ATK’s 2016 Recap and Goals for 2017

Just a few of the things we did in 2016…

Happy New Year to all of our lovely readers! Sorry it’s a bit belated but I was held up by starting off the new year with the flu (so much fun, not). But that’s not important, what’s truly important are you, our lovely readers, so first off, I’d like to say ‘thanks for stopping by!’ Whether you’re new to us (welcome!) or you’ve been visiting ATK for a while, I’m happy you’re reading ATK. It’s become a bit of an annual tradition – much like our survey – where I look back at everything ATK did in the last year and make goals for us in the new one we’ve just begun.

2016 Recap & Top Moments

2016 was a good year for ATK Magazine in a lot of ways, but in some ways, it was a bit of a stagnant one as we didn’t try anything new or take any risks. And because of that, I came up with a couple of new (or revamped) projects for 2017 because we want to stay fresh for you. But of course, there was still lots of fun moments and positive things in 2016 like our readership continuing to grow, albeit slower than our initial growth. Here are some of the highlights from the last year for us:

Increasing our readership

The whole point of writing is for you, our lovely readers, so I’m always happy to see our readership steadily climbing. And just as important, we know we have many loyal readers who regularly check in to see what we’re up to and read our latest articles. We are nothing without you so I’m happy – as are the rest of the ATK team – that you’re here. Of course, we hope you’ll continue reading in 2017.

Our top read articles (other than our home page and calendar)

The list contains some articles that always grace our ‘top read’ list and some new ones. Looking at our top articles, it’s obvious that our readers have a wide variety of interests which is great (and why we try to write about a variety of topics). It’s also apparent that some articles are still relevant, years after they were written which is amazing. And in case you missed any of these popular articles, I’ve linked them all for you. ^^

Covering music and film festivals

As music and film are two of our primary categories, and two of my favs, it’s always a highlight to cover great music festivals and 2016 saw ATK writers, including myself, cover South by Southwest (SXSW), Canadian Music Week (CMW), KCON, Zandari Festa, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Reel Asian, the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF), Toronto Kpop Con, and Hallyu North, among others. We hope to continue to bring you great coverage of music and film festivals in Canada, the US, and Korea in 2017.

Hosting our second Korean Indie Music panel

Like I stated above, music is one of our primary categories and Korean indie music is a bit of a passion for me so I’m always happy to have the chance to share my love of the music with others. This year ATK hosted our second Korean Indie Music panel at Toronto Kpop Con. Huge thanks to Shawn (who hosts Sounds from the Korean Underground), Tamar (from KultScene), Jenna (from Rock ‘N Seoul), and especially Trash and Jeff from the Korean punk band, …Whatever That Means, for participating. Despite the technical difficulties, we had an interesting discussion.

Networking with other writers/websites

It’s always fun to connect with others with similar interests and 2016 saw us continue to grow our network of contacts, fellow writers, and friends at other sites. Whether it was at festivals, events or simply chatting online, it’s great to share stories, tips and advice. And of course, it’s just fun to meet like-minded people. Definitely a trend we want to continue.

Goals for 2017

Regularly scheduled articles

Once upon a time, we had an editorial calendar that gave each day of the week a topic (music, food, film, etc.) and articles were published accordingly. It was a bit too regimented (and started to feel stifling) so we went the other way to a very minimal editorial calendar (articles had to be submitted by a certain date) but it led to some inconsistencies in how many articles we were publishing. So I’m going to try to find a middle ground this year with a more structured editorial calendar that ensures we are publishing a minimum number of articles monthly (15) but allows flexibility to go over on our busy months. It’s mapped out starting January 16.

More interviews

I love interviews! I love conducting them and I love reading them so I was super happy to learn from our recent reader survey that interviews – both music and film – were the most requested topic. Turns out that you also like them (yay!). So while we always try to interview any artist that comes to Toronto or attends SXSW, we’ll make it a point to also try to reach out to more.

Go on Patreon

This is something I’ve been considering for about a year after I saw a couple of Patreon fundraising pages for comparable websites/online magazines. Currently we don’t have any method of generating income and it would be nice to not only cover our expenses but be able to help our writers and do more of the things that are still in the “wow, wouldn’t it be cool if we…” stage.

Start a podcast

It’s another thing that’s been on my bucket list for ATK Magazine for a while, especially since I was on Radio Kimchi in the UK. So I’ve decided to sketch out some topics and then hit up some cool (and interesting) people to chat about them. It will be a monthly one and I’m hoping that our first one will come out in March.

Re-start a revamped Canadian Doenjang

We went on hiatus a year and a half ago due to personal reasons (good ones, our lovely camerawoman was expecting) and while it won’t be the same as the other two members of Canadian Doenjang have family commitments, our recent reader survey showed that you miss the show (or would like to see it) as much as I do. And after some thought, I’ve come up with a slightly new format for it that I’d like to try out for you all.

Bonus: Review each Korean film that plays in Toronto

This is perhaps more of a personal one but I’d like to make a goal as the primary Korean film writer for ATK, to watch every Korean film that plays in Toronto and review each of them. I currently watch about 90% of them and review about 75% of them but I’d to improve that.

Final Thoughts

2016 was both a good year for us and a bit of a stagnant one in some regards. With the professional goals above, I hope to see more growth for us in all of the metrics that matter to us – more articles for you to read, more readers to read them, more conversations with you all, and hopefully, the chance to meet more of you wonderful people. Always know, we love hearing from you so leave us a comment anytime!

From all of us at ATK Magazine, I wish you and yours health, happiness, and love in 2017!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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