Marketing Hometown America

Find Your Niche!

The Marketing Hometown America program centers around collaborative conversations between members of Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s People Attraction team and local steering committees. By focusing on what attributes they can enhance that will set them apart, residents hold discussions to identify their community’s strengths and assets that could potentially attract tourists and new residents. In addition, these steering committees create goals, stemming from the group discussions, and action plans to pursue on a community-wide level.


Individuals who participate in the Marketing Hometown America process will:

  • Understand how a community can market itself to attract and retain residents
  • Learn and practice the skills of positive community dialogue
  • Identify what newcomers are looking for as they relocate to rural communities
  • Discover often-overlooked local assets that attract newcomers
  • Build and implement marketing action plans to successfully market their community
  • Understand the importance of a positive imagine via websites and social media
  • Increase their capacity to address future issues through community engagement practices

Program Overview

Participants may have multiple roles, from serving as a community champion to assisting with implementation of a community action. Each role is important:

Community Champions (1-2 people)

These individuals encourage community participation and serve as the spark to pull together a steering committee for the program

Steering Committee (5-7 people)

Oversee and guide the process

Conversation Hosts (8-15 people, depending on the size of the community)

Lead four small-group community conversations over a six-week period at a place and time that is convenient for the team

Community Conversation Participants (8-12 people per group)

Participate in the four community conversations and develop ideas for the community plan based on the those interactions

MHA Extension Coach

Works with the steering committee to implement the program, trains the community conversation hosts, provides materials and coordination support, and attends the launch, action forum and huddles

What does the Program Cover?

The core of the program is the four small group community conversations that build on each other. These activities lead community members to fresh ideas that help build a vision and take actions to help grow the community. A public launch event is held to announce the program, then small groups participate in the following sessions:

  • Session 1: What is our connection to this community?
  • Session 2: How does our community stack up?
  • Session 3: Why would people want to move here?
  • Session 4: Action steps to promote our community

To share ideas, an action forum brings everyone together where a master plan with action steps is developed. Action teams implement the ideas and participate in huddles where they check in, review and revise the actions to reach a successful outcome.

How long does it Take?

Overall the process can take five to seven months, with follow-up actions taking another six to nine months.

You could expect:

  • 4-6 weeks to bring together a steering committee
  • 2-3 weeks to plan and implement the conversation host recruitment and training
  • 1 or 2 weeks after the training, the launch can be held
  • 1 or 2 weeks after the launch is completed, the sessions often begin
    • Typically, it works well to have a session each week for four consecutive weeks
  • Following the last session, allow at least one week before hosting the action forum
  • After the forum, action teams meet for six to nine months to complete the projects


The program costs $2,000, which covers all program materials, Extension Educator community training and travel costs. If several communities want to partner, or if a county-wide program is needed, additional conversations may be needed to determine the amount of materials required and added travel costs.

Marketing Hometown America is not university-directed. As residents know their towns best, this program is owned by the community, decisions are made by community members, and their hometown becomes a place where people, young and old alike, want to live, work, play.

Headshot of Jamie Bright.


Contact the People and Attraction Team Lead, Jamie Bright