Our recent research, Construction Media Index, identifies communication channels used by the key decision makers in the 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.
The research highlighted the popularity of Construction News across all sectors (Architects, Engineers, Civil Engineers, Main Contractors and Roofing Contractors). With online readership winning over hardcopy, highlighting the revolution publishing has experienced since the adoption of digital communications and hand-held devices. The research also highlighted the popularity of the Construction News website and eNews.
With this in mind I asked Tom Fitzpatrick, news editor of Construction News for his thoughts on these findings and why he thinks Construction News is achieving such success.
Q: How has Construction News had to evolve to meet the demands of digital communications and the adoption of hand-held devices?
We no longer think of our audience as a readership in the traditional sense. We aim to reach our audience through a variety of channels; alongside print, we are publishing and engaging through email newsletters, social media and the Construction News website: www.cnplus.co.uk.
Construction is a very mobile industry and CN looks to meet the information needs of those who work in the industry by reaching them on their smartphones, tablets or laptops – through breaking news emails, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as leading the news agenda with the biggest stories being published on our website days before they are published in the magazine.
This doesn’t mean taking any value away from the print product, but simply meeting the expectations of an on-the-go and increasingly tech-savvy audience.
Q: Publishing has seen a shift from hardcopy to online readership, what do you think sets Construction News apart from other online journals?
We have instigated an ‘online-first’ editorial policy, which means that unless there is a specific reason why a story can’t be published online first (for example if it’s under embargo for a certain time) then we aim to run it on cnplus.co.uk as soon as it’s ready to go. This has reduced the need for a traditional ‘press day’ and means readers can expect to see content produced online throughout the week, rather than heavily weighted to one or two days around press day in its traditional sense.
Our strong brand and heritage as the champion for the construction industry as well as initiatives such as our recent #loveconstruction campaign have helped increase our engagement with readers online. We are campaigning through social media and encouraging reader interaction, but also producing far more content than we can fit in the weekly magazine, with up to 10 news stories a day, as well as in-depth data and forecasts, project reports, an SME hub and more.
Q: Construction News’ website and eNews also ranked well in the CMI 2013 research. Do you think there has been a blurring of boundaries between the online journal, website and eNews?
CN tries to adapt its content to the digital/print channels, but we acknowledge that to lead the news agenda and stay ahead of competitors you have to do so by focusing online first. The way in which you communicate with your readers and users – be it in their inbox or on our homepage – necessitates a certain type of content, or amount of content, but ultimately the goal is to invite as many people as possible to benefit from the valuable content CN provides.
Q: Roughly how many people open your daily eNews?
Typical open rates for our daily news emails regularly exceed 25% which is really good for a daily B2B email. For breaking news emails this is often higher, around or above 30%.
Q: How would you describe your online communications for readers?
Timely, trusted, informative and insightful, in order for readers to take action on the back of the content that will help their business perform better.
Q: What is the strategy for Construction News going forward? Will there be greater emphasis on online?
Yes, we are changing our website to make navigation more user-friendly and to increase the dedicated landing pages on specific companies where readers can find everything they need to know about the UK’s biggest contractors, as well as introducing a new channel on the website dedicated to clients in the industry. All our features, project reports and data analysis are now on the website ahead of publication in print and we have a dedicated SME Hub online.
We send a daily newsletter which is packed full of news, features, opinion, picture galleries and data. We send breaking newsletters on the biggest stories each week, as well as regional and sector alerts tailored for individual reader preferences.
We are giving large companies the opportunity to subscribe as corporate customers which increases the value of CN throughout their business.
Our team now has more than 30,000 Twitter followers, a community of more than 30,000 people on LinkedIn and we enjoy talking with our readers via social media. We will ensure that the content readers want is accessible to them on the devices and at the time they choose, as often as possible.
- Communicating with Construction Industry Decision Makers – making the right media choices
- Communicating with Construction Industry Decision Makers – an integrated strategy
- Communicating with Construction Industry Decision makers: PR in a digital age
- Understanding the different players in the industry – Architects
- Understanding the different players in the industry – Civil engineers
- Understanding the different players in the industry – Structural Engineers
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 focuses 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.