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Erin PolgreenSarah Toce
Sarah Toce is a nationally acclaimed journalist and editor who has interviewed and profiled many of the world's most influential players ranging from high-level politicians to A-list celebrities, health experts, and key gay rights advocates.

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Project Blog: The Seattle Lesbian

The Seattle Lesbian is run by journalist Sarah Toce. The daily publication provides a hitherto unseen source of multi-layer news for the LGBT community, covering everything from news to sports, entertainment and more via their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Seattle Lesbian - One Year Later

Thursday, May 02, 2013

In less than one year, readership of The Seattle Lesbian has grown from 40,000 to 100,000 per month. Moreover, we've garnered some steady advertising support and developed some good marketing partnerships and community outreach opportunities that have made our online news magazine a force not only in Seattle, but also around the world.

All of this has to do, in large part, to the funding we received from the New Media Women Entrepreneurs award via J-Lab. It allowed us to exercise opportunities we might not have been able to afford – quite literally – otherwise.
We’d like to highlight a few main points.


We were able to pass the buck, so to speak, within our community by choosing local companies and small businesses – in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community predominantly – as partners in marketing efforts. We hired a website designer who identified as a lesbian and was starting up her own business to help launch a new The Seattle Lesbian site and a graphic artist in the LGBT community to redesign and manipulate our logo, cutting our vendor response time in half.

We also ventured into social media advertising for our 2012 Seattle Pride events, which paid us back tenfold.


With heightened marketing comes heightened visibility. One of our stories about a rape comment uttered on a radio station went viral after our editors received threats. National LGBT organizations and media outlets picked up our stories and we saw an increase in site traffic that lasted three months.

New partners have also approached us. The Seattle Times invited us to join its Local News Partner Network, which helped to bring our content to other area news outlets and connected us to more than 50 respected local news sites. Seattle Out and Proud asked us to host a stage at the Seattle Pride parade and serve as a hub for women at the event. It was great brand recognition and we are gearing up to host it again in 2013.


In addition, The Seattle Lesbian continues to work with some of the best up-and-coming writers, reporters and interviewers. In recognition that TSL has become a leading force in the LGBT community,  I will be honored as a grand marshal in the June 2013 Seattle Pride parade.

Financially, we are sound, but still growing. We have enough advertising dollars to distribute funds to contractors and for website maintenance on a monthly basis. We would like to see this amount improve, as a new kid on the block, we really cannot complain.


Being a female owned-and-operated small business, it can be hard to gain a solid footing, but we persevered. The grant was enormously helpful to us in that regard.

I also took on sole ownership of the site from my co-founder, so time management, delegating duties, hiring writers, promoting the paper, and maintaining visibility all fell on my shoulders. Working within human limitation, I think our readers are getting level-headed, well-rounded reporting of current events.

   • Posted by Sarah Toce on 05/02 at 03:12 PM