Media and marketing veteran Karen Harrell launched Snowbirds Gulf Coast in winter 2006-2007 after nearly two decades working in a variety of roles in traditional journalism, public relations and marketing.
“I saw that there were a variety of publications geared toward the summer tourists, golfers and families, but none for our winter visitors,” Harrell said. “So, I decided to see how well it would go.”
The initial launch was so well-received that the magazine is marking its fourth season of publication and also expanding with a southern Gulf Coast edition.
“I got some very good advice when I was looking to launch this publication,” Harrell said. “Someone who publishes a community paper said to ‘think inside out’ and I took that advice to heart.”
A southerner born and bred, Harrell thought about the types of things she would like to see if she were a long term visitor on the coast.
“I love the beach and there is nothing better than taking a good book, beach chair and a cooler with snacks and drinks to the beach for the day. But after awhile you start looking for other things to do,” she said.
One of the signature features of the magazine is an expansive double truck calendar filled with activities. There also is a Resources page with helpful information such as library locations, social security offices, dog parks, radio stations with format and more. Visitors often want to find clubs and groups to join and those, too, are listed. Also, regular feature stories on topics such as health, dining and recreation can be found along with expansive photo pages called “Snowbird Snaps.”
“We try to utilize as many photos from as many events we can make in each publication,” Harrell said. “We are pleased that now we can use so many more photos in our newly redesigned website as well.”
But one of the most important features of each edition is the warm welcome she gives to the Snowbirds.
“I truly enjoy interacting with the Snowbirds,” Harrell said. “They’ve treated me so well over the years. I always look forward to their return.”
Harrell resides in Gulf Breeze, Fla., with her husband and 16-year-old daughter. One day she hopes to be a “Sun Bird” by heading to the Colorado mountains or Pacific northwest during dog days of summer in her retirement years. If you’d like to reach Harrell, send an email to email@example.com or call 850-291-1266.