To promote your town nowadays, you've got to have a website. Entrepreneurs thinking of coming to town will Google you, and if they can't find good info online, they're going to think your local economy is as 1990 as your Web presence.
The Chamber of Commerce of Owensboro, Kentucky, has a pretty snappy website. They have a subdomain for the local economic development corporation. But they also figured out something every blogger knows: there are splendid free tools out there that let you create quick updates with minimal tech knowledge. Check out their economic development blog, which uses Blogger, the same online software that brings you the Madville Times every day. They have lots of links, but alas, they've disabled comments. Don't people know interaction is good for marketing?
Ah, but you can get some interaction at the Owensboro EDC's YouTube channel! Comments are open, so you can tell them what a great idea their downtown revitalization project is. It's all part of the Downtown Owensboro Placemaking Initiative, something Madison could use. Hmm... making their Veterans Boulevard downtown area more "urban, walkable, and mixed use," creating a market square to permanantly house the farmers' market, creating more green space, bringing a hotel and events center to downtown instead of the city periphery... where have we heard ideas like that before*?
And I can't begrudge the Owensboro EDC a commentless blog when that blog links to three Owensboro Facebook pages: the Owensboro EDC Group, the Downtown Owensboro Group, and the Society of Owensboro Alumni Group. Yes, an alumni group, so folks who've moved away can keep in touch with what's going on in in their hometown. Talk about a great marketing tool: all those alumni can network, and the city gets a nice online rolodex for fundraising for cool projects. That's how you put the Web to work to promote your town.
*Yes, when Dwaine Chapel retires, I will apply for his job.
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