Getting Main Street communities in the news

As champions of Virginia’s traditional commercial districts, Main Street leaders can be effective marketers for their communities.  Working to earn coverage in local, regional, and national media outlets can help drive visitors and residents downtown.

You might have a weekend travel package that a newspaper from a more urban area would be interested in covering. For instance, The Washington Post gave the travel treatment to Fine, Funky Lynchburg, covering the offerings of the Hill City’s downtown. 

Don’t know where to start?  Assistance is available to help you get your community’s story into major markets.

The Virginia Toursim Corporation (VTC) works on a daily basis with travel writers and reporters from across the country. They maintain online resources for the press in the online press room, and if VTC staff know your community’s story, it makes it easier for them to work for you. Give them access to high-quality photographs, keep them up-to-date on your travel resources, and keep your events posted on: www.virginia.org.

Or you might have an event  more appropriate for local consumption.  Regional and state magazines such as Virginia Living and Blue Ridge Country have become glossier in recent years and now rival national publications. Meanwhile, local publications such as Richmond Magazine and The Piedmont Virginian can do double duty of raising awareness of local assets with visitors and locals alike.

The kickoff of an Advance Abingdon promotional effort incorporating outdoor scupture attracted attention from a regional A! Mazazine for the Arts as well as the Washington County News (Wolves back in Wof Hills). The effort raised awareness of the organization and its mission while calling attention to a legendary asset of the community.

What are you doing to keep your commercial district in the news?  Keep Virginia Main Street up-to-date on your news coverage, and we’ll share it on the blog.

Get noticed

Once you have designed and launched your Web site, your next task is to get it noticed. One of the top ways to do this is to make sure you show up in relevant Web searches.

If you are selling your charming and thriving business district, you will want to be sure that your Web site pops up when someone Googles the obvious things like “historic Virginia towns,” or “antiques + Virginia.” There are several ways to do this, some paid and some not.

When trying to make your Web site relevant to searches, free methods are called Organic Search Engine Optimization (OSEO). This article from Entrepreneur magazine gives a brief overview of some do’s and don’ts. Although the article is geared toward startup and small businesses, you can pretty much substitute “downtown” wherever it reads “business.”

The key to getting a high ranking is being relevant to the search keywords and having a high hit/response rate. To increase your pull from nearby travellers, make sure you show up when searches for nearby attractions are made. Examples might be “Blue Ridge Parkway,” “Floydfest,” or “Lake Gaston.”