based activities.
Now we have coffee mugs, caps and stickers with our logo and message on them. If you are interested in getting one for yourself, click here.
Kelp also redesigned the site to make it A LOT faster, which is vital to successful online publishing. Who wants to wait for a page to load? Their skills sped the site up to one-tenth of its previous load time. We continue to work together in partnership to make this the best online publication in the world.
Nature Coast Radio sponsors the NatureCoaster™ Events Calendar
Steve and Stephanie Schurdell of Greatest Hits 106, Nature Coast Country, Citrus 95.3 and 96.7 the FOX, came on board as sponsors of our Calendar of Events. Our goal of creating a community calendar for Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties is happening! Cities, recreation departments, clubs, local event promoters and venues are adding their events to our calendar, while listeners are made aware of what a great resource the NatureCoaster calendar is to them and where to find it. We are seeing the calendar’s breadth and reach grow as this partnership continues.
A Custom Directory for Local Businesses
The NatureCoaster Directory continues to be refined, providing value to anyone seeking a Nature Coast business for their needs. With over 6,000 local businesses listed, our goal of connecting readers with the resources to “buy local” is being achieved.
Many Nature Coast businesses have invested in a profile in our Directory to help readers get to know more about what they do. By providing free listings, we are able to help new and struggling businesses gain awareness and join the NatureCoaster team.
Banner and Sidebars ads FOR LOCALS ONLY
We added display advertising to NatureCoaster.com in 2018. Banner and sidebar advertising are now available to area businesses to help grow their relationship with our readers. We do not have “in your face” advertising because it takes away from the readability of the site and it drives us crazy.
Joining Local Organizations to Grow Partnerships
NatureCoaster.com was able to join the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce in 2018. The Citrus County Chamber puts on the Manatee Festival and the Strawberry Festival. Both are great events, full of family fun, food, local music, and activities. We are excited to grow this partnership to connect readers with more of what’s happening in Homosassa, Crystal River, Floral City, Hernando, Beverly Hills, Crystal Springs, Dunnellon and Inverness.
We have been partners with the Dade City Chamber of Commerce for over 3 years. This partnership has been a real blessing to our publication and our readership. This Chamber has helped us maintain the course when the going got tough. Their staff is friendly and encouraging and I will be forever grateful for their encouragement and support. Dade City Chamber puts on the Kumquat Festival each year where tens of thousands of people visit and enjoy small town hospitality with a wonderful celebration of the unique fruit that is so fun to say.
This month, we have been able to join the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and are helping to promote their 9th annual Pigz in Z’Hills Blues and Barbecue Bash January 19 at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. I am excited to start participating in their business breakfasts and making connections with this growing community.
Unifying our Region is our Goal
While there are many publications that provide local information, NatureCoaster.com strives to provide useful information covering our region. Why? Because it is easy to drive from one area to another along our lovely two-lane blacktop roads, enjoying the flora and fauna around us, while discovering a new “favorite” along the way. Florida’s Nature Coast has too many hidden gems to stay in only one town. By thinking regionally we offer you more.
We are working hard to develop a publication that is useful to both the reader and the advertiser. Advertising is often an unpopular word, but providing communication of what a business offers is a service, as long as it is honest and tasteful. Our partners have invested in advertising with NatureCoaster.com to connect with you, the reader. Please go visit them and let them know that you appreciate their partnership with NatureCoaster.com.
We originally put Google Ads in our sidebar positions, but they did not meet our goals of connecting you with local businesses, so we took them out. We are NatureCoasters™, proud of what’s happening here. You are a very important part of this.
So, what about 2019?
NatureCoaster.com has doubled sales in 2018 over 2017’s numbers! This helps us give back to our community with event sponsorships and tithing. We are able to donate our time and skills to local people and places. This helps us to meet our goal of creating community in our region, helping area residents and visitors connect with the Nature Coast beyond their immediate location.
We are working on a Business-to-Business issue of NatureCoaster.com to keep in touch with our Partners and prospective Partners. Expect to see that in the first quarter of 2019.
It is our goal to continue growing this publication through our current revenue offerings: event promotion, partnership packages, display advertising and business profiles. We have some strong partners in this endeavor. If you own a local business, come on board.
Special Editions planned for the New Year
We plan to create some special features, including Craft Spirits guide/trail for all the wineries, breweries and distilleries in our area. If you have any suggestions for participants, please let us know.
It is also time for a Specialty Coffee and Tea Shop issue: where is the best brew? Who roasts the beans onsite? Do they offer coffee specialties like nitrogen infusion or specialty pastries and chocolates to accompany their beaneries? What about specialty teas? Lunch/breakfast?
And a Relocation Guide: builders, realtors, property inspection, appraisals, furniture, home tours.
Special Place to Stay while visiting is another one I have in mind. Bed and Breakfasts, Ranches, Resorts.
What do you think about this?
Do you have any ideas for special issues/topics?
Please comment with your ideas below.