It was only ever intended to be three editions, and the main objective was to build brand awareness for our Internet site abc-mallorca.com, rather than to get into the publishing business. Little did we know when we published that first ‘small’ sampler of what foreigners could find online, that we would receive such a huge response – particularly in terms of advertising – or that we would be firmly ‘in’ the publishing business after just two issues.
With no background in publishing, we had to learn quickly. What we lacked in knowledge and experience was certainly compensated for in enthusiasm. I remember hosting a meeting back in February 2004 with a group of individuals whom I thought might be able to help me realise my ‘marketing initiative’ to launch a magazine, which we would distribute like confetti during the summer months (we printed 75,000 copies of the first 3 editions), to give visitors and foreigners living on the island a taste of what they would be able to find on our information portal and search engine abc-mallorca.com.
Anja McNeil, who was our photographer, Jo Ditcham, our freelance journalist, a host of other freelancers and our in-house team pooled our ideas and energies together and the first edition of abcMallorca was born in April 2004. The team worked hard to ensure that if you had a copy of abcMallorca you were going to have a better experience of what this beautiful island has to offer. That still remains the pinnacle of what we do today: you will only read about the best of what Mallorca has to offer – so if it’s not there it may be that it simply is not good enough!
We only write about Mallorca; we are not interested in other areas, because there are so many wonderful things we know about Mallorca that we want to share with you. People sometimes ask me whether I ever run out of ideas. How could I? Living here provides me with inspiration every day and there is always an angle for a good story.
I naively believed that high standards of journalism, in terms of research, writing and translations, were more important than the quality of the paper we used for the magazine. I learned otherwise, which was the main reason for the ‘big’ change we made in March 2007.
After three years in the business, we had enough feedback from our readers and clients for me to work out what they really wanted, and implement our changed concept. Our fundamentals – in terms of quality journalism and independent editorial content – remain as important today as ever and, in addition, we invest in the print and paper quality. As well as some great freelancers – such as Thomas Baar, our photographer, Dave Mars, our graphic designer, and journalists Jan Edwards, Peter Cluskey, and Adrienne Cullen – we have a professional, dedicated in-house team.
I do believe, after six years, that we have succeeded in becoming the number one publication on the island for the foreign market, but we cannot sit still – we are constantly striving to improve, to hone, to tweak our product, to give you, the reader, the best possible magazine.
I have had a lot of fun, particularly on the creative side, being allowed to express myself in so many different ways through abcMallorca. I am happy to say that it is still a lot of fun, for example, being the stylist for our fashion shoots: on one occasion I even managed to persuade Nadia, our office manager, to be our model – and to this day it is one of my very favourite covers. She did a fantastic job – but thankfully didn’t decide to leave us to pursue a career on the catwalk!
Another aspect of my job that I love is the opportunity to meet so many interesting people. With a database of over 800 clients I thought it would be a good idea to give these business people the chance to network and facilitate possible business collaborations. As a result, we launched the abcBusiness Club in February 2008 and it really has exceeded all our expectations. The amount of business that is carried out at any of these events is mind-blowing. We hear so many anecdotal stories of successful collaborations.
Another important goal of the abcBusiness Club is to raise money for children’s charities on the island. So far we have raised over 60,000 euros, which we know has made a difference to the lives of so many little ones. Overall, it is probably what the team and I are most proud about.
Recently, I was asked to come up with a strapline that I believe represents abcMallorca – and after a few days it hit me: it’s simple – We Love Mallorca. It might sound corny but we feel passionate about the island and want to promote the best of what Mallorca stands for and has to offer. In 2009 we launched the Best of the Best Awards as an online survey, enabling our abcClub members and visitors to the website to vote for their favourites and we presented the awards in December.
I have always believed that the Internet is a very important medium for the promotion of Mallorca. We now have close to 500 articles online about life on the island; we have the online magazine and, in the near future (if not already), you will be able to read all 40 editions of abcMallorca online.
The membership of our abcClub is growing daily – we now have over 7,000 registered members, who receive our weekly newsletter containing invitations and special offers from a range of businesses on the island. We want to develop this club in a similar way to the business club by hosting events so that club members can get to know other like-minded people and expand their social network.
We are excited about the future prospects for Mallorca and the role we can play in promoting what the island has to offer. We hope to celebrate many more anniversaries with you in the future.