Friday, June 24, 2022
Lynette Von Minden

HOW PUBLIC RELATIONS ANSWERS THE CALL TO ELEVATE YOUR PROFILE AND ENHANCE YOUR REPUTATION IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Nearly everyone has heard of public relations. However, far fewer people understand what PR really is and why it’s one of the most important and cost-effective marketing tools. That said, PR’s inherent mystique is one reason it can have such an impact.

WHY SHOULD PR BE A PRIORITY?

PR helps businesses, organizations and brands communicate positive messages about themselves to their most important audiences – customers, employees and other external and internal stakeholders. When done right, PR appears objective and transparent. Unlike a paid advertisement that’s obviously trying to sell goods or services, PR is far more subtle. It uses both earned media (third-party press coverage, social media mentions, product reviews) and owned media (your own social media channels, website, blog) to share content that gives your audience the answers to:

  1. What makes you special, unique or trustworthy.
  2. Why they should choose to do business with you instead of with your competition.
  3. How working with you can answer their needs or help them achieve their own personal goals or desires.

Crisis management is also an important element of any PR program. At any time, an incident or problem could potentially damage your reputation and affect profitability – and that’s especially true in the risk-inherent construction industry. That’s why PR professionals become ingrained in the industries they serve, monitoring the news, understanding the current business climate and staying on top of trends. They need to anticipate situations before they happen and either take advantage of them to showcase their companies’ best attributes or defuse any possible negativity.

PR is a carefully thought-out process. Over time, effective PR influences people – often, without them even realizing it. The combined impact of positive, educational and entertaining news stories, interviews and other content gradually improves awareness and perceptions of your company, brand, product or service while simultaneously enhancing credibility and reputation.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE PR WORK HARDER?

Here are a handful of starter questions you might ask yourself to make sure your PR efforts more impactful and meaningful:

Are you focusing too much on yourself?

It’s important in PR to know your audience and their pain points – what are they struggling with, what could make their lives easier or help them do their jobs better/faster. In today’s construction industry, that might be the ongoing labor shortage, lingering COVID-related supply issues or sustainability challenges. In other words, don’t just talk about yourself. Make your communications, like press releases, case studies and social media posts, about the benefits your products and services have to offer, circling back to your audience’s pain points.

Have you nurtured your media relationships recently?

In today’s digital age, media for construction is constantly looking for content to “feed the machine.” Instead of only publishing a quarterly or monthly print publication, they’re now producing a broad range of online content, such as e-newsletters, webinars, industry reports, social media posts and blogs. As a result, most are constantly looking for interesting content ideas, experts to interview, data and insights to share.

 

Are you making the most of every opportunity?

Construction editors know who the players are in their industry, and they have the option of reaching out to various companies to get the information and content they need. They gravitate toward the PR pros who respond quickly, take the time to understand what they need and fulfill their requests well before their deadlines. That means not only asking the right questions and determining the best approach, but also understanding that media wants to inform, educate and entertain their readers or followers. What can you offer that your competitors can’t?

 

Do you know what makes great content?

Your construction media partners aren’t in this business to give you free advertising. Crafting an article with numerous references to your “industry-leading products” or “culture of innovation” isn’t going to win you any points with editors. Don’t submit heavily promotional content about how great you are. Content’s value comes from having the opportunity to showcase your company and its staff as experts in your field who understand what the publication’s readers are experiencing right now. That’s how you build credibility and name recognition.

 

Are you weaving your key messages into everything you do?

While it’s necessary to create content that appears objective and not self-serving, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to incorporate key messages about your company, product or service. What do you want your audience to know about you the most? What are your core values? What’s your mission? How do you approach your business? Create a list of key messages and try to work at least some of them into every piece of content you generate.

 

How many new ways have you used to share your content?

Gone are the days when PR consisted solely of press releases, articles and interviews. Today, it’s all about personal experiences and shared perspectives. As more people research products online before making purchases, PR has evolved to include hybrid events (both in person and live streamed), webinars, videos, podcasts and much more. Influencer marketing – hiring an influential person in your industry with a strong social media following – can also help you reach potential customers you may not be able to reach via traditional PR strategies.

Are you doing it all?

Not every company or product is a good fit with every PR strategy or tactic. Maybe you don’t have the bandwidth to start a regular podcast right now or host a big event. That’s OK. Keep your mind open to new ideas and content that could have a positive impact and determine which ones work best for you now – and which ones you might want to tackle in the future.

 

Have you been measuring the response?

PR has always been difficult to quantify. It’s hard to know how many people read that article you wrote and pitched to a construction magazine, and even harder to know if it influenced them in any way. Still, it’s important to track how much content you’re putting out there and its potential reach. PR isn’t an exact science, but measuring what you can is the best way to determine if your efforts are having an impact. And if they’re not, you can change your approach.


STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? WE CAN HELP.

Public relations isn’t something you can do in your spare time. It takes a dedicated, consistent effort to build relationships, find opportunities and follow through. To create a thorough PR plan that includes key messages, engaging content, ongoing communication with the media, as well as measurement and reporting, you must invest time and resources. That’s when PR can truly help you make a Real Connection™ with your industry editors and your audience. Give us a call or drop us an email when you’re ready to talk.

 


Jason Schmaderer
VP/Account Director
jasons@swansonrussell.com
402-437-6421