From Humble Beginnings – A look into the Beginning of Heartland Magazine.
Heartland Magazine first became a concept for Sharon and Jeff in November of 2016. They were determined to bring forth an excellent, high quality, full colour magazine that show cased the local rural area.
The magazine’s beginning were very humble; the first magazine literally grew from a blanket on the loungeroom floor, two hard working people, a single computer and a single phone – they didn’t even have a desk.
The idea was to bring a rural based, high quality magazine that could be a talking point to the area. Their aim was to bring both the older generations together with the savvy computer-wise generation and have something to keep both ends of the spectrum entertained.
In this, Heartland Magazine appears to have achieved its goal already, with older people often commenting on how the “I remember” pages bring back fond memories while at the other end of the spectrum, primary aged kids can use those same pages to study their local history.
The dedication shown by its two founding members has been nothing short of remarkable. Often working a hundred hour week each, Jeff and Sharon have poured their hearts and souls into the magazine and the community is loving it. Their first issue was only a concept when advertisers started to sign a on – a leap of faith was required by all. Thankfully, feedback from advertisers and customers alike has shown a warm response, allowing the magazine to continue its rapid growth.
All the articles, pictures, graphics and advertising are done in-house, in fact the only thing not done locally is the printing. The first magazine went to print on the 4th of January and was on the streets by the 12th of January 2017. From there the magazine has never looked back.
The detailed covers are a talking point amongst consumers and many people are collecting the magazines as a whole set, while others are sending them out to friends and family both nationwide and overseas. A little piece of home is appearing in letterboxes all over the country and indeed the world.
The creators are overjoyed with every piece of encouragement that comes from the community – and there has been a lot of it! They encourage people to drop in to the office for a chat – and many a conversation has turned into a story.
In May 2017, they were able to organise an office in Walker St, Casino and the set up of the office was yet another labour of love. The office was set up after hours and often during the nights, while production of the magazine marched ahead during the days and often into the late nights and early mornings as well. The many hours of hard work have been deemed more than worthwhile however, Sharon and Jeff are both thrilled with the response from the community as a whole.
The feedback from the community has been amazing; in the first four days of the Facebook page opening they received over 10,000 likes. Heartland Magazine is available in print, online, on Facebook and there is even an App. They never expected to have a radio ad and sponsorship deals coming in – let alone by their 7th edition.
In future, their dreams include staying self-funded and therefore self managed; thus ensuring that they can continue to bring you a magazine of the utmost quality. While all businesses have their teething troubles, the Magazine has moved beyond these and is going strongly; it continues to grow each and every month. Already it has doubled in size from the original concept, with more people coming in to share their stories every month. Other goals include expanding both their staff, readership and volume size.
Their favourite part of working on the magazine is being able to listen to the community and the individual stories that often come walking in through the door and out of the blue;
“It makes us appreciate all the more how easy somethings are these days,” said Sharon, especially when she has been working on the Do You Remember Pages or Rusty’s “Back In Time” articles. “They remind us of how things used to be and I love being able to bring that to the community.” It seems the community loves it too, these are the regular features most often raised – and praised- by our Readers.
The office is family-run and family friendly, making it a great place to pop in and visit. The old time artefacts around the office are interesting as well. Feedback has come from many sources, including Emails, Instant Messaging, Letters to the Editor and In Person. With barely six months of production under their belt, the staff at Heartland Magazine are greatly looking forward to sharing more stories with our community in the many issues of Heartland Magazine to come. They would like to thank everyone for their support.