Promotional Spotlight: The Record Argus

Promotional Spotlight: The Record Argus

The Record-Argus helps readers celebrate storied treasures in Northern Mercer County

When Caleb Stright and James Rust of the Record-Argus were considering additional opportunities for readers and advertisers, they decided on the development of a publication to promote local tourism. “The region has seen some significant economic hits in the past couple decades,” said Rust, “And many local businesses realized something we all, as long-time citizens, have always known – the beauty of the region attracts many seasonal tourists.” Rust and Stright had watched their region begin to evolve with this concept in mind, and the two saw the opportunity to create an annual magazine, Discover Mercer County, to complement that evolution.

“What’s unique about this from a reader perspective is that we involve our current readers as they share their favorite pastimes and local ‘secret spots,’” said Stright. “A new pool of potential readers will discover and benefit from this publication while in the area at one of the local tourist attractions.” Mercer County is certainly not lacking in beautifully well-preserved natural tourist attractions. With three natural lakes, ample bike trails and a wide variety of campgrounds, the county has regularly played host to many seasonal tourists for years. “It’s a matter of answering the questions of those tourists before they ask them,” said Stright. “’While I’m camping, what else can I do in this area?’”

The magazine features a compendium of stories that range from local historical facts and information, like the torpedo testing by Westinghouse in one of the local lakes during World War II; tales of the years that the Underground Railroad operated in the region; and local ghost stories to sweeten those summer nights around the campfire. Stories are built from the Record-Argus archives as well as reader submissions. Publication is issued in late April or early May, and Stright and Rust deliver the magazine to local distribution points as well as nearby hotels and campgrounds.

Of course a publication of this type cannot be possible without the support of advertisers, and that is where Rust’s marketing expertise comes in. “Not only is this an opportunity for us to develop our relationships with current advertisers, we find that niche advertisers who will not otherwise advertise with us are interested in this magazine – around 20% of the advertisers are unique to this publication,” said Rust. Advertisers range from those that are tourism specific to others that enjoy the full-color, glossy aspect of the magazine. Another unique aspect of the magazine is the overall design. The publication and the ads within it are created and designed completely by an outside consultant with a long-standing relationship with the Record-Argus. “It’s not that our team couldn’t create it,” said Stright. “It’s that I, and others, could take hours of valuable time to create a lesser quality product, and our consultant can create something of a far greater quality in half the time.” The work of the graphic design consultant has also paid off with advertisers. “We have some advertisers that like the ads we use in the magazine so much they decide to use them in the newspaper as well if we can make them translate well to print,” said Rust.

With the success of Discover Mercer County, Stright and Rust set their sights on another potential publication, and that is when they landed on the idea of a historical picture magazine publication. Reminiscing magazine saw its first publication in fall 2019 and featured an array of pictures and stories highlighting the rich history of Mercer County. “Our county citizens have a great pride in the history of the region,” said Rust. “We could see that almost immediately as we began to prepare the materials for the pictorial history book.” The pictures and stories were not only supplied from the Record-Argus, the publication partnered with two local historical societies and readers and advertisers shared countless photos and stories. “Our regular advertisers represented about 90% of those advertising in the publication,” said Rust, “And what was really cool to see were the old photographs of their businesses they submitted for it.” Many of the photographs submitted by readers and advertisers alike had never previously been on public record, and through the creation of an online flipbook to accompany the print magazine they are now available to a wider audience in the present and future.

“I think what we’ve done with Discover Mercer County or Reminiscing is search ourselves for what might be considered a ‘no-brainer,’” said Rust. “It’s really about knowing our region, our readers, and our advertisers – and developing things that make sense for them all.”

For additional information, contact James Rust at (724) 588-5000 or