5 Tips to Help Tell Your Community’s Story in 2024

April 10, 2024
Woman in a brown blazer and white shirt reading the newspaper at a cafe to keep up with media trends.

At Development Counsellors International (DCI), our team is constantly monitoring media trends, including how the media landscape itself is evolving. The past four months have seen significant changes pertaining to staffing in newsrooms and how newsrooms operate.  

Major news outlets have faced significant layoffs – in January, Business Insider and The Los Angeles Times announced layoffs of 8 percent and 20 percent of all staff, respectively – while publications like Popular Science and The Messenger, which was launched last year, have shut down operations. Layoffs have put an unprecedented strain on already short-staffed newsrooms at a time when reporters already had limited bandwidth, given that it’s an election year.  

At DCI, our economic development storytelling expertise is not limited to PR – we are also experts in reaching corporate executives and talent by leveraging storytelling on channels like digital advertising, paid media, content marketing, social media, influencer marketing, and SEO. We know how to make sense of the changing media landscape – and how to make sure that your community’s story is being told, even if that may look different this year than in past years. Below are five tips to keep in mind as we collaborate on telling your community’s story in 2024.   

1. Be patient  

Publicists have a saying that PR is a marathon, not a sprint, and this rings true now more than ever. Even prior to 2024, it was not uncommon to spend several months working with a journalist on a story before publication. However, long lead times often lead to strong media placements.   

Investing time to form solid relationships with journalists and establishing credibility in those relationships will continue to be important in 2024, and may take even more sensitivity than before, given layoffs and short-staffed newsrooms. With limited bandwidth, journalists will be able to take on fewer PR pitches and will choose to collaborate with PR professionals who clearly demonstrate value – whether it’s by providing robust and fleshed-out story ideas or up-to-date statistics.   

2. Be open to different types of media 

While a placement in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times will always be valuable, it’s important to diversify your most-wanted media targets. Trade publications will have lower impressions than a top-tier media outlet, but they are also more likely to be read by your target audience, whether that’s C-suite executives in the aerospace industry or government officials. 

 With podcast listenership having tripled in the past decade, podcasts are another valuable medium to add to your most-wanted media list, and there are many podcasts dedicated to industries like technology, real estate and logistics. 

Newsletters also continue to be an important storytelling medium, with many journalists launching their own e-newsletter via Substack. Having gained popularity in the last few years, Substack is quickly becoming the newest media platform for writers and journalists, especially with the decline of Twitter, now called X.  

3. Know the trends in the news 

Keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s being covered in the news will help you anticipate what reporters will be interested in and become more attuned to how developments in your community reflect what’s happening on a national scale. DCI’s 2024 National News Trends to Watch gives a snapshot of the stories and developments that are top of mind for journalists covering the aerospace, agriculture, real estate, life sciences, supply chain and tourism industries in 2024.  

4. Work with a strategic communications agency 

Working with a strategic communications agency that can counsel you on the storytelling channels that make the most strategic sense for your organization will help you navigate changes to the media landscape in 2024. 

With more than a 60-year history in destination marketing, our team at DCI is made up of experts who have years of experience identifying and executing successful marketing strategies, while keeping up with the evolving marketing world. That’s why since DCI was originally founded as a PR agency in 1960, we have expanded our service areas into digital advertising, websites, paid media, social media, influencer marketing, research, SEO and more. 

5. Explore new formats for telling your story  

If you haven’t considered it before, now may be the time to determine whether to branch out to channels like social media or paid media to better tell your story.  

For example, if your organization could benefit from more controlled messaging, sponsored content in a most-wanted media outlet like Fast Company may be a great option for expanding your storytelling capabilities beyond earned media. If geo-targeting would be of benefit to your organization, paid advertising via LinkedIn or Meta will help you get your message across to business executives in Dallas or San Francisco.  

Interested in learning more about which marketing tactics are best for telling your story in 2024? Get in touch with Susan Brake at [email protected] to learn how DCI’s 60+ years of placemaking and public relations expertise can help.  

Written by

Katarzyna Jezak

Senior Account Executive