Media Relations Strategies for Economic Development Evergreen Storylines December 1, 2015
In journalism “evergreen” content refers to content that is forever available and almost forever relevant. This fresh, green content doesn’t expire and it is always accessible – even more so, now, in the age of the web.
First off, understanding evergreen content is crucial. This blog post is evergreen; it’s always going to live on the DCI website, and it will always be relevant to media relations conversations because of the content provided. An article written 12 years ago about the best hiking trails in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado would be another textbook example of evergreen content.
So, while much of the news industry today is becoming more and more focused on breaking news content – beating the millions of other outlets to the punch – a portion of the news distributed around the world is still considered to be of an evergreen nature. This means that in in public relations, when pitched to the right reporter, at the right outlet, evergreen stories can come to life, even amongst the largest of national outlets.
Here are a few great, recent examples of evergreen stories secured by the DCI Economic Development team, on behalf of our client communities, and a little explanation of what makes them evergreen and how our team helped turn a client’s evergreen story into media reality. We’ve also ranked them in order, from the most evergreen to the least evergreen, based on the assumed amount of time we think they could still be considered green.
THE MANY SHADES OF EVERGREEN IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWS
GREEN – “There’s a new Silicon Valley of drones, and it isn’t in California” was written by Editor Sally French for the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch site. The piece, covering the economic sector emerging in North Dakota around unmanned aerial systems (UAS), came to life primarily as a result of the reporter’s particular interest in this type of technology. Timed, only generally, around the opening of a business park specifically for UAS businesses, the piece could have been written a year before, a year after, or even a year after that – making it, for the purposes of the economic development sector quite evergreen.
GREENER – Katie Roof, a tech reporter formerly with Fox Business and now in San Francisco working with Tech Crunch, hosted the Mayor of Orlando for a web exclusive video interview while he was in New York, resulting in a video piece titled “Is Orlando the Silicon Valley of the Southeast?” This opportunity is one of those hard to come by for communities today – one comparing the market to the great empire of Silicon Valley. Given Katie’s special focus on technology, and for a national outlet as sweeping in its coverage as Fox Business, it means that the technology news she covers has to be of real consequence. When there aren’t great new product launches by super-brands such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc., she has a high bar to reach in terms of covering evergreen content with tech significance. When looking at a market as large and as high profile as Orlando, and with a personal interview with the Mayor offered, Katie had the chance to tell a market-wide trend story to fit the bill. This piece is significantly green, as long as those major powerhouse brands mentioned in the segment remain in the market, and with a bit of a cap on it given the rapidly evolving technology sector.
GREENEST (Pun intended!) – Forbes Contributor Scott Beyer is a journalistic enigma. Based not in any one particular market, Scott is currently traveling in pursuit of surprising stories on urbanism. When DCI met Scott, we made sure to encourage him to visit the City of Houston so he might learn of a new “trend” there around green space development in the urban core of what has historically been a suburban city. The resulting piece, titled “Houston Goes Global with New World-Class Parks and Bayous,” does a great job of talking about a general market trend without a major opening, groundbreaking, or ribbon cutting as a time hook. The story will clearly be “green” as long as the parks continue to develop and expand; easily living in its accuracy for a decade or more ahead, and with tangible, near-permanent physical results to prove it.
THREE SPECIFIC STRATEGIES FOR EVERGREEN DELIVERY
Each of these three examples showcases a different strategy for how media relations pros find a home for those great “evergreen” narratives that exist within a community:
Identify a journalist with a specific personal interest in a theme. The more personally curious they are, the more likely they are to dig in and find the national importance of an evergreen market trend.
Identify a journalist with the opportunity to visit a market and discover a regional trend tangibly. These kinds of stories always elevate better in person.
Identify an opportunity to have leaders meet with a journalist in person, on their turf. Reporters love the stories that come to them, so making the effort that much easier, evergreen narratives can seem more appealing to them from the comfort of their own chair.
Each of these methods provides great ways to deliver evergreen economic development messages in outlets with a long-term online tenure and with high-quality search presence. Reporters live in a “breaking news” world, but every day of the 365-day year doesn’t generate a breaking news update requiring journalistic attention, and that fact creates the windows of opportunity needed to deliver these kinds of evergreen stories.
To talk with DCI further about how we might specifically help you highlight these longer-term trends, or evergreen messaging goals of your community, please reach out. We love this stuff, and we’re always looking to help creatively amplify even the broadest of messages, with the softest of hooks, to the national audiences who might benefit from a heightened awareness on the topic.