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Meet Joanne Hayes of ValueStream Media Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Hayes.

Joanne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I moved to Atlanta in 2009 (for love), and didn’t know a single person here. With 15 years of advertising sales in my native Rhode Island under my belt, my specialty had been starting publications from scratch, first a newspaper, for Southern RI Newspaper Group, then a magazine, SO RI, for Providence Media Group. I contemplated working for an established publication here, but really saw a need for a true lifestyle magazine that catered to the Buckhead community, which had long been included in the greater part of the city, and had not been given a voice of its own.

I had done two years of research in Buckhead before launching Simply Buckhead Magazine in late 2010. And Mayor Sam Massell, President of the Buckhead Coalition, had promised me that I’d be sitting in the midst of Buckhead’s greatest comeback, which came true for sure.

In June 2016, after seeing similar building trends in Midtown, we moved forward with our second publication, 17th South, serving Midtown and its surrounding neighborhoods, including Westside, Morningside, Ansley, Inman Park, Virginia-Highland, Grant Park, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, Reynoldstown and Cabbagetown. And in late 2016, we acquired the online news website BuckheadView, increasing our digital footprint to over 130,000 monthly visitors.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The first two years were challenging – I was selling all the ads, handling every aspect of printing, distribution, social media, sponsoring art festivals so we could get our magazines in the hands of local residents and business owners. My family accompanied me on many weekends, handing out magazines and talking about what we were doing for the community. Everything was new to me, since I didn’t know anyone. It was hard to find qualified salespeople, but we finally broke through in the second year and started seeing the fruits of our labor. By the third year we were on an upward trend, and now we average 92 or more pages per issue in Simply Buckhead, which is no small feat for a regional publication.

With 17th South, we once again embarked on a “from scratch” project, and have experienced some of the same challenges, but with the structure in place, the learning curve has been far less stressful. We hope to have 17th South at the same level as Simply Buckhead in the next few years.

I have been fortunate to have incredible editors and the best writers in Atlanta – the talent pool here is immense. And our creative director is second to none. We now have a full time website manager, who has helped our digital footprint expand to its present state, a dedicated social media director, and a full team of salespeople.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ValueStream Media Group – what should we know?
ValueStream Media Group is a full service media company, including our two print publications, Simply Buckhead and 17th South, and our news website, BuckheadView. We specialize in consulting and strategizing with our clients, and also now offer social media services. I am very proud of the personal relationships we have developed in the Buckhead community over the past 7 years, with business owners, elected officials, residents, our sports teams, nonprofits and more, and we are working hard to do the same in the Midtown area now.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
1) Asking a lot of questions and being a good listener, Clients truly appreciate when you listen to their concerns, goals, and objectives, and can then consult them properly on the best way to promote their business in our platforms.

2) Choosing worthwhile causes and being involved in giving back to your community.

We are sponsors of No Kid Hungry, The Latin American Association, CURE Childhood Cancer, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and participate in many of their annual events, as well as helping them with their messaging and exposure. As a Publisher, I put my name on things that I personally get behind, and I know that our clients and the nonprofits appreciate our efforts.

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