Exciting changes ahead for iLoveKent
Dear readers, supporters and friends,
When I started iLoveKent in September 2007, I had no idea what an impact this site would have on the community – or on me. It started on a whim to share local stories about nonprofits, local businesses and events, but it grew beyond that to become a community of readers who care about Kent and who want to see it succeed.
While most of our path was onward and upward, we suffered a setback in the fall of 2016 that I didn’t think we’d overcome. I had redesigned the site, and we lost a lot of SEO and ‘Google love’ along the way. I was investing more in the site than I was making, I wasn’t paying myself for my time, and I was at a point where I wasn’t sure I could keep things going. I reached out to readers and advertisers for support, and many of you came to our aid, showing us that the work the iLoveKent team was doing mattered. We rallied and came back stronger than ever.
Much of that is due to the advice and friendship of Scott Schaefer of South King Media, publisher of the B-Town blog and five other local blogs. He shared ideas and made suggestions for where we could improve, and every one of his ideas was a winner. We rebranded, covered more news, though still on a limited basis, participated in community events like Kent Station’s SOAKS, sponsored events like Kent Community Foundation’s Kent Has Talent, and hosted two Kent political candidate debates. We raised our visibility and credibility.
Along the way, I was offered the opportunity to work for the City of Kent as a communications consultant, serving the city I love in a new way. That presented a conflict which I worked hard to resolve, removing myself from day-to-day operations. I consulted with Scott to decide what was next for iLoveKent. As we talked, it became clear to me that iLoveKent had certain strengths (feature stories, event listings, strong readership) but that we weren’t really covering the news to the best of our ability. We were missing out on opportunities to better serve our readers and local businesses.
After much thought and reflection, I decided that iLoveKent was ready to grow, but that I wasn’t the right person to grow it. In fact, while I am very proud of the work I’ve done with iLoveKent, I have probably been holding the site back. Talking to Scott, I realized he had an exciting vision for iLoveKent that I couldn’t yet see. He also had the time, talent and team to make it happen. When Scott agreed to keep our team on, I knew that this was the right decision for me and for iLoveKent.
What does that mean for our readers and advertisers?
- More of what you love about iLoveKent – more news, more features, more social media posts.
- I will serve as an advisor and may occasionally write for the site, but I am ceding all operational and editorial control to Scott and his team.
- If Scott ever decides this isn’t working, he’ll give me the right of first refusal to take the site back.
Though Scott will take over the site on January 1, changes to the site won’t be immediately noticeable. It will look the same, but you will start seeing more posts and a different editorial voice. Local businesses will have more opportunities to advertise, and the community will be better served by a more active editorial team.
That said, my transition away from iLoveKent will not be easy. I created this site, not having any idea how it would change my life, rooting me to a place thousands of miles from home. As a result of iLoveKent, I have made lifelong friends, and it has helped me to fully embrace Kent for all of its qualities, good and bad. I may not be running the show anymore, but I won’t be far away, and I will always be grateful for your friendship and support. You are the reason we are still here.
All the best,
Dana Neuts, Publisher