I had heard from an inner source last week that some big changes were happening at DC Style--but I didn't think they would be shuttering altogether, at least not yet. It was only a matter of time before one of the three new pubs folded, but it doesn't make it any less of a bummer.
All three pubs serve three different constituencies, in my opinion, but unfortunately, they're all pulling from the same advertising pool--and there are only so many of those dollars to go around.
DC Style's editorial had gotten better and better with each passing month, and their team was awesome. Young and enthusiastic all, with some really talented writers on staff. I wish them all the absolute best.
If they're serious about going to an all-online format, which is a real need here in DC, they need to get their act together a bit. My recommendations:
-Blog: keep it the same, just make it a bit easier to pitch stories. They can kind of fall into a black hole.
-Party pictures: follow the Patrick McMullen model, and get them up that day, or the day after, tops. With names and an event write up. Traffic will go through the roof. Alter the format of that section so that it takes less time to load.
-Gossip: get some--now. Steal the fabulous Yays and Nays guys (if they're serious about making this site truly relevant, they're going to have to invest), or get their own writers, but have a great daily gossip column.
-Area listings (restaurants, spas, et al): make them comprehensive, with a great search engine, then make the featured listings the paid model. With increased traffic, this would work.
-Be aggressive. Don't pull out of the events forum completely--stay out there. Host a killer launch party. Do monthly in-depth features, and still go after the big stories.
-Steal the Washington Life calendar concept, where it's easy to list your own event--go for a comprehensive calendar to increase your traffic and advertising dollars.
-Invest in database marketing: figure out who in the hell is coming to the site, why, what's relevant to them, and then steer your advertising dollars that way. For the love, I can't believe that this isn't done.
Do that and you'll have the entire city clicking on every day, guaranteed.