Local Social Network for the Arts Community in Central Valley
I hope all is well. I am writing this to communicate to you some of the changes we've done here at FresnoArts.net and how it affects (or the way I think about it, improve) this self-serve marketing and communication platform.
For the past months or so, we've been very active in creating web applications to extend the features to help you with arts marketing. For a while now, I've thought of a network of local blogs, e-communities, and/or websites that could co-market each other, thus providing more visibility to everyone in that network.
Well, our team at Socient got to work and created FresnoConnect, a business unit whose function is to develop web applications that organizations and businesses could use. So far we've create the Events and Classifieds web applications and licensed it for FresnoArts.net use. We are continuing to develop the Job Board, Profiles, Coop, and others that you will soon see in action.
How does this affect you?
Our social network is powered in a separate platform through Ning. We love the features that Ning has and we are going to continue using it for the "Community" aspect of FresnoArts.net (i.e. Commenting, Photo Gallery, Messaging, and Forums). We are however going to use FresnoConnect when we use web applications, such as Events and Classifieds (in the future Profiles, Job Board, and Coop). Here's some of the use cases that I've thought of when using the web apps:
As always, please take the time when posting your information. Your event description, images, and videos are important factors to someone who's choosing an event to attend.
And by the way, we are having many partners display ad banners linking to this site, like the Fresno Conventions and Visitors Bureau (www.playfresno.org). So hopefully we'll get more traffic to the website and your events will be visible to convention attendees, meeting planners, and tourists, as well... Great win for us :)
As some of you have noticed, FresnoConnect unfortunately is not integrated with Ning, so you have to create a separate account to use the web apps. The good news is that a FresnoConnect account will work in all brands/organizations that use it (some of them you are familiar with, like FresnoJobs.org, GreenFresno.com, and future brands like FresnoNonProfits.net and LocalFirstFresno.com). At this point, I am working with licensing FresnoConnect to other membership-based organizations which I will share in the near future. The goal is to have the community use FresnoConnect so that when one posts an information like an event in one website, they have the option to share and post it to others as well. Pricing for FresnoConnect licensing is not yet final, but please let me know if you are interested in using it for your organization. We will not shun away non-profit organizations that cannot afford it and will work with anyone that could promote the arts and social good.
Is "print" a viable marketing channel for the Arts?
I just read somewhere that Fresno Undercurrent no longer publishes and that Mike Rhodes from Community Alliance has not been paid for a couple of months. Print publishing is not an easy business to keep afloat these days. But why am I telling you? Because I think that "print publication" is still a very much relevant marketing channel, even if there is an obvious decline in its use. The challenge is how do we create a business model that's able to support it. So I am debating (aggressively hashing out financials actually) whether to do a print publication called FresnoConnect Monthly which will be based from user-submissions and curated contents. I believe that the community could use it as an affordable marketing tool to complement the online tools FC provides.
As I mentioned, the financials have to compute before it could happen. I would like to ask for your generous ideas and perspectives on the following points:
a. how much would artists/studios/galleries, non-profits/arts organizations, and small-to-midsize businesses, be willing to pay or budget on varying ad sizes on a 10,000 monthly publication (sizes are 1 full page, 1/2, 1/4, and business card).
b. would you be a willing contributing writer with in-kind trade on advertising for your professionally written article?
c. are you willing to be part of a diverse, volunteer editorial board, who will communicate mostly, if not purely, online?
Thank you for your time. Please provide your feedback by posting your comments below. I appreciate your support and I hope that everything works out as planned. We need to keep marketing the Arts in our community and we will do the best we can always.