By Anna Jauhola
As the movement to draw more people to Hallock continues, two digital components made debuts this summer.
A long-awaited video promoting the flavor of Hallock hit YouTube on July 23 and shortly thereafter, the city’s new website came online. Both are meant to not only promote the city but to take the recently implemented branding further, said Kristin Eggerling, Hallock Mainstreet board member.
“The way the world is, video seems to be the thing,” Eggerling said of marketing the city through the medium. “It’s just a way to get a slice of Hallock and showing other people what it’s like.”
The video was made with funding from the Rural Initiative Program through the Laura Jane Musser Fund.
Hallock Mainstreet received a grant for $11,510 at the beginning of 2018 and completed the project – both the video and website – by the middle of 2019.
So far, the video has logged a little over 2,900 views and Eggerling said it has made the desired impact. She showed the video at a conference in September comprised entirely of people from greater Minnesota. Hallock had been a pilot project for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s Thrive program, which garnered the community a few grants that helped launch community meetings and connected the community to resources.
“Everybody loved it,” she said of the video. “People came up to me the next two days and everyone was blown away by it. I do think it’s very appealing to the outside.”
Much of the video focused on interviews with people who had recently moved to Hallock.
Eggerling said this was a key factor because the goal is to gain more residents who aren’t from the area but fall in love with it, but also those who also once lived here and are interested in moving back.
“The point is to attract people to Hallock,” she said. “And so we wanted people who recently came here to talk about what attracted them.”
All shots for the video were filmed within a week’s time during the summer of 2018. Soren Blomquist Eggerling, a Kittson Central graduate and Eggerling’s son, filmed and edited the video in conjunction with professional sound, color and other editors. He only had a limited amount of time to be in the area for filming, Eggerling said, but he took many shots of various locations, businesses and organizations around town that simply didn’t make the cut. Not only are there hours of unused footage, but Blomquist put extensive time into editing, Eggerling said.
“We wanted to make sure it’s professional. The video was supposed to be a minute-and-a-half video, and it got out to almost five minutes, which is crazy long,” she said. “Several long-time businesses, including our businesses, didn’t make the cut.”
However, she believes the gist of the video was clear that “things are clearer up here” as Hallock’s new branding suggests, including a slower pace, low cost of living and friendly people.
According to the cost breakdown from the city of Hallock, the Musser grant paid Blomquist over $2,400 for his work and time put into the video. Through the extended editing process, Blomquist donated much of his time, Eggerling said.
The grant paid over $1,850 for other video professionals and $2,924.51 for video equipment rental. The equipment rented was 4K, meaning it is a television-quality resolution.
When asked why the video didn’t include shots of Kittson Central School, Kittson Healthcare Center or the Kittson County Courthouse – which are three major employers in Hallock – Eggerling said they were all taped, but also did not make the cut.
“Again, this is just a slice of Hallock,” she said. “It would be great to put something (another video) out to include those. I have only heard positive things about the video.”
She’s hoping the video will pique people’s interest and perhaps draw them to town or at least to the new website to learn more.
Hallock’s new website, hallockmn.org, features the branding revealed in 2018 and local photography highlighting the area, its amenities and businesses. The site was a long time coming and was pushed out a little bit in haste, Eggerling said.
“It’s a work in progress,” she said. “And will always be a work in progress. SandPieper (Design, Baudette) had a date they wanted to get it out, but we knew it was not going to be quite ready, but it was ready enough.”
The site features updated business and organization information and links to websites, job opportunities and the ability for employers to list jobs, seasonal recreation information, as well as education and local shopping. SandPieper is still finalizing details as Eggerling helps edit and suggest improvements, she said, noting that finer details such as SEO (search engine optimization) wording is important for those viewing Hallock on the internet.
Even since its debut, the website has improved to show a cleaner business directory, which originally included businesses outside of Hallock. Eggerling said the original intent was to include those businesses – such as restaurants – in a different section like Day Trips.
Despite any hiccups in the current presentation of the website, Eggerling is pleased with it and believes it is doing its job.
As the website evolves and the video continues to get views, the Hallock Mainstreet committee and community will continue working together to reach its goal of 100 new neighbors in 10 years.
By Anna Jauhola