For Economic Development PR, SEx (Simply Extraordinary) Sells

November 19, 2013

Pitching a story about your cityYou’ve all seen the ads for GoDaddy or Axe Body Spray and, like them or not, there’s a very clear strategy behind them—sex sells. You know what else does too? SEx, and I guarantee you there’s more substance behind the latter than gimmicky commercials. Let me explain.

As the PR landscape has changed with the emergence of digital media and cable news, these 24-hour outlets would rather cover the enthralling release of a slimmer iPhone or the “Best Cities for Happiness in Your 40s” than a community’s economic impact on the world. You would think with so many hours and gigabytes of space to fill, there’d be a place for the latter. Unfortunately in our consumer-driven world, you’re not Apple, Microsoft, or Detroit’s Big 3, nor are you a political party leader spewing sound bites. Instead, your city or state’s news value is at the bottom of the food chain.

(For more advice on PR’s changing face, check out our webinar, “Why Won’t Forbes Write About Me?” on November 21.)

The time has passed for the same old story of a community launching an incubator or becoming a biotech or alternative energy hub. To break through the clutter, your community has to bring something to the table that is Simply Extraordinary (SEx). Consider the following examples:

  • Starting an incubator, accelerator or small business development program happens all around the country. Launching a $100 million seed fund as the staple of your community’s economic future? Now that’s pretty cool! The Journal thought so too, and wrote this great article about St. Louis’s entrepreneurial efforts.
  • If you ask around, it seems as if every city weathered the recession better than any other. True or not, when your city is the first to recover all jobs lost since the recession and people are flocking there because you have ample opportunity…well, that’s just the hook that Forbes is looking to grab, as it did when Houston hit the milestone in 2012.
  • Sure, several cities want to target aging baby boomers and industries that are associated, but Louisville, KY is actually building infrastructure for the specific purpose of becoming a “lifelong wellness and aging care” hub. Why is this SExy? Niche industry, evidence of strong traction, and a significant investment underway (a 200,000 square foot, $38 million building to house startup companies) were all factors that led the New York Times to cover it back in 2012.

When it comes to place marketing with the national press, think with a one-track mind: SEx sells!

And catch our economic development media relations webinar, “Why Won’t Forbes Write About Me? Place Marketing in the New Media Landscape,” on November 21. Sign up here and mark your calendar. You’ll then receive a confirmation email with your webinar login.

Written by Steve Duncan

Steve Duncan is Vice President of DCI’s lead generation division. Since 2004, Steve has managed marketing programs for a diverse set of city, state and country organizations, from Albuquerque and Houston to Tuscany and Wyoming.

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