5 Tips for a Successful Economic Development Press Trip

September 5, 2018

Economic Development Press TripAs media specialists and destination experts, it’s easy to pitch a journalist about all the amazing things a region has to offer. But the best way to understand and experience a community is first-hand, on the ground through a press trip. To ensure an economic development press trip runs smoothly for your clients, the journalists and yourself, follow these tips:

1. Quality Not Quantity

It’s better to have two journalists that are extremely interested and knowledgeable in the trip’s industries than five journalists who may have covered similar topics a few times. By doing this, you’re setting the meetings up for success by guaranteeing the spokespeople won’t have to explain the industry background and terminologies, and in return the journalists will ask good, meaningful questions. This will also help group communication dynamics – journalists who cover the same beat will likely have a lot in common, which will make conversations flow smoothly.

2. Compelling Spokespeople Matter

It’s important to put your best spokespeople forward at every meeting on your economic development press trip. It’s vital that your business and community spokespeople are senior-level, charismatic, have an interesting story or background and can bring the region’s messages to life with examples and success stories. By doing this, you can be sure that they will not only have meaningful two-way conversations, but they will also leave a lasting impression on the reporters which could leave to more interviews or coverage down the line.

3. Livability Messaging

Talent attraction is a major part of economic development, and today’s workers are looking for more than just a cool job with a healthy paycheck – they want to know what their life will be like when they leave the office. While your press trip may be predominately focused on a booming industry in the area, take time to show the journalists what it’s like to live there by taking them to the hip apartments and houses, dining at the cool restaurants and bars, checking out the local arts and culture and exposing them to the outdoor activities and recreations.

4. Be Transparent About Issues

While the goal of a press trip is to show off your client’s region and all the wonderful things it has to offer, no region in the world is completely perfect and it’s important to address this. Whether your region is lacking skilled workers, facing rising living costs or missing downtown developments, you should bring up these pain points, but also show what your client’s region is doing to tackle the issues at hand. By showing the journalists that the community is facing its problems head on you will not only show transparency but also resiliency of the region.

5. Free Time is a Great Thing

While having a planned itinerary full of interesting stops and meetings is necessary for any economic development press trip, it is important to allow at least 1-2 hours per day for free time. Journalists can use this time to go through notes, perform additional research on the companies or even take a much-needed nap. This also allows time for the journalist to explore local attractions that they have an interest in, which could even make a great cameo in their coverage of the region. The key is to allow freedom for the journalists to enjoy their personal time in the region.

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