By Jennifer McDaniel, for the Lincoln Sentinel
After months of work, distribution of the Live Lincoln County magazine is nearly complete with both print and online digital publication formats available.
The publication is distributed free at stops along the western half of the I-70 corridor, as an insert to out-of-county subscribers to the Lincoln Sentinel, through local and area advertisers, and in a free, online digital edition. Visitors to the 27th-annual Kansas Sampler Festival, May 7-8 in Winfield, were also able to pick up their own copies, thanks to Lincoln residents Jack and Kathie Crispin, who said more than 300 copies of the magazine went out during the weekend long event.
Live Lincoln County is the product of a public/private partnership, where a group of local volunteers and staffs from the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation and the local newspaper, the Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, partnered together via print, web and social media, to spread the word about how great it is to live in Lincoln County.
When the new LiveLincolnCounty.com website was unveiled last fall, developers hoped, when combined with the magazine and social media, it would be an effective marketing tool used to tell the rest of the world what Lincoln County had to offer, and so far, it’s worked.
“Since the magazine was distributed at the Kansas Sampler Festival, and at some advertiser locations around the county, traffic on the website is up significantly,” Lincoln Sentinel publisher John Baetz said. “We’ve had some locations go through their supply three times already in just a couple weeks and at least one advertiser has reported interest from potential customers in the area, and even out-of-state!”
Earlier this year, the Sentinel was notified the newspaper took top honors for work on the LiveLincolnCounty.com website. Each year, the KPA sponsors its annual Awards of Excellence competition to recognize outstanding work by Kansas newspapers. Contest categories focus on writing, photography, design, special sections and newspaper websites. This year, the Lincoln Sentinel won Best Newspaper Website for the Nondaily Division I category.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the award,” Baetz said. “I kind of entered it as an after-thought, not quite certain if it would be up to par with some of the other competitors, but thanks to hours of work by volunteer Kris Heinze, Sentinel staffers Becky Rathbun and Abby Gerleman, LCEDF Director Kelly Larson, Chamber Director Nancy Walter, and several other volunteers, the site is already one of the best in the state of Kansas, and is still in its early stages of development.”
In mid-November, Lincoln County Economic Development Director Kelly Larson unveiled the four-pronged effort during a chamber luncheon. During that meeting, Larson explained how the marketing plan focused on four areas, building on a brand started by the Sentinel in 2012. The plan is built around a new Live Lincoln County logo, billboard signage, website and the revived magazine.
Heinze, a volunteer, who works as a web designer and technical support associate for WireReady Inc., said that developing the website has been a joy thanks to the high-caliber team who put the multi-level plan together.
“Working with this fantastic team of professionals and leaders, who are so much more than simply volunteers, has been a highlight of this past year for me,” Heinze said. “Melding the high-quality work from this team of individuals – journalism, design, content vision, editing, common sense – and just positive energy and enthusiasm for improving and growing our community – has produced not just a great website, but a multi-medium marketing plan to give our community something to be proud of.”
While the goal is to bring new people to the community, as well as remind those already here about everything the county has to offer, Baetz emphasized a push to help natives of the area find the motivation to return home.
“The magazine is sure to reach hundreds of current residents, and thousands of potential visitors throughout the Midwest,” Baetz said. “But we also hope to reach the many Lincoln County natives who left home in search of something different, who now might like to return home. There’s so much positive going on in Lincoln County right now, it’s really a great time to Live Lincoln County.”
The direct link to the online digital publication is: https://issuu.com/1660publishing/docs/61441_livelincolncounty_finaloptimi