Five Media Trends Economic Development Professionals Should Know

March 20, 2023

Landing a placement in top-tier media about a community’s economic development efforts has undergone a significant shift in recent years with the increasing use of social media platforms and the internet to consume news.

 While our team of economic development public relations professionals stay on top of these trends, we recently saw a report that confirmed our own experiences and wanted to share some insights with our industry.   

According to the Muck Rack State of Journalism Report, online newspapers and Twitter are the most popular sources of news for journalists, with Twitter being the most valuable social network for them. Here are some key trends in media relations that economic development professionals should keep in mind when working with the media: 

1. Personalization is key

Journalists are more likely to reject pitches that are not personalized, so it’s important to tailor pitches to the individual journalist and their beat. We agree. Almost every single pitch we send out is tailored to the journalist. Given how hard we’ve worked to build and maintain our credibility with the national media, it’s important to us that the journalists understand that we know them, their beat and what stories will resonate with their audience.  

2. Academic experts are highly credible

According to the report, academic experts are the most credible sources, followed by CEOs, company PR professionals, and agency PR professionals. Again, not a surprise to us at DCI. We always counsel clients that we need high-profile spokespersons to speak with media. We have found success with university presidents who can speak to workforce development issues, company CEOs who can speak for the region’s business attributes and elected officials who can speak to the economic development trends they are seeing in their communities. 

3. Exclusives are important

The report found that journalists are more likely to cover a story if they are offered an exclusive. This reiterates a key point we share with clients. We know that the site selection search is highly confidential, but if clients can give us a heads-up on an announcement coming, it helps us to land national media hits because of that exclusive. We know there’s a balance with local and national media and who gets the scoop first, so we counsel and work with our clients on the best approach. 

 4. In-person events are making a comeback

While virtual events were the norm during the pandemic, journalists are planning to attend more in-person events this year. This is great news as we see a resurgence in our media tour strategies given that in-person meetings had taken a dive during COVID. 

5. Millennials and Gen X are key targets

The report found that millennials and Gen X are the most reported target audiences for journalists. PR professionals should keep this in mind when pitching economic development stories and look for spokespeople who fit these demographics. You’ll often hear us ask for spokespeople who fit these demographics to discuss why they are living and working in a place.  

Overall, the Muck Rack State of Journalism Report highlights many of the key trends we see when it comes to landing stories about economic development efforts in the national media. It all comes down to the importance of personalization, exclusives and credible sources in media relations.   

If you are an EDO looking for an agency to speak with about national media trends, feel free to reach out to our team. It’s one of our favorite topics on how we can help support regions with the media coverage they need to showcase their community’s business attributes.  

Headshot photo of Susan Brake
Written by

Susan Brake