When Kurtis Dawson started reading ThurstonTalk.com, he knew that Grays Harbor needed the same resource – an online information source detailing positive stories about people, businesses, and organizations.
“I was getting frustrated with the story that was being told about Grays Harbor,” says Dawson who serves as the Executive Director/CEO of the YMCA of Grays Harbor.
“I didn’t like the story that we were telling about ourselves or the story being told about our community to others,” he adds. “I knew that it conflicted with my experiences living in Grays Harbor.” Along with his wife, Sasha, Kurtis is raising four daughters.
“There are positive stories to tell but there wasn’t a consistent voice or platform to share these messages,” he adds. Dawson’s fear was that the negative storytelling would start to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Dawson reached out to ThurstonTalk founder, Dan Jones, and began having a conversation about the business potential of expanding the successful community social network into Grays Harbor.
“We knew that what we built in Thurston County could be replicated other places,” shares Jones. “Our conversations were focused on how to make financial sense of the expansion and we knew that Kurtis had the right connections in the community to bring customers on board.”
As an involved member of the community, Dawson drew on his connections to bring credibility to the new business. “I knew I could leverage the success of the other Talk platforms to pull together enough influential business owners to start GraysHarborTalk,” reflects Dawson. “And, people bought into the idea, even without the website being launched, because they love the Harbor.”
And, Dawson credits the NorthAmericaTalk founders for using creative ideas to launch the business. “Dan and the NorthAmericaTalk partners are good people, dedicated to building cash-flow positive businesses and are willing to entertain new ideas for launching other community social networks throughout the state and the nation,” says Dawson.
Once launched, GraysHarborTalk quickly took off with local readers. “The readers definitely responded positively and our readership numbers continue to grow,” says publisher, Amy Rowley. Currently, GraysHarborTalk reaches more than 11,000 people through social media.
Along with quick readership growth, GraysHarborTalk has consistently met financial goals. “In less than three years, GraysHarborTalk has rivaled century-old traditional media companies,” adds Rowley.
“With a focus on helping local marketers reach a target market, grow their brand, and measure results, GraysHarborTalk continues to deliver solid advertising results to its customers,” adds Jones.
“I’m not naïve enough to think that the Harbor is perfect now that GraysHarborTalk.com is on the scene, but if we can influence even a small portion of the Harbor to have pride in their community again then that’s a good thing,” he says.
For Dawson, the best outcome of GraysHarborTalk has been creating smiles on people’s faces.
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