Our Evolution Then to Now
By Melissa LaScaleia
The new year is upon us, and we at the Coastal Insider are ringing it in with a celebration of where we are, who we are, and what we offer the community. Since our inception two-and-a-half-years ago, we’ve evolved from twelve pages to a monthly fifty-four page publication, with a comprehensive area real estate magazine, a corresponding online paper, and an online presence.
In the beginning, our purpose was to create a publication for the Market Common community that would connect the area’s residents and visitors with the businesses and services that were available to them. Our articles included information about the company’s history, values, and the owner’s unique skills that differentiated them from their competition. Our approach painted a more complete picture of who they were and what they had to offer the community— and became a streamlined way for people looking for those services to receive information.
Through revealing a more intimate portrayal of who these business owners were beyond their storefront, the articles fostered a greater interest, trust, and rapport between the community and the businesses, and inspired an increase in the support that those businesses received. In a similar way, the month-to-month advertisements let the community know what was available and where, building a sense of familiarity and connection between patrons and providers.
The response to our publication was so immediate and so positive that we took our vision and projected it to the other areas of Myrtle Beach. What would this city look and feel like if this platform existed beyond the Market Common? We realized that the value we brought to the Market Common district was relevant for all the areas along the Grand Strand; that residents, visitors, and businesses big and small would all benefit from increased exposure, from a greater awareness of what is available and what is happening in this area as a whole. Almost right out of the gate, we began working towards that goal. And this January, we celebrate our evolution and bringing our vision to fruition— that of being a true community publication that incorporates information about all of the communities in our area.
We implemented two tactics to reach this point— our name change and our distribution. In June of 2018, we changed our name from the Insider at the Market Common to the Coastal Insider tosignal that the content we provide is inclusive of the entire Grand Strand area. We spent time growing and learning how to be a message board for the community and then expanded that model when it was solid.
The Surfside section was a launching pad in our vision to use our publication as a platform for local communities to get their individual messages out about the events and activities happening in that specific locale. Our partnership with Surfside Beach was the catalyst for creating community sections within our paper. These sections add value because local residents are looking to know what’s happening in all areas, and when visitors come they want to know what they should go and do. We’ve had the Surfside Beach section for over a year now, and this past December, we added a Market Common as well as Carolina Forest sections, with more to come.
Our readership for home delivery is over 40,000 papers monthly, and our rack distribution readership is 60,000. With numbers reaching over 100,000 people monthly along the Grand Strand, each community can spread their message outside of their boundaries. Now we feel we’re hitting the market with a very dynamic publication.
Initially we implemented in-house distribution methods in available racks outside of businesses and shopping centers. We put a lot of time and energy into studying the success and relevancy of our strategy, and learned that the quality of our locations was more important than the quantity of locations we had. Our distribution has been well-thought out over the past year; and in June of 2018, we implemented our new plan, and contracted with two of the most well-known national distribution companies to secure tenure in highly trafficked, high-profile locations along the Grand Strand.
Now, copies of the Insider are in almost every grocery store as well as high volume shopping centers. The change of direction of distribution has placed us securely in the overall market as a source for local information and pertinent community information.
As we continue to enhance our publication, we celebrate who we are, where we are, and especially, you are readers, who with your continued support and encouragement, inspire us to bring you meaningful and relevant content each and every month.