Why Quality of Life Pitching is Increasingly Important for Economic Development Marketers

April 3, 2017

Securing media coverage about quality of life is increasingly important for economic development clients, particularly for talent attraction purposes. Why? Simply put, a skilled talent pool is more important to companies making location decisions than ever before, so attracting talented workers is pivotal for economic development organizations.

Pitching quality of life stories can be difficult, however, as they are quite different than tried-and-true expansion announcements, and seeing examples of such stories can help spur pitching ideas. Below is a sampling of recent quality of life stories that can hopefully help inspire economic developers’ pitching efforts:

Vanity Fair Runs an Econ. Dev-y Map

While flipping through Vanity Fair’s new Hollywood issue, I was pleasantly surprised – and admittedly inspired – by a visually-pleasing map that highlights the places to go and things to see in downtown Los Angeles. Even better was the econ. dev-y subhead in the print version:

“After years of development, downtown Los Angeles has morphed from an overlooked industrial center into a revitalized culture hub. Thanks to a vibrant art scene and an influx of dining and drinking destinations, the once gritty streets now invite stylish foot traffic in a driver’s city.”

While you can view the article online, the digital version doesn’t really do the map justice, so pick up a copy of the Hollywood issue if you can!

Give Leanna Garfield a List. Leanna Luvs Lists.

Pitching lists is a great way to secure media coverage. Leanna Garfield, a tech reporter at Business Insider, covers innovations in urban design, architecture and food — three categories where you could definitely work in some quality of life messaging. When reading through her recent work, I noticed that Leanna loves a good list. Even better? She loves lists that include quality of life messaging. For instance…

My suggestion? Find a unique angle that highlights a place’s quality of life offerings and turn that angle into a list for Leanna (and other like-minded list lovers).

Improve your Quality of Knowledge on Quality of Place

There’s no doubt that quality of life stories are increasingly important, and it’s also important to communicate effectively and intelligently why they are so vital. At the end of December, CityLab ran an article by Richard Florida and Andrew Small, ‘Why Quality of Place Matters’ that includes some great research and proof points as to why we should be focusing on quality of life pitching. Some key takeaways from the article include:

  • “Quality-of-place amenities were once thought of as an afterthought or something that happens after places get rich. Now we know that amenities—not just restaurants and bars but the whole package of great museums and libraries—play a key role in drawing the highly-skilled knowledge economy workers back to the city, bringing economic growth with them.”
  • “A recent study in Urban Affairs Review found that amenities make a real difference in attracting young talent to cities, beyond the big name cities. For this group, amenities inform moving decisions nearly as much as low crime rates or housing availability.”

That begs the question – as economic development marketers, should we be using the phrase ‘quality of life’ or ‘quality of place’? Stay tuned – that may be a topic for an upcoming blog.

Keegan Calligar

Written by Keegan Calligar

Keegan Calligar is an Account Manager at DCI. Since joining DCI in 2013, she has worked with clients including Columbus 2020, the Northwest Arkansas Council and the Thailand Board of Investment.

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