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New magazine features Lebanon neighbors

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

After a year-long journey learning how to build a magazine, Malisa Anderson just published her first one. It’s called Lebanon Neighbors.
“We like to call the magazines ‘social media in print,’” she said. “Having the old idea of print with the new idea of social media, and trying to put it together in a way that is engaging with the community.”
With a background of experience in retail, marketing and real estate, Anderson knew what she liked and didn’t like in a career. After taking some time as a stay-at-home mom, she was ready to try something new.
“Now that the kids are older, I wanted to dive back into a career where I could go out and be in the community,” she said. “I want to be a part of things and I want to be involved and have a career.”

Anderson talks about her journey to start a magazine for Lebanon.

It was a friend, Bobbi Jo Newman, who kept pressing her to start a Lebanon magazine through Best Version Media, a publishing company, she said. Newman, herself, had already started two in Arizona.
“I watched her journey through it,” Anderson said. “There’s about 1,200 of these publications across the United States and Canada. All the publishers are local to their area.”
Anderson praised BVM, which provides training and her own team to help her through the process.
“I’m basically like an independent contractor through them, but I own the publication,” she said. “They’re experts in what they do, but they’re so kind and courteous.”
Her first issue, released in October, features her family on the front cover. Every issue will include a featured Lebanon family, content from locals, a pet page and kids section, calendar of upcoming events, bulletin board, and expert educational articles. As revenue increases, so will the content. One idea she would like to include in the future is a section for nonprofits.
Lebanon Neighbors will be distributed monthly through the mail for free to 2,025 homes in a targeted area, specifically to homeowners in the southeastern and southwestern ends of the city.
“It’s intended to be a micro-targeted community sponsorship,” she said. “In my market, it’s all homes over $400,000.”
As her baseline revenue increases, she’ll be able to add more homes to her mailing list, she said.
Anderson said the hardest part of starting a magazine was “basically still being a full-time mom while doing a business.”
While the mother of two is out generating revenue through ad sponsorships, Anderson has local staff that fills the magazine and makes it look pretty. Hannah Richards provides content, Jenna Williamson Photography creates the family photos, and Chrissy Fitzgerald does all the design work.

The first issue of Lebanon Neighbors features Publisher Malisa Anderson and her family.

But her husband, Chad, is to be recognized for his contributions, too. While Malisa began her journey of starting the magazine about a year ago, he took on a new job that required being out of town five days a week.
“The traveling thing was not working for our family,” Malisa said. “The girls missed him. It was sad.”
So Chad left that job and began working with her to get the magazine in flight.
“He was just like a cheerleader,” she said about her husband, who went with her to make presentations to potential sponsors. With him by her side and believing in her mission, Malisa said, faith and conviction in what she was doing went “through the roof.”
“Without him, I might not have finished it (so soon),” she said.
Starting a magazine was a big enough task to, at times, make Anderson question, “what did I get myself into?” but she knew she wanted to be of service. If one’s intentions are good and they try their best, she said, then everything works out.
Even still, there are always those moments of “firsts” that one must experience.
“When I saw the first issue, I was like, ‘Oh dear, this is a reality now. Please let everyone love it.’”