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Elaine Helm Norton

ELAINE HELM NORTON Elaine Helm Norton is the new media editor for The Herald newspaper in Everett, Wash., where she oversees news and multimedia content for HeraldNet.com. She started her career in journalism as military affairs reporter at the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash.

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Visit NWNavyNews

Project Blog: Northwest Navy News

This participatory site will serve the 140,000 active-duty Navy and Coast Guard members, reservists, base employees and retirees in the Puget Sound area with database-driven, interactive guides to housing, schools, military discounts, and a social network for military spouses and children coping with deployment and family relocation. Project leader Elaine Helm Norton, new media editor at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., and a former military beat reporter, envisions a “medium for military families in the region to connect with one another and also for journalists like me to connect with them. … Nobody in journalism or the military has done much online to engage” military families. Follow her progress here. Visit their website.

Northwest Navy News is Growing

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Since the launch of Northwest Navy News (http://www.northwestnavynews.com/) in March, the site has slowly gained a following. It averaged about 400 unique visitors and 1,200 page views in May. The number of visitors is growing at a rate of about 20 percent per month so far - slow but steady. Most of the visitors are coming from organic search results, thanks to search-optimization efforts. That’s great, but it also means that most people are finding the site accidentally, leaving lots of room for marketing outreach.

I’m doing what I can to get the word out to more people about the site. I recently appeared as the featured guest on an Internet radio show called Navy Homefront Talk (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nht). The show reaches thousands of Navy and other military spouses around the country, and I hope to see a bump in interest as they visit to check it out. Through Facebook and Twitter, I’m connecting with more and more military families, bloggers and service groups. A week-long Facebook advertising campaign last month added more than 70 fans for the Northwest Navy News Facebook page (http://facebook.northwestnavynews.com).

I’m also starting to get nibbles from local advertisers. I spoke to one who is connected with the military affairs committee for one of the chambers of commerce. Partnerships with the chambers could lead not only to more advertising but also to more listings for the military discounts section of the site.

After a visit to the 2009 MilBlog Conference in late April, I came up with a new idea for a network of military family blogs in the Puget Sound area. I’m developing a list of local bloggers and beginning a blogroll to appear on the sidebar of Northwest Navy News pages. Once I have a good list going, I plan to create a banner for the blog network and begin approaching bloggers to add it to their sites. I think this could raise visibility for the existing bloggers in this area and begin to form a community with Northwest Navy News at the hub. In the future, I could see hosting a regional conference for the group and others with similar interests.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the work ahead, but I’m focused on taking one step at a time and building something truly valuable and sustainable.

   • Posted by Elaine Helm Norton on 06/02 at 10:13 AM