FROM LAND TO SKY, THE EVOLUTION OF AN INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE MAGAZINE

One of the things that I love about the sky is that it is constantly changing. I love the possibility of change. And it’s a necessary part of life in all things. We all change. We never stay the same. Now in my seventh year of publishing SKY, it is time to evolve with the times, and the realities of our daily lives. My founding intention for SKY was to create a magazine that would inspire us, and tell the stories of people living in their vision. This continues to be my intention. SKY is an independent magazine with a strong brand and following. Over the past seven years, SKY has changed, and it will continue to evolve, but the voice of SKY will be as strong as ever. Even stronger. Since becoming the publisher in 2012 I brought something new to the table. I am a marketer, business strategist, journalist and a professional communicator. So I introduced the concept of strategic story telling to the pages of SKY, and personally worked with each contributor / advertiser to craft their message with their brand and desired outcomes in mind. I created a digital platform for SKY to move it from the mailbox into our readers’ hands more eloquently. I also added a marketing and social media component for the businesses that supported SKY, personally promoting them, their businesses and their products on the SKY social media platform. In 2014, I began looking at SKY from true magazine perspective, since that was my intention from the beginning – to create a magazine that tells the story of who we are through the eyes and experiences of the inspired. I looked to Magazines Canada for a model, adopted the policies and made editorial changes to the extent that I could based on the financial implications of the print environment. I submitted application to become part of Magazines Canada but the financial business model and the choices that I had to make accordingly that were driving the magazine created limitations, so I was not able to take SKY far enough and make the changes that Magazines Canada would have required. However, I continued to evolve the model to strengthen the magazine. SKY does not sell advertising. We make space for businesses to tell their story so that our readers and have a better understanding of them. With each space, I work directly with the client to define how that space should be used for advertising. I have been the sole strategist and writer. I have also created a social media platform to market my clients post print, and into the digital world of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other amazing places. As a business strategist, I see that the world is changing. That dollars are getting tighter for businesses to spend in print, that the market is already over populated in terms of advertising that people are rejecting “flyers” in their mailboxes. The print industry ebbs and flows; it's a barometer of the social consciousness. Twenty years ago, when I was in journalism school with Jim McKenzie, the now deceased professor who taught me more than I could appreciate at the time, the web had just begun to show itself. It was unknown as to what it would be. This week we celebrated 30 years of world wide web and it has truly transformed literally every aspect of life. Our classes would ruminate on the business model that was going to drive the World Wide Web, and how that would translate to the journalism environment. I just have to look at my own life to know and understand the impact of the way we distribute, share and assimilate information. It is a function of two things: less time and more access to information literally at our fingertips. But the question is, are we smarter because of it? What have we given up? What have we gained? I love print magazines. I love the feeling of paper in my hands, and I love the way a new magazine or book smells. But we are constantly on our smart phones or other digital devices reading emails, checking the Instagram feed. Posting. Communicating. Reading. Our phone has officially become part of my life and business. Readers are reading online more and more. Is there a place for print? Yes. Because we need to stop and focus, and find some peace in the data storm that is our lives. We need clarity. Reading a book or magazine becomes a source of meditation. SKY is a boutique business. Boutiques are famous for their service experience and individualized attention. And so we must be to be successful and relevant to our clients. From a business perspective, those featured on our pages want to stand out. That's why they choose us. They do not want to be lost in a sea of advertisements, stuck somewhere on page 68 in an inside corner. They want to be seen. They want to be shared. They want to be marketed. And that’s what I do, passionately. So it’s time that we called a spade a spade. The magazine has to evolve to match the value proposition for all concerned – our readers, our clients, and our very viability. Inspiration is what SKY is all about. And possibility. And exploring new places. SKY is about being seen. You will find us downtown in the heart of our city, writing and telling stories. Sincerely and without further ado, Lynn Armstrong Publisher SKY Magazine

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