The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has taken the bold move of replacing its weekly information pages in local newspapers with a monthly newsletter named On the Road.
The first issue of the newsletter was mailed out via Canada Post the week of November 14 to every household and business within Whitchurch-Stouffville – over 15,800 addresses. Another 1,200 newsletters will be dropped in select locations across the Town, such as Town offices, community centres and neighbourhood stores like downtown coffee shops and rural businesses in the countryside.
On the Road is being produced by existing, internal staff resources from Corporate Communications and Economic Development.
“It’s really a matter of two things,” says Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Communications Specialist Glenn Jackson, “we have to make rational use of a limited financial resources, while maximizing the reach of Town communications – how often do we get an opportunity to save and expand at the same time?”
“By mailing this publication to all addresses in Whitchurch-Stouffville, we are reaching a very targeted, and complete, audience – one that has a vested interest in our content,” Jackson says.
David Tuley, the new Economic Development Officer with the Town, said “while visiting businesses across the 206 square kilometers of Whitchurch-Stouffville, I was immediately struck by the great diversity of our business resources, from fantastic pizza in Ballantrae to a duck retail store in Vandorf.”
“I started counting things: 17 golf courses, 11 forest tracts, 3 conservation areas, 16 horse farms, 9 Christmas tree growers, and so forth. There is a great story to tell. I was also struck with the notion of being ‘on the road’ much of the time,” and therefore the title of the newsletter.
On the Road is an 8-page publication. Two pages are devoted to the “Town Page,” and the rest to economic development. It will contain profiles of businesses all throughout Whitchurch-Stouffville and news and on-goings of the entire Town.
“The objective of On the Road is to unwrap, present and bring unity in the celebration of our assets, large and small,” says Tuley. Each issue will deliver a different theme, while the Town Pages will bring consistency.
“You have probably heard of the places we’ll go, but you may not have visited them yet. Let this be your primer,” he wrote in the first edition.
After evaluating the costs, the effectiveness and the overall public perception of the weekly Town pages, staff decided to phase their use out in the final two months of 2016, and fully discontinue them by early January 2017.
“Many communities have gone completely digital with their news,” says Jackson. “Although we are active across many social media platforms, we like our conventional approach on this one, as it doesn’t require a screen.”
The first edition is available at www.townofws.ca under the news and public notices section at the bottom of the home page.