Sharpen Your Competitive Edge with PR
The latest Construction Trade Survey was published this week, telling it how it is across the sector, straight from the horse’s mouth. It provides data based on the perceptions of those that have been at the rock face of keeping construction businesses afloat during recent lean times, and one of the take home headlines is that the sector is still doing better, echoing the economic figures issued recently by Markit and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But that good news is tempered by many notes of caution. Costs are rising, specialist skills are in short supply and the marketplace remains cautious…preventing forward planning thanks to a cloudy long-term forecast.
It’s a tough set of circumstances. All businesses need to plan ahead to ensure they have a healthy new business pipeline in place and the right resources to manage business levels when they convert active sales leads. But the reluctance to commit to new projects, new ventures or new staff is understandable: it’s been a tough few years for many and we’re still walking the tightrope of recovery without a safety net.
So how does all of this affect the way you formulate your marketing plans? It certainly doesn’t mean you should keep your marketing powder dry until the recovery is on stronger ground – by then the competition may have stolen a march on your target market and you’ll be playing catch up. Instead it means that you should be looking for a tactical approach that can give you maximum impact for minimum financial investment and the marketing discipline that traditionally meets that brief is PR.
But hold on a minute…that doesn’t mean huge swathes of publicity and endless sales leads for free. There is an investment of time and skills required which most companies will need to buy in. However, you get a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you integrate online and offline PR to leverage maximum value.
So how do you do that?
- Ensure you create online versions of any press articles you generate to populate the news section of your website, generate content and drive SEO
- Use social media to circulate any hard copy press coverage you may have
- Include third party endorsements in your press releases and articles to make them more credible
- Use social media for competitions and surveys that will help you engage with potential customers and could provide news stories
- Don’t forget to use PR as a selling tool – ask customers if they’ve seen your article in a key trade magazine or if they’re following you on Twitter yet
These are just a few pointers to help you see how an intelligent and integrated approach to PR can support your business as the recovery gathers pace. In a challenging market where growth is fragile, PR can help you sharpen your competitive edge.