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Posts Tagged ‘Quality Of Life’

Best Practice #6: A Practical Website Content Update Program

Readers of this series about best practices for economic development web programs will have noticed a common thread – the web is becoming ever more complex, and new methods are needed to manage the complexity in a holistic way.

Content Upkeep is Increasingly More Complex

That certainly applies to content updating. It used to be sufficient for the content of an economic development website to be updated “frequently” or “regularly.” But that’s not a sufficient guideline any more. There are just too many types of content needing attention.

The types of content managed by modern, competitive economic development departments ranges into social media, news releases, calendars and announcements, statistics and “soft” content such as stories, testimonials and quality-of-life information. Any of these can involve not just texts but the design of pages, posters and brochures or the production of videos and webcasts and podcasts.

Fresh Content Improves Website “Stickiness”

Any type of content can get old before you realize it, unless you have an effective content update program. And old content makes you uncompetitive. Why? Because of the powerful influence of search engines: Search engines love new content and tend to ignore (more…)

Economic Development Website ROI

The job of an economic development department is to increase the tax base by attracting and facilitating business growth. Why does the department need an investment attraction website to do this?

How can the department justify an investment in developing or enhancing a website, when funds for new initiatives are so hard to come by? In other words, what is the ROI?

The answer lies in articulating the critical role of economic development, realizing the unique tasks that can be supported by a website to carry out that role, and then evaluating the success of your site in supporting those tasks.

Advantages and Risks

First of all, economic development expenditures are justified by the need for a community to expand its tax base and re-invest in the quality of life for all who live there. An increased tax base is made possible by new and/or expanding businesses. They enable a community to sustain (more…)

Targeting the Creative Class Online

The creative class – entrepreneurs, designers, scientists, artists, performers, technologists and other knowledge workers – will lead economic growth in future. This thesis, originated by Richard Florida, is a foundation of economic-development practices today and has been discussed previously in Tech Trends (see “Business Retention Means People Retention,” March 10, 2009). Now we are seeing the theory being applied successfully by a growing number of communities.

Such communities have developed strategies to be “talent magnets,” especially for young professionals aged 25 to 44. They have paid attention to Florida’s research showing that any community that wants to improve its economy should look at how it stands with the three T’s of economic development—technology, talent, and tolerance. All are necessary conditions for attracting creative people, generating innovation and stimulating economic growth, according to Florida.

Whether you are fully in agreement with his ideas or not, your investment-attraction strategy needs to take into account the creative class. So does your website and all the communications related to it.

Here are three examples of communities that are successfully putting these ideas into practice.

Austin, Texas

Austin in recent years has made considerable investments in its quality of life. It is an open and tolerant city with lifestyle centers for cycling (more…)

The New Rules for Press Releases

News releases used to be written for, and sent to, only the media. Usually that meant the print media, and for economic development departments it meant print media concerned with investment attraction.

But the first rule of modern news releases is that they should no longer be targeted to traditional media only. A difficult economic climate and the advent of new technologies have combined to change modern strategies toward news releases for investment-attraction purposes.

Releases need to generate optimum returns on investment, so they should be written to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Decide beforehand what you want the release to achieve other than simply disseminating information. Do you want to impress site selectors with the dynamism of your community? Do you want local businesses and employees to continue to be confident that they are in the right place? Do you want government agencies to know about the sectors your community is fostering? In the age of the Web, all these audiences and more – potentially millions of people – have access to your release, unfiltered by the media.

You need to write for them. Write directly for your target audiences in addition to the media that you hope will also reach them. In particular, provide information that site selectors and business investors specifically look for. Present your news with accompanying data (more…)

Business Retention Means People Retention

Economic development used to be about going out and attracting a company, and pulling together incentive packages to land that company. But that is not where economic development is going in the future.

The focus is shifting toward raising awareness of the uniqueness of each community and its ability to retain and attract talented people who will contribute to creating more economic opportunities.

A growing number of communities have realized that their development time and effort needs to be spent developing people-based business retention strategies at the same time as they continue with efforts to attract site developers.

More attention is being given to creating a community environment that provides a heightened quality of life and quality of place. A high quality-of-life experience will be a significant factor in the attraction and retention of creative workers.

Urban theorist Richard Florida has noted that “access to talented and creative people determines where companies will choose to locate and grow, and this in turn changes the way cities can compete.” The theories of Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, affiliated (more…)