Promoting West Virginia

by admin on February 12, 2018 · 0 comments

First offered by The State Journal published by NCWV Media. NCWV is West Virginia’s leading news source for over 155 years, featuring in-depth coverage of news, sports and events.

The article is a marketing and social media tribute to the people of West Virginia. See State Journal.


Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state government agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University. Author of Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization available at  Amazon.


I’ve been coming to West Virginia for most of my adult life. I have a home in Preston County. I’ve traveled most of the state.

Question, does the state have a public relations issue?

Look, West Virginia is immensely beautiful. It may be the most scenic state in America. In addition, the people are congenial to a fault.

With West Virginians, what you see is what you get. They are friendly, engaging and charitable. I love the people. I love the land.

There is no other location where people fly the colors of their native state with such fervor. Everywhere you go, the West Virginia University flag and emblems are offered not so much as justifiable pride in a university, but endemic as to how they feel about their state.

When disasters hit, West Virginians pull together. The topography has always prompted a sense of self-reliance.

In my personal life, Mountaineer friends seem willing to drop everything to assist me.

So is there a problem?

Probably. Some of our social indicators as measured by various polls are not good. Too many leave the state to find work.

In my travels, I state that I’m from West Virginia. When someone then suggests a comment that is somewhat stereotypical, I fire back that you will not find nicer people in a more beautiful location.

West Virginia is diverse, so if you want mountains, it’s there in abundance. But the state is varied as a prosperous bedroom community for Washington, D.C., to the booming economy of Morgantown to growing areas in the Eastern and Northern Panhandles. The state capital of Charleston is beautiful.

Tourist areas attract millions.

But I repeat, it’s the people and mountains that make West Virginia worthy to call home.

Marketing WV

I can’t tell the state to embrace itself because it already does. For the love of God, we have our own theme song courtesy of John Denver.

But I can suggest that the state and every community needs to let the outside world know the advantages of living and investing here.

People outside of the state have stereotypes, and some of them are not in our best interest.

Everyone connected to West Virginia needs to take it upon themselves to project an image of engagement and pride.

West Virginia Pride—West Virginia Success is a motto that deserves consideration.

We are medical professionals, as well as coal miners. We are well represented by our academic degrees. I sat in a local bar and restaurant where the people next to us all had a doctorate or medical degrees.

But all of this is not the point; Whether you are in the lumber business or teaching at a university, we all are responsible for our own image.

Everyone and every business and institution needs to be outwardly bullish about who we are and what we represent.

We all need to be West Virginia proud. We need to market ourselves aggressively. We need to be bold. It needs to be the responsibility of every citizen.

And this does what? It brings people to our state as tourists. It brings in jobs. It prompts new people to buy homes. It attracts prosperity. It adds to the tax base.

Yep, some of the roads are inadequate and do not project the image we need. The state is trying to address this.

Visitors from Baltimore and D.C. (where we used to live and work) gush with favorable comments about the scenery and friendly people and suggest they want to move or invest, except for the unfavorable condition of the roads.

Appearance means everything when it comes to a reputation.

In Preston County, we are in between tourist areas in Maryland and the economic prosperity of Morgantown. Are we finding ways to tap into the hundreds of millions of tourist dollars invested in Western Maryland?

Do we market? Do we invest in fixed variable message signs along our expressways? Do we advertise in regional media? Do we aggressively engage in social media?

Are we creating video and audio podcasts? Is there a contest for the best local marketing efforts?

Do we bring in every Chamber of Commerce and teach marketing? Do we fund local marketing efforts? Is there a state-run center helping towns and counties to advertise?


West Virginians, you are unique in ways some don’t recognize. Don’t get that? Travel to other parts of the country and see if you don’t miss the congenial nature of the state.

It’s up to all of us to be West Virginia Proud and West Virginia Successful — not just because it markets the state, but because West Virginians have something unique.

Wherever I am, when I hear, “Take Me Home,” I understand.

Now, it’s up to all of us to teach that to the rest of the country.

Our prosperity is in our own hands.


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