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"If you don’t toot your own horn, who will?" -Mom

Mom always knew best. She knew we had faults, but even so, she was always in our corner. And when we forgot how great we were, she reminded us. If Mom were a community marketing strategist, she’d be CommunityLink. Our motto (and hers): Tell your story. If you don’t, nobody else will. And if they do, it won’t be the best version.

Our hometowns are, in so many ways, at the foundations of our lives. These are the places that held the important, early lessons, joys and triumphs; where we learned right from wrong, and where we experienced the magic of childhood from the string of a kite or a head-first dive into a pile of golden leaves. These are the places where we made our first friend, got our first bloody nose, had our first kiss. And these are the places—no matter where we go in the world—that we always call home.

Our own hometown—Pinckneyville (pop. 5,500)—nestled between the beans, corn, wheat, and coalfields of southern Illinois, is the kind of place where neighbors routinely lend a hand; doors are routinely left unlocked, and where home and hearth matter more than title or position.

CommunityLink is in the business of celebrating life in small-town America, reminding those who live here that they’ve made a great choice, while giving great reasons to folks thinking of moving or investing here. To find the good and praise it is at the core of our work, and our signature product, 10-Great Reasons, puts America’s best communities in their rightful position—up high, out-front, and on a pedestal.

10 Great Reasons uses a professionally developed, highly customized print, video, and webbased campaign to tell your story, both internally and externally. Both audiences need to see the value you place on your community, because it’s the first step in creating a value proposition to which both audiences will respond. We do this in an easily digestible, accessible way. Instead of waxing poetic over the myriad of attributes that make up your hometown, we choose only ten. People can get their arms around 10; they get lost in more than that. Our professional copywriters then craft a short tribute to each of these 10-Great Reasons. Then we work with local photographers, alongside our own award-winning photographers, to capture the images that best represent your community. We create a web-based overview video package designed to encapsulate the essence of your hometown, along with a series of residents’ perspectives on each of the 10-Great Reasons. Your audience will enjoy discovering or rediscovering your community through the 10-Great Reasons website and regional CommunityLink portal. We then cap it all off with a beautiful 8 by 8 inch, lavishly produced 16-page, 4-color booklet distributed through high-traffic locations in your community, with a reserve set-aside for send-outs to prospective relocation candidates.

America, it’s time for your ‘selfie.’ Let’s talk today about how CommunityLink can help to more effectively market your community, both to those who already call it home, and to those who— with a little nudge—just might.

Get in touch: 618-357-8653 or karen.smith@communitylink.com.

Why is 10GR important to the community?
It is vitally important to promote your community both to those who already live there and to those considering your community as their potential hometown. All communities suffer population attrition through age, corporate relocation, and the exodus of youth. But small communities, in particular, must be vigilant in maintaining a dynamic brand that will constantly position their offerings attractively in order to retain existing residents, appeal to new ones, and offset natural attrition. Community marketing is very similar to marketing a product or a service; it is important to create—and regularly reinforce— positive messaging geared toward both your internal and external audience members.
What other groups are endorsing 10GR?
Most communities have a number of organizations that play an important role in promoting the best interests of the greater community. These may include the municipal leadership, the school district, the chamber of commerce, the ministerial alliance, the library, the Sheriff’s office, the local hospital, or the community foundation. We’ve worked hard to create a solid marketing strategy for your community, but your endorsement is key to the success of your 10GR campaign because you represent local credibility and trust in your community. The business community and other stakeholders in your community’s success look to you for leadership on projects of this scope and scale.
Who comes up with the 10 great reasons?
We pair our professional writers and editors with a small committee formed from members from within your community. We recommend a small but versatile group consisting of people from various walks of life, and limited to 7 or 8 people. We also find it useful to leverage social media, like Facebook, to engage your community in the process. Though many people will share their ideas, the committee ultimately decides.
Who writes the copy?
Our professional copywriters will work to produce your copy.
Who does the photography?
We conduct a well-publicized photo contest to engage all interested members of your community. The contest stipulates that the winner in each of ten categories will win a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant, while the overall winner will be entered into a regional competition for valuable prizes including GoPro Hero Cameras, iPads, and hometown grocery store shopping sprees.
How much does it cost?
The basic 10 Great Reasons program is underwritten entirely by local business sponsors, but includes opportunities for specialized video marketing services typically underwritten by the City, County, or Economic Development Commission.
What is the distribution cycle?
The printed piece associated with 10GR is done annually. It is highly recommended that your 10 Great Reasons be updated each year, even if the reasons themselves remain the same. Keeping your community branding fresh is an important key to creating and maintaining interest in your community. You want people to notice your strengths. You want people talking about those strengths.
Why is video so important to 10GR?
The 10GR Community Marketing System works on a multimedia platform that touches your audience through print, web, mobile, and video. While the interaction between these media is key, video is by far the most compelling storytelling medium at our disposal today. Telling your story in CommunityLink's contemporary video style—short, punchy, personal—gives you the best chance to move your audience to action.
What are the video options for 10GR?
1. We offer the CommunityLink Sampler, a 3-film package featuring a well-rounded preview of your community’s primary strengths, for $5,000. Each of the three segments are approximately 3-minutes in length, and are professionally shot, edited, and scored. Aerial videography is typically employed, and we use authentic voices from your community.

2. If you prefer to take it one at a time, our 3-minute community overview videos are available for $2,500 each, á la carte. You may select additional specialty video edited from availably shot footage at very reasonable rates, quoted per your request.

3. Though it isn’t a requirement of 10GR, we feel that each of your ten reasons deserve to be showcased with professional community filmmaking, and so we offer 60-90 second overview videos of your reasons for $750 apiece. These typically consist of an interview with an appropriate spokesperson for each reason, paired to ‘B-roll’ footage of supporting visuals, and matched to a well-chosen music bed.
Is sponsorship exclusive per business category?
In order to guarantee solid top of mind exposure to each of your 10GR sponsors—those folks who step up to support the project—it is important for them to ‘own’ the category. We will present the opportunity to all interested parties in your community, but reserve the positions on a first-come-first-service basis.
What are the sponsorship options?
Basic print and web sponsorship of the 10GR program is $895 per year. Sponsors may also purchase video spots from $350 to $2,500, or create a unique custom solution with our professional filmmaking team on a custom-bid basis.
Can I choose placement?
Yes, but—again—this is on a first-come-first-served basis. For example, if education is one of your 10-reasons, you may find that one of your banks or even schools may wish to sponsor that section.
Who creates my sponsorship story?
The CommunityLink content team, consisting of professional copywriters, editors, and digital artists will work with you from a few key insights about your business, as well as independent research we’ll do on your behalf.
Is there a non-profit discount?
Yes. We believe that organizations meeting the formal definition of a 501(c) are already making an important investment in your community. So we extend a 20% discount for those qualified supporters.
Who is the target audience of 10GR?
We think it’s important to market your community both internally to residential stakeholders, and externally to prospective stakeholders. Therefore, we position your print media in high traffic community locations to remind locals what a great community they really have, while we badge your online media on leading community websites and build traffic to it through professional search engine optimization (SEO) and regional pay-per-click (PPC).
How long does it take?
From start to finish, approximately 90 days.
How many copies of the print piece?
1,500 copies is the default quantity, however, additional copies may be ordered for a nominal fee.
How are the printed pieces distributed?
We pre-select high-traffic distribution points and carefully work with those partners to display and distribute your printed piece. Typically, each distribution partner will receive between 20 and 200 copies of the printed piece.
Where is the website seen?
Like the print distribution partners, we pre-select the highest-traffic community websites, typically including city offices, county offices, schools, libraries, chamber of commerce, community foundation, and others. We also work with local leaders who maintain active Facebook pages to promote your 10GR website.
How will the website be promoted?
Through active SEO and PPC, as well as through social media.
What are the features of the regional 10GR portal?
This is a website designed to serve as a broad-top, regional funnel for those searching for livability information in the Southern Illinois region, and will give access to any participating community’s 10GR website, as well as searchability, by geographic position or reasons, of the entire region. Additionally, users will have convenient access to a range of online resources offered by your community.
How many communities in my region are participating?
We have just launched 10GR in Southern Illinois, and so far we have qualified seven communities for participation.
What does it mean to be an endorsing partner?
It means that organization believes in the value proposition generated by 10GR and is willing to help champion the program in the community with letters of introduction. For consideration of Endorsing Partnership, CommunityLink will provide special recognition on the printed piece and on the website.
Can we customize our look?
Your reasons will be represented with your own local photographs, which will be unlike any others, and your colors may be customized. Many communities choose to mirror the colors of their local high schools.
Can the piece be printed locally?
Yes. It must be within our competitive pricing, and the printer must meet our high standards.
Can we obtain more copies later?
Yes.
What is the cost for additional copies?
Additional copies are priced accordingly to the matrix here.
Can we make changes to our 10GR community website?
Yes. You will have back-end control of your website and we include training on our content management system (CMS).
How does the website look on mobile devices?
Gorgeous. All of our websites are ‘responsive,’ which means they adjust to look best on whatever device they are viewed.
Will the videos play on mobile devices?
Yes. Beautifully.
May we use the video for our purposes?
Be our guest.
Is there a link to our community website?
Yes, on the Regional 10GR Portal, as well as on your local 10GR site.
Can you design a website for us?
Of course. Just give us a call, and we’ll give you a custom quote.