Running a Magazine That's Unique, Targeted, and So Much More

a family poses together in a treehouse.

There's nothing like Greet Lake Oswego. It's a welcome piece of human interest and making a difference in the community.

Ask Tiffany Larsson what she likes best about her Greet Lake Oswego magazine, and she’ll give you a quick answer: “It’s unique and targeted.” Ask her to elaborate on that answer, and she has much more to say. “It’s a welcome piece of human interest about the families, kids, pets, social events, local charities, and people who are making a difference in our community,” Tiffany said. “There’s just really nothing else like it!”

The magazine covers the entire town of Lake Oswego, Ore. Surrounding Oswego Lake, the community is known as an area destination. It has a little bit of everything – charming shops and restaurants, great city parks and hiking trails, highly rated schools, and fun community events.

But the magazine didn’t always cast so wide of a net. When Tiffany launched its predecessor, Lake Oswego Living, a little over eight years ago, the focus was on a single Lake Oswego neighborhood of about 1,000 lakefront homes.

Shortly after that launch, however, many other town residents started asking how they could get the magazine. Tiffany saw an opportunity to create something bigger. “Lake Oswego is a small city, a suburb of Portland,” she said. “It’s not just a golf course community or just one neighborhood. It’s made up of many neighborhoods…and it’s a special place with a very strong sense of community.”

An excerpt from a magazine.

A “throwback” photo of one of Tiffany’s past columns.

Connected to the Community

Tiffany was able to expand the magazine to the entire community – 13,000+ single-family homes – three years after launching it. And Lake Oswego residents are thrilled to have it. As they flip through the pages of Greet Lake Oswego, they’re very likely to spot friends and acquaintances — or even their own children or pets.

Tiffany, an 18-year resident of Lake Oswego herself, is delighted to have the magazine, too. It allows her to meet many interesting residents, listen to and share their stories, understand what’s important to them, and deepen her community connections.

Emails often are the starting point for resident meetings. For example, Tiffany recently received an email from a man who mentioned that he and his wife are avid readers of the magazine. He then pitched a story about his own family, whose members first moved to Lake Oswego in 1915. His grandchildren are now the fifth generation of his family to have lived in the area. “So we’re going to feature this family and share with others about their five generations all the way since 1915,” Tiffany said. “We’re going to pull up old photos. It’s just a really neat way for people to learn more about our residents in the area and also the history of the community.”

Considering the longevity of the magazine – eight years if you count its forerunner – it’s safe to say Tiffany’s met a lot of residents and heard a lot of stories. Of course, she’s also become acquainted with numerous advertisers. It’s no wonder people often recognize her even when she’s not on the job. “My kids tease me a little bit and say, ‘Oh mom, you’re like the mayor,’ and as long as that’s unofficial, that’s good by me,” she said. “They say I can’t go into the grocery store and not run into three, four, or five people that I know.”

To further community connections, Tiffany also hosts periodic social events. Past events include a family movie night under the stars, an Easter egg hunt, and more. She helps local businesspeople connect with each other via special business-to-business events as well.

A couple taking a selfie.Mother and daughter taking a selfie.two dogs.

Keeping Clients Happy

Speaking of local businesspeople, Greet Lake Oswego is the ideal advertising platform for them, Tiffany believes. The magazine’s audience is highly engaged. “I have a very direct way to help businesses gain exposure and more opportunities with the residents,” she pointed out, “because this is the only marketing platform where the residents themselves are very, very involved – literally – in the magazine’s content and on our social media platform each and every month.”

The approach bears little resemblance to direct-response marketing. Instead, the goal is to familiarize readers with local businesses and help those businesses get into the consideration set of our community’s homeowners. “When a family is going to remodel a kitchen, for instance, that doesn’t happen frequently,” Tiffany said. “It happens once every 10 or 15 years. So I work with companies on a longer-term basis to help them be a known resource when that family decides to talk with one or two different people about a kitchen remodel.”

That plan is working very well. Case in point: Tiffany recently received a thank-you note from one long-time advertiser who was featured in a Sponsor Spotlight article. He shared that his company was thrilled with the feedback it received after that article ran. He also mentioned his company is very happy to be part of the referral community Tiffany’s built over the years. “It’s a privilege,” he wrote. “I’ve enjoyed working with you and your team for a number of years with one common goal: happy clients.”