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This is the fourth part of the community content section of the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection.

The unified calendar we launched this year at Iowa.com, serving all our company products, has barely begun to tap the possibilities of an interactive calendar. It’s providing content on events effectively, but the Complete Community Connection needs to pursue revenue possibilities.

An effective calendar will provide some strong paid search opportunities, but also some direct sales opportunities, to sell tickets, make reservations and register participants directly online. When users sign up for email reminders of events or email notices to friends, those emails need to include targeted advertising. We use mapping to show the venues of events, but the map also needs to locate restaurants and bars nearby (a targeted advertising opportunity that would help you plan where to eat before the event or where to meet for a drink afterward). Our calendar entries also need to grow, aggregating videos and news reports relevant to events.

Continue reading the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection with Community-content opportunities: Local knowledge.

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Calendars are one of the oldest staples of the newspaper business.

As proud as we are of our news reporting, photojournalism and columns, one of the most important jobs we do for the community is to help you know what’s going on and decide what to do and where to go. The calendar is a simple tool that helps us perform that job.

We publish several calendars in the newspaper during the week, but the truth is, those barely begin to tell all the clubs, faith communities, sports teams, social groups, and other organizations that meet, perform and present events each day throughout our region. And for the events we do include on the calendars, we provide only the barest details.

But as you started your new year with a new calendar, so did we. Check out our new Gazette calendar and you will learn more about Eastern Iowa events in one place than through any other source I know.

You can search events by date if you want to know what’s going on today. If you want to search for events of a particular type, such as art, theater or children’s events, you can choose from more than 40 categories. If that isn’t enough, you can suggest a new category. You can search by location or keyword.

Or maybe you’d prefer not to search. You can ask to receive an email newsletter, notifying you of events in categories you select.

Once you click on an event, we provide basic information such as date, time and location. We provide the description of the event, as entered in the calendar by the organizers. If the location isn’t familiar to you, click the map icon and you’ll get a Google map you can print out. Or click the weather icon and you’ll get the conditions and forecast for that location from weather.com.

If you’d like to tell others about the event, click icons to post it on social networks such as Delicious, Facebook, Reddit or Twitter. Or you can email the event listing to friends. If you want to put it on your calendar, you can click icons to save the event to various calendars on your computer or on the Web.

If you use RSS feeds, we give you a variety of choices to receive calendar listings directly. You can select a feed of all of our listings or you can select a feed of events for your community or for only the categories that interest you.

If you would like a community calendar for your organization’s web site, click “tools” and we’ll provide the script for a widget to embed our calendar on your site.

Our new calendar will be convenient for organizers to use. Enter your information at this site, and you will be submitting it to the calendars of various print and online products of Gazette Communications: The Gazette, GazetteOnline, kcrg.com, Iowa.com, Edge, Hoopla, HooplaNow.com, PennySaver and Community News-Advertiser.

By entering the information yourself directly, you can ensure its accuracy. (If you see information in our calendars that is inaccurate, please let us know so we can fix it quickly.)

Though we provide easy entry for event organizers, we also provide a check against mischief by anyone who would enter a bogus event. Each event will be reviewed by Gazette staff before appearing anywhere (so allow some time for your event to post).

This new calendar is the result of lots of hard work by more Gazette staff members than I can name here, but those deserving praise include Zack Kucharski, Jason Kristufek, Matthew Manuel, Linda Cruise, Christine Doty, Trent Orris, Brian Siguenza, Tom Altman and Stephanie Heck.

Take a look. This calendar demonstrates our commitment to continue improving how we do one of our most important jobs: Telling you what’s happening in your community.

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