10 Community Storytelling Tips to Add to Your Integrated Marketing Treasure Box

August 15, 2023

DCI EVP Dariel Curren and VP Sarah Reinecke recently attended the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Convention to share our storytelling and branding expertise. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the convention, the two slowed down to host a community storytelling workshop, which enabled them to hear from industry professionals on some common marketing challenges.

Crafting a strategy for a community that is unique and aligns with the community’s brand is not always easy, especially when it feels like everything has already been done… and then done again. However, there exists a treasure trove of tactics to craft personalized marketing strategies and storytelling campaigns that sing the community’s tune and captivates the right audience.

DCI shares 10 gems you can use to develop an original integrated marketing strategy:

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Each community’s story is different and it’s important to start by first identifying WHO you’re trying to reach with your messaging. The story you are telling might stay the same whether it’s prospective talent, site selectors or existing business, but the way you tell it should be different. You wouldn’t tell a story the same way to a close friend as you would to a stranger, just as you shouldn’t relay the same narrative to a recent college graduate and a corporate executive. Get to know who you are talking to before you strike up a conversation.

2. Got SWOT?

After you’ve identified who you are engaging in conversation with, you should then identify your community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. During this step, it’s important to take a critical look at the challenges your community faces. You’ll work to play up your community’s strengths and opportunities, while at the same time, deploying strategies that combat your weaknesses. The SWOT analysis will serve as the foundation from which you build your entire storytelling campaign.

3. Messaging, It’s Still the Key

What are your community’s unique differentiators? What about top assets? What’s the most compelling story you can share with your target audience? Use your SWOT analysis to develop concise key messages that will serve as your community’s “elevator pitch”. The idea here is to get everyone “singing from the same song sheet” to make your story louder.

4. Deploy Strategic Tactics

Now that you know what story you want to tell—and who you want to tell it too—start thinking about how you might amplify it with strategic tactics that make sense for your community.  

5. Craft Campaigns that Have a Nice Ring to Them

Now that you have established your key messages, take them further by developing a catchy brand campaign that can be used across all marketing channels. British Columbia, for example, recently launched a campaign highlighting their fresh tagline “British Columbia, Naturally.”

Now, Implement!

Finally, bring all your creative ideas to life through strategic marketing. Here are five of our favorite tactics:

1. The Power of Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is a crucial tool to amplify your community’s message to a wider audience. Platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn offer hyper-targeted advertising options that can help you reach specific demographics and cater your unique messages to the target audience you’re trying to reach.

2. Sweep off the (Digital) Welcome Mat

Just as you might decorate the front porch of your home with the changing seasons, you should do the same to your community’s website. It is, after all, the front door to your community and the first thing your audience sees. You know what they say about first impressions … Ensure that your newly-developed key messages are front and center and
be sure to keep the design user-friendly, making navigation intuitive for people seeking information about your community. Consider highlighting success stories, showcasing community assets and providing easily accessible resources for target audiences.

3. Craft an Engaging Organic Social Media Strategy

Social media is a dynamic platform for sharing your community’s story organically. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, success stories and community events. Consistency is key and ensuring a regular posting schedule can help maintain your audience’s interest.

4. Bring Your Story to Life Through Vibrant Videos

Videos are a captivating way to bring your community’s story to life. Consider creating video profiles of local businesses, showcasing vibrant community events or even sharing testimonials from residents and stakeholders. The visual and emotional appeal of videos can help convey your message effectively and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

5. Engage with National Media

Gaining coverage in national media outlets can significantly boost your community’s visibility and credibility. Identify journalists and outlets that align with your target audience and reach out to them with your story. Host inbound press trips to offer journalists an immersive experience of your community’s offerings. Or, take your story on the road to a media market like New York City and meet face-to-face with top journalists.

National media coverage not only spreads your message to a wider audience but also positions your community as an attractive destination for talent, businesses and investors.

Developing an integrated marketing strategy takes time, effort and the ability to think outside the box. The process can be daunting, but the above steps are a great place to start. If you have any additional questions about DCI’s branding and storytelling expertise, reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].

Written by

Sarah Reinecke

Vice President