10 Jun 2015

5 content ideas for your economic development newsletter or blog

Alissa Sklar is the director of marketing for GIS Planning. She has extensive experience as a consultant, writer and educator in the fields of technology and communications. Dr. Sklar has a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts of Amherst, and has as worked closely with B2Bs and economic development agencies to assess, develop and implement social media strategies for business development.

If you are charged with writing up content for your economic development blog or newsletter, you may occasionally find yourself staring at a flashing cursor on a blank white screen. What to write about? It’s a question even the most creative economic development pro faces from time to time.


I work hard with our clients to help them market their locations with our various software solutions, and it occurred to me this was information most economic developers would find useful. With that in mind, here are 5 ideas for framing content in ways that will engage your readers:


1- Listicles. In other words: articles that are really lists. Sort of (ahem) like this one. Thank David Letterman, Gawker or Buzzfeed for this thematic framework, but the truth is that online readers like them for their brevity and clarity, and they work really well as social posts. There are lots of ways to use them in an economic development context: How about 11 Good Reasons to Invest in Anywheresville? 10 Surprising GIS Facts About OurState? Use your ZoomProspector Enterprise tool to list 5 Things Investors Should Know About Your Work Force (look at education attainment, housing options, drive time or proximity to academic institutions, for example), or list the 7 Biggest Employers in the County.

2- Business Profiles. Use your inside knowledge to write up profiles of local business owners and startups who have made a difference. Readers will be interested in learning more, and your business owners will love the publicity and recognition. Perhaps they have emerged as an important employer for your region, or are taking in interns from local high schools or community colleges. Maybe they have a product or service that makes a real difference in their industry, or highlights a previously undiscovered niche. Consider profiling the major or emerging industry clusters. Your SizeUp Local Business Intelligence (LBI) tool can be a tremendous asset in uncovering all this information - it’s a market intelligence tool you can use internally while also benefitting local businesses. See a live example here in Oklahoma City. 

GIS economic development infographic

3- Property or Site Profiles. Regular profiles of interesting, unusual or new available commercial properties and sites can increase awareness about the listings in your location. Use your ZoomProspector Enterprise property report links to get information about relevant site details, as well as GIS, labor force, supply chain logistics, and nearby businesses (check out a property report example right here).

4- Interesting time series facts. Sometimes there is so much data that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. One of the things our clients love most about our new Infographics is the way it offers analytical insight into their location. For example, the interactive time series data on age distribution in Ada County, Idaho (at left) tells a story of a community with lots of young families: from 2010-2012, the largest population group was those from 0-9 years old, while 2013 and 2014, those in the 30-39 took over. In Maricopa, AZ (see below), we can see a steady growth in employment in the health care and social services sector.

GIS economic development top industries by jobs

5- Maps that make your readers go “Wow!” Images communicate many things more effectively than text alone, and maps that integrate different kinds of data offer an instant snapshot of a dynamic community. Our Smart Mapping Intelligence Component (see examples here or here) instantly offers maps that showcase an interesting feature of a location, an industry cluster, transportation options, degree-granting colleges, and much more. And since all these maps are instantly and easily shareable, you have a beautiful jpeg to use in your blog, newsletter and social feeds. 

Texas GIS economic development incentives

Want to know more about ZoomProspector Enterprise, Intelligence Components or SizeUp LBI? Contact us today!


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