In an attempt to drum up more and better press for economic development opportunities in the county, the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA) is bringing a group of journalists in to show them close up why they should write great things about Guilford County and why it’s perfect for business expansion and relocation.
Usually, economic development officials will bring in site consultants and industry leaders for visits – but the latest twist on that theme is that Guilford County is going directly after the people who cover economic development in the media.
In 2019, some journalists will be brought here for a group visit and there are expected to be individual visits as well. The journalists will no doubt be treated very well while here so they’ll leave with a good impression.
Also, as part of that same effort to increase positive media coverage for Guilford County, GCEDA officials are going on a “New York Mission” to meet with journalists who cover business in an attempt to get them to take notice of this area and keep it in mind when they write about economic development.
On the New York trip, GCEDA officials will also meet with site consultants and industry leaders.
Over the years, Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County haven’t always been portrayed in the best light in the national media and this new outreach program is meant to help remedy that. The journalists who will be brought in to explore – and hopefully be smitten with – Guilford County haven’t been named yet, but Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen said they will be journalists of just the type one would expect.
“They could write for a site selection magazine or a trade publication or a national publication,” Christensen said. “It could be any of those.”
He said that, hopefully, he and other advocates for this area can create awareness on the trip to New York, but he said he’s really looking forward to having the journalists visit Guilford County.
“It’s always best when they can come here,” he said.
According to Christensen, the media coverage of this area could be better when it comes to business publications.
The State of North Carolina did get a big feather in its cap recently when Forbesmagazine for the second year in a row chose the state as the Best State for Business.
High Point Economic Development Corp. President Loren Hill said positive national media coverage can reap real benefits. He said that when Amazon began looking for a location for its highly sought after second headquarters last year, financial network CNBC said the Greensboro-High Point area had – along with Charlotte and Raleigh – the best chance of landing that project. Hill said that even though Guilford County wasn’t chosen, the publicity was excellent.
Hill said the Publix Super Markets distribution center that’s coming to Guilford County had the same effect.
“When Publix announced it was coming here, that got a lot of attention,” he said.
Guilford County is working with a consulting firm DCI on the initiative. DCI is a New York-based economic development marketing agency that will help both with bringing journalists to Guilford County and setting up the meetings in New York.
The new effort to get the attention of journalists is part of a broader public relations campaign GCEDA began in mid-2018. GCEDA is paying DCI $120,000, over the course of a year, for its services, which in many cases involve enhancing the image of Guilford County and raising its national profile.
A notable and obvious oversight of the initiative is that there are apparently no plans to wine and dine any of the fine journalists that already cover the Guilford County area extensively on a regular basis and provide excellent public relations for the business community. One local editor also pointed out that no editors of publications currently covering Guilford County would be getting the royal treatment from the group either.