Blessed by Arizona Highways

A great magazine gives my business a much needed shot in the arm.

Arizona Highways has long been one of my favorite magazines. There’s no other magazine that consistently shows off the beauty of our state with high quality photographs and articles that paint pictures with words. I’m sure that more than a few people have been lured to Arizona by something they saw in the pages of Arizona Highways. And I’m sure plenty of us have remained to make Arizona our home.

Last fall, I had to follow the route of Flying M Air’s Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure. I’d hired a video production company to make a promotional video about my company and wanted footage from every location we visited, from Phoenix to Monument Valley. There would be a videographer on board for the entire six-day trip and another following in a truck with equipment they expected to need at each location. Since I had a spare seat on the helicopter, I decided to offer it to two different high quality travel publications. The idea was to put a photographer or writer on board and maybe build a relationship with that publication to trade flight time with advertising.

At least that was the idea.

The Arizona Highways editor responded quickly. He assigned one of the magazine’s writers, Keridwen Cornelius, to accompany us and write up a story about the excursion. If everything worked out well and they could use what she wrote, they’d send a photographer out to get pictures later.

Arizona HighwaysI was thrilled, but didn’t really expect much. I certainly didn’t expect the 10 pages about my Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure that appeared in the May 2009 issue.

I got my advance copies about two weeks ago. I ate up Keridwen’s words and aerial photographer Adriel Heisey’s photographs. The article is amazing. Keridwen gave readers a look into her mind as she experienced each part of the excursion, from our departure from the Terminal 3 Helipad at Sky Harbor Airport to our winding canyon flight down the Verde River — and everything in between. For the first time ever, I’m able to understand how people who don’t usually fly around Arizona in helicopters see and feel about the magnificent terrain.

(By the way, this is one of the reasons I like to fly people who don’t usually fly. I get to experience a bit of the wonder of it all through their eyes.)

The magazine reached subscribers on Friday, April 10. That’s when my phone started ringing. I’ve been answering questions and sending out printed literature ever since. The Flying M Air Web site has also been busy, with about four times the hits it usually gets. The magazine just hit the newsstands and the Arizona Highways Web site. I formally announced it on Flying M Air’s Web site and began offering a 10% discount for all excursions booked before June 30.

And yesterday I booked an excursion for a couple from Pine, AZ for the last week in this month.

To say that this is a breakthrough for me is an understatement. One of the toughest things about building a small business is getting the word out about your services — especially when your services have a limited market and are relatively costly. My company is the only one in the country offering multi-day excursions by helicopter. But I can spend thousands of dollars on advertising and not be able to reach the right people. After all, ads are ads — we see so many ads, we know how to filter them out. But editorial content is different. And there’s nothing better than seeing a positive report about a product or service written by an objective third party.

I feel extremely fortunate to have my business covered in such a way.

I hope everyone reading this goes out and tracks down a copy of the May 2009 Arizona Highways. I really think you’ll enjoy every single page.

6 thoughts on “Blessed by Arizona Highways

  1. Hi Maria, wow, it is very interesting to have the full story after I congratulated you on the tweet. Success is the combination of a series of small efforts. But it seems that the production for the video for that week was a BIG effort. Congratulations again. I look forward to flying on one of these trips one day with my son. My eyes will definitely be popping out!

    • Actually, I didn’t work with him. He wasn’t with us on the flight. He likely took the photos from his own aircraft at various other times. For example, his shot of Lake Powell on Page 37 was definitely taken a few years ago when the lake was closer to full pool; not only are the islands at the mouth of Rock Creek submerged, but the “bathtub ring” is nearly invisible. (Get the idea that I’ve spent a bit too much time at Lake Powell?) I would love to meet him, though. I wish I could do what he does. Have actually thought of getting a gyro rating just so I could do aerial photography without spending a fortune.

      And thanks!

  2. Bless that article!! It was at a Drs. office this past April- I read it in the office and my mind replayed how awesome a trip like that could be. 2 months later when I realized our 30th anniversary was this next year- I knew what I wanted us to do to celebrate!!! We love Arizona & retired here from flat humid hurricane prone Miami Fl 2 years ago. What an awesome way to explore our new home- ANTICIPATION- what a tonic for the dog days of summer!

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