When PR pushes on an open door
The other day an industry colleague asked me to share a few of my favourite ways that manufacturers of construction products can gain press coverage through PR. My first thought was: well, that’s an insensitive request because the only thing you have to do is use a PR agency that specialises in the construction sector.
Of course they knew that we specialise in the construction sector, which is why clients come to us for ideas on how to gain coverage. So, in the interests of sharing knowledge, here are our top three methods of gaining maximum press coverage:
Yes, we know, everyone wants to be in Construction News (CN), Architects Journal, Building and the other top titles. Getting your products in CN and the others is possible but you need to be prepared to offer the editor exclusivity. There’s no point in touting around a press release to all the construction titles and then expecting them all to run it. If it’s a worthy project, then approach the relevant journalist at CN, Building, Building Design, Dezeen, Architects Journal, plus others, and offer them an exclusive on the story.
It’s back to the age-old conundrum of quantity over quality. Give one editor exclusivity and you’ll appear in the best construction journal in the industry. You have to ask: is that a price worth paying compared to sending your press release to every magazine you can think of, with the result that none of them run it?
Invest in photography
A photograph can make all the difference if you are looking to gain coverage for your product. It shouldn’t look too ‘staged’ – editors are unlikely to use a photograph if it doesn’t reflect real life. At the other end of the scale, try avoiding the muddy construction site shot, unless, of course, you supply temporary road surfaces for construction sites!
The ideal photograph is one that shows your product installed on a finished building, if it can be seen. Anything else is unlikely to get you the coverage.
Get your timing right
There’s no point in sending a product related press release and photograph to an editor if they aren’t running a feature on that particular subject. Find out beforehand what subjects an editor is focusing on in the next few issues, for example, insulation, sustainability, heavy side, drainage. Make sure you tailor your press release to the publication and send it personalised, as part of maintaining a good relationship with the editor.
There you have it. Gaining press coverage isn’t difficult. If you know how to approach it and use the three factors above you should be pushing on an open door. Of course, these are the basics, once you’ve gained the attention of the editor, what you send them needs to be interesting and informative and, above all, well written! All too often, it all falls down at the last stage because all the press release does is say how good your company is, without explaining how the solution addresses an issue in the industry.
This will mean it is simply passed to their advertising team, who then contact you for a colour separation charge (around £90) for the editorial to be included with a photograph in a very small space – not what you want!
It is possible to get across the strengths of your company but to do that you need to make sure that your PR is handled by a company that specialises in the construction sector. There are agencies that do this. They are the ones to work with because they know how to incorporate a convincing sales message for your product or services.