Chapter 3: Strategic Messaging

How the Pros Do It: Selling #LifeinCbus to Millennials

The mission: reach out to young professionals in specific cities with high relocation potential to let them know what Columbus, Ohio, has to offer and plant seeds about the city as a great place to live and work. Experience Columbus, a destination marketing organization focused on promoting the city to visitors, teamed up with Fahlgren Mortine to tackle this challenge. They selected a target audience:

  • millennials aged 25-30 with influence in their social circles who were entrepreneurial, creative and willing to relocate in the next three to five years

Research on the audience showed that they relied heavily on the advice of friends and word of mouth, so a campaign was built to encourage people to share their authentic experiences about #LifeinCbus. Traditional advertising launched the #LifeinCbus hashtag, and the website aggregated organic content from Instagram and Twitter as well as local media outlets. The campaign took a risk putting the messaging in the hands of millennials living and working in Columbus. But it paid off when Columbus millennials began sharing authentic messages highlighting what they loved about living and working in Central Ohio. The campaign could then amplify those messages with paid advertising. Understanding that long commute times and high cost of living were pain points for young transitionals in the target areas of Chicago and Washington, D.C., the campaign developed a video and highlighting messages like “Where Cost of Living is More Living Than Cost” and “Where Standing Out Never Means Standing Alone.” The #LifeinCbus campaign found messages that resonated by understanding its target audience – where those people want to get information, what sources they trust and what matters to them. Read an Experience Columbus blog post about this campaign.

LifeinCbus website
The #LifeinCbus website aggregates content posted to the hashtag on social media.


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Write Like a PR Pro by Mary Sterenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.