Whether you’re a large, international contractor or a local firm with a small office, publicity is a key tool for generating awareness. To be effective, though, PR needs to be consistent. Appearing in the local paper once every few months isn’t going to go very far when it comes to brand recognition. But there are only so many project milestones, so how do you generate news during the months or weeks when there isn’t anything significant happening on your projects? Here are three tips:
1. Position company execs as thought leaders
Tap into the knowledge of company executives – ask them things like what trends they’re seeing in the industry, what they’re hearing from their peers, what their predictions are for where the industry is going – and offer their insights to local and trade publications in the form of an interview or contributed article.
You can also look at media outlets’ editorial calendars to see what topics they plan to cover in upcoming issues. See which topics are a good fit and reach out with expert tips and takeaways. For example, if you see an outlet plans to cover National Safety Week, you could offer an article on tips for improving worksite safety or a roundup of the latest safety innovations and tools.
2. Pick up the phone and call project managers
Project managers are busy overseeing a number of different things on the jobsite – and because they have been working on the project since the beginning phases of preconstruction and design, they might overlook a unique aspect that has major potential as a news story. Pick up the phone and give them a call – or drive over to meet them on the jobsite – and ask them what they’re working on, what’s different or challenging about this job, if it’s been done before, etc. These are the kinds of details that, while they may seem mundane or ordinary to a project manager, can make a story. For example, are they using a different delivery method for this project that hasn’t been adopted industry-wide yet? Or are they using unique materials that offer benefits to the end user, like improved patient experience in a hospital? You’ll never know until you ask.
3. Consider the visuals
Don’t forget about TV in your pitching efforts. Consider the visuals that may go along with each story. If there’s something interesting taking place on a jobsite that could be captured visually – like a crane lifting the exterior skin of the building into place or a unique design feature being installed – consider inviting local TV to come out and cover it.
Local publications often have a section for photo slideshows, which allow you to show a more personal side of the company. Next time there’s a company-wide day of service or an industry networking event, take some photos.
For more PR tips for the CRE/construction industry, take a look at this blog from Anthony about turning “negative” stories into positives.