Audience engagement. It’s one of those marketing “buzz phrases” that seems to be everywhere these days. However, for a printed magazine, audience engagement usually amounts to people reading the magazine, talking about it with their friends, and maybe writing a letter to the editor.

Since the inception of On The Bay, my goal as editor has been to create a magazine that fosters dialogue and creates connections with – and among – our readers. This has been, and continues to be, my greatest wish over the past 10+ years. And in these days of social media, On The Bay can finally engage our audience on a much broader scale.

Our Facebook page is garnering new “likes” every day as we strive to use this tool to connect with our readers in between issues of the magazine. Readers are signing up for our e-newsletter, Between The Pages, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at On The Bay. And more and more of you are reading our articles and our full “flip” version of the magazine on our website.

Now we are starting to see how audience engagement can directly impact our content in the magazine. In one recent example, we put out a call for nominations on our Facebook page asking readers to nominate people who have made a difference in our community as Grassroots Heroes. The result was that we had the most nominations ever in our eight years of profiling Grassroots Heroes. All of the heroes we profiled in our Winter 2014 issue came from reader nominations – a first for us – and we have several nominations already for 2015! Thank you to those who sent in their nominations. To nominate a 2015 grassroots hero, click here.

In the latest example of impactful audience engagement, we wanted to include an article about “man caves” in our upcoming Spring Home & Garden issue (although I am not a fan of that term and prefer to call them “manspaces”). But how to find some examples of man-friendly spaces to feature in our article? Once again we took to Facebook and asked you for ideas. Thanks to those who responded, our writer Marc Huminilowycz and photographer Derek Trask are busily checking out manspaces ranging from home theatre rooms and billiard rooms to music-themes rooms and beer parlour rooms. Watch for our Spring issue to check them out!

It’s fun and exciting to have our readers more engaged in the actual content of the magazine. So we decided to take this a step further and ask you what types of stories you like best and what you would like to see more of in On The Bay Magazine. We have designed a brief, three-question survey to get your feedback. Please take 60 seconds and fill out the survey here. You will be helping to guide the editorial direction of the magazine, and you will be entered into a draw to win dinner for two at Huron Club Restaurant in Collingwood.

All I have left to say is, thank you! Thank you for reading On The Bay, thank you for liking our Facebook page, thank you for signing up for our newsletter, thank you for your ideas, comments and suggestions, and thank you in advance for completing our survey. More than ever, On The Bay is your magazine, and I am honoured to be your editor.

Sincerely,
Janet Lees
Editor

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