Canadian Publishing Industry News
3 January 2013,     TORONTO
Shedoesthecity taps Gary Campbell to help guide relaunch
Shedoesthecity (SDTC), an online young women's lifestyle mag, relaunched in time for the new year after bringing in Gary Campbell as a content strategy consultant. Campbell was formerly digital executive producer for Toronto Life and recently moved to Seattle to work as senior UX designer for

"Gary was brought on to help us really understand the big picture," said founder Jen McNeely. "He evaluated our numbers and helped redefine who we are and where we want to go."

A screenshot from
A screenshot from

The site reaches women 18-40 and aims at 20-something females in school or recently graduated who are finding their footing as adults. The more focused editorial will lean on the confessional writing that analytics showed to be popular with readers. "We're trying to be a life guide, but not claiming to be professionals. We're talking from experience and sharing our stories in the hopes that they lend some insight," McNeely said.

More attention will also be paid to the popular Sex & Relationships section, with an increased number of health pieces and "positive stories for all kinds of sexualities," she said. Other areas of reader interest included contests and career advice, which McNeely said SDTC will offer more of in a way that's both aspirational and achievable.

While the site's events listings and boutique profiles focus on the Toronto and Montreal scenes, the relaunch is aiming to appeal to young women all over Canada. A branded web series was also unveiled, directed by Olga Barsky.

Shedoesthecity founder Jen McNeely
Shedoesthecity founder Jen McNeely
Head shots of popular writers and links to their bios and content are made prominent on the front page. Several of SDTC's new writers are working comedians (including Alice Moran, who caused a stir in August with an open letter to Krista Ford), which McNeely called an unintended but welcome coincidence. The site uses a roster of around 20 freelance writers.

Launched in 2007 and originally run on Drupal, the new site is powered by Wordpress. "The layout is a lot more intuitive, both for advertisers and editorial readers," McNeely said. New touches include more links to keep readers engaged and on-site, new search capabilities that allow readers to filter by author, and drop-down menus. The site was built by designer Jimmy Rose.

Larger vertical banner ads (300 x 600 pixels) are newly available to advertisers, and McNeely said more social networking options, like Instagram posts, will be included in packages. The site already offered smaller banner ads, skins, integrated sponsorships, contests, and advertorial.

"I have no strict policy," McNeely said about advertorial content. Posts are sometimes marked as such if companies request it. "Our readers are savvy, and it's clear when we're partnering wiht a brand," she said, adding that she only works with companies she is comfortable endorsing.

SDTC averages 60,000 unique monthly visitors and 110,000 monthly page views. On the December 17 relaunch, traffic jumped 144%, said McNeely.
— Jef Catapang
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