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Newspaper changes name, expands readership

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By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

BIG SKY – On July 12, the Big Sky
Weekly became Explore Big Sky, the
newspaper. EBS publisher Eric Ladd,
along with the editorial team, felt
a re-brand was in order – one that
started when his firm Outlaw Partners
bought the paper in 2010.
“We wanted to stay true to our roots in
Big Sky, yet still have regional appeal,”
said Ladd, who purchased the 20-year-old
paper from former publisher Faith
Malpeli. Under his leadership, the first
issue of the new Big Sky Weekly came
off the presses on Oct. 29, 2010.
“When we bought the paper in 2010,
we asked ourselves, ‘Does this thing
still have a breath of life in it?’” Ladd
said. “And the answer was yes.”
The newspaper went from weekly
to biweekly, and the team launched in an effort to reach
a broader audience, including people
around the world who follow Big Sky
and southwest Montana news.
“We found our readers appreciate more
thoughtful stories,” Ladd said, emphasizing
that while the EBS team can
produce more in-depth reports, it also
covers breaking news stories online.
“The name change broadens our reach.
It was a natural progression.”
But we also realize the value our readership
has to our success, and looked into
a 100-year-old business concept. We
choose to provide strong content while
you choose to read it.
Enter the Pareto
principle, aka
the “80-20
rule.” In an article
on his blog,
investor and
author Tim Ferriss
Mike Del Ponte, owner of a new water
filter company, Soma.
Through the online creative funding
platform Kickstarter, Del
Ponte raised $100,000 in nine days,
pointing to the Pareto principle for
Soma’s success.
“The 80-20 rule teaches us that
20 percent of stories will yield 80
percent of your press results. This
was absolutely the case for us,” Del
Ponte said. “One week into our
Kickstarter campaign, we re –
viewed our press coverage. Sur –
prisingly, the post that earned us
the most money was on a site most
people have never heard of: good.
is, the online property of GOOD
“We discovered that was
in some cases 10 times more valu –
able than other
press because
the audience is
relevant [and] the readership is
substantial …”
EBS articles
cover local
business and sports, school news,
meetings, resort news from Big
Sky Resort and Moonlight Ba –
sin, the Yellowstone Club, Lone
Mountain Ranch and the Club at
Spanish Peaks, as well as news and
lifestyle pieces from around our
region and state.
Content is king. We believe that if
we provide our most relevant and
substantial audience with power –
ful content, our readership will
increase and our company will
continue to see success.
“Our reach begins here, but it goes
beyond Big Sky,” said Outlaw
Partners COO Megan Paulson. “We
strive to represent a larger collec –
tion of news and lifestyle coverage
that not only applies regionally, but
‘Big Sky’ country and the Yellowstone
region as a whole.”
According to Paulson, EBS is the
only newspaper with drop points
in all four corners of Yellowstone
National Park and Outlaw Partners’
media has a current following of
more than two million spanning the
With significant distribution in
Bozeman, Belgrade, Livingston,
Gardiner and West Yellowstone, the
paper has more than 40,000 readers
every two weeks. For the month of
August,’s analytics
indicate over 10,000 unique
visitors from all 50 U.S. states and
79 countries.
We at EBS believe in you, our broad
and relevant audience. That, and
kick ass stories. We hope you enjoy.

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