Our recent research, Construction Media Index, identifies communication channels used by the key decision makers in UK construction industry. It looks at the readership of hardcopy and online trade journals, industry blogs and websites and the use of product directories, as well as attendance of technical seminars. It also provides an insight into Twitter and LinkedIn usage for work and APPs.

In this blog we look at the trends indicated by the research and interview leading communications agency Ridgemount PR asking them to comment on the findings, drawing on their experiences of communicating with construction industry key decision makers.

Anna Hern from Ridgemount PR is a strong believer that ‘Content is King’ so I wanted to ask her how PR has changed in this digital age and whether the press release is still relevant? Below are her answers:

Q: The CMI 2013 research demonstrates that overall online journal readership is more popular than hardcopy (except for Roofing Contractors). With online journals establishing themselves how has your working relationship with leading construction journals changed?

Our relationship with the journals – or rather with the editorial teams – has not really changed.  The printed journals remain very valuable to our clients, so our normal process of building good relationships and understanding what each journal needs has not changed.  What has changed is the range of opportunity available: many of the journals we target now also have web pages, blogs or social media feeds.  All of these need content too, and we will engage with the editors of these platforms in the same way that we have always worked with journalists.

Q: With the advent of the ‘digital age’ and a greater choice of communication channels is the press release still relevant?

It can be – depending on what you are trying to promote.  The widely distributed press release can still be a quick and easy way of distributing news items to a wide audience.

Q: Our research shows that social media is now established as a work tool, with professionals using it to network and for industry news, how has this impacted on the delivery of a communications/PR campaign?

Social media offers a whole range of new possibilities for the PR profession and it would be hard to imagine a PR programme that does not include some social media channels within the planned activity.

One of the most important aspects of this development is that it allows us to communicate directly with our clients’ audiences.  This is both a huge opportunity and a challenge. It requires us to have a hugely in-depth understanding of our clients’ business, the concerns of their customers and the wider industry environment.  Where we are running, for example, a Twitter account on behalf of our client, we all need to be sure that we are able to distribute relevant and engaging content for the audience.

We also use e-newsletters as a regular communication channel.  These can be a very persuasive tool provided that the content is relevant and stimulating for the audience.  Once you are marked as spam you have lost that contact for ever, so it is vital to keep the quality of content high.

The key to using these channels effectively is integration. It is important to ensure that your messages are consistent and that any promotional campaign exploits all the available channels properly.

If you are doing your job well, then it will be possible to demonstrate the value of the PR programme to the client.  The in-depth analytics freely available allow us, for the first time, to see who is reading what content – and that is an unbeatable way to evaluate the success of your communications.

Q: ‘Content is King’ – how do you ensure content is relevant and of value?

Knowledge and technique.  We specialise in construction so our whole team is constantly referring to the trade media and constantly monitoring news sources to keep in touch with what is happening in the market.  This means that content generated by us will be up to date with industry developments and informed by an understanding of the market context within which our clients are operating.

Writing technique, however, is just as important. When we recruit, we focus primarily on the writing quality of our team: which is why we employ experienced journalists as well as career PR professionals.  Pleasing our clients is about delivering well informed, well-written editorial content that appeals to their market and results in engagement, interest and, ultimately, sales.

Further reading:

The Construction Media Index

Purchase online now!

The Construction Media Index report, now in its third year, is the only impartial research report for the construction industry on traditional and digital communication channels.

The four key reports, each containing over 150 charts, looks at communication channels for Architects, Civil Engineers, Main Contractors and Roofing Contractors. The research reviews online and hardcopy journal readership, usage of; websites, blogs, eNews, social networks, video and webinars, Apps and QR codes, technical seminars, product directories and devices used.

There is a detailed, impartial report on journal readership and another that focusses on digital communications and a further 8 reports that look at journal readership for key sectors. In total the report consists of 14 sections that can be bought separately or as a set. The whole report contains over 1500 charts of data, for which 550 targeted telephone interviews were conducted during April 2013.

Ridgemount PR

Ridgemount PR run effective and thought provoking public relations campaigns in the UK construction industry and beyond. For over twenty years Ridgemount Public Relations has built its success on consistent core values.

Ridgemount PR promise to:

  • deliver impressive media coverage for our clients
  • produce informed and well-written content for all communication channels
  • think strategically and understand our clients’ markets
  • work seamlessly with other specialists to produce integrated marketing campaigns
  • work with honesty and integrity
  • have fun doing it

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