The UK construction sector is (very) well served, with hundreds of communication channels reaching specifiers, contractors and the trades, including over 300 trade journals and hundreds more blogs, bulletins and specialist social media groups. For construction product suppliers and service providers, PR can play a vital role in reaching these audiences.
Needless to say, an effective PR campaign requires an up-to-date knowledge of online and in-print media, as well as a network of editorial contacts. Consequently, using an agency which has established press contacts within, and experience of, the construction industry is likely to prove distinctly advantageous to product and service providers. Therefore, in order to compile this resource we have researched the sector to identify those agencies with UK construction industry experience. The resulting database contains over 85 such firms and may be viewed at the bottom of this page (please ensure you are logged in). Non-subscribers will see only those firms who have enhanced their entries; however, they can purchase the database from our shop.
In order to further support the campaigns of our subscribers, ConstructUK.com also includes databases of named editorial contacts (including email addresses) at over 300 UK construction journals and, separately, the media data for the same titles. Although when reading through the information subscribers may notice that many of these publications have comparatively low circulations, these should not be considered of lower importance, since this usually indicates a highly-targeted readership in a very specific sub-sector.
Finding and Selecting a Construction PR Agency
The effect of digital communication on traditional methods of PR has been nothing less than transformational and continual developments in the methods of disseminating information mean that practitioners need to maintain up-to-date knowledge of the latest trends and innovations. Moreover, the vast range of media channels and editorial opportunities result in a frequently complex and diverse landscape for the PR professional to navigate (read Pauley Creative's blog post on Profile Advertising). Consequently, engaging an agency with knowledge and experience of the construction industry is likely to prove worthwhile and we hope that the list below will provide the basis for a selection process.
Before appointing an agency, it is worthwhile selecting at least three and inviting each to tender for the account. An outline brief will need to be prepared in advance, clearly stating short-term requirements as well as the long-term objectives.
In the Construction News article, 'How to Select the Right PR Partner', Kirstie Colledge of SMPR recommends setting clear objectives at the outset and explains, “Many firms hire a PR agency without being clear internally as to what they want to achieve from it so managing expectations at every level from the start is vital. It is important that all parties understand the objectives, including timescales and outputs. Which do you need more: specialist PR skills for profile-raising, crisis communications, repositioning, product or service launch or specific knowledge of the construction industry? Understanding your organisation’s needs will help you to create a shortlist of agencies, or freelance individuals.....” (The full article provides much food for thought and suggests a number of areas to consider before appointing an agency, including how the new media landscape has impacted construction industry communications).
When compiling the shortlist, consideration should also be given to the type of agency and services required relative to budget and, importantly, existing clients who may operate competitively within the same sector. Terms of appointment, remuneration and marketing expenditure limits should be agreed and confirmed at the outset. Given the high level of resources required on the part of each tendering agency, it might be worth offering a financial contribution towards the costs of the presentation, time and travel. This will not only demonstrate your own commitment to the project, but is also likely further to incentivise each agency.
The agency Pauley Creative offers construction firms a tip for when they are drawing up the shortlist, suggesting that they consider contacting some of the media outlets who “work with a huge range of marketing professionals so can give an unbiased recommendation”. They also suggest:
• Start with a ‘long list’ of potential partners for initial research. At this stage use the resource you already have around you to create a list of potentials. Checking industry blogs or websites, recent work or projects you’ve seen.
• ‘Short list’ to 3/5 of the above to come in for an initial meeting and briefing on the requirements.
• Ask for thoughts/recommendations back after the initial briefing meeting.
• Bring back the 2/3 partners that you’d like to see again to work out the finer points of how you could potentially work together.
• Check their credentials and, if possible, start with a trial project to see how you work together.
CAPSIG is the 'Construction & Property Special Interest Group', and is part of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. It provides a forum for PR professionals working in the industry and organises networking events covering a wide range of subjects and issues. According to the website, CAPSIG member benefits include:
• Calendar of events on PR best practice in construction, building, residential and commercial property, architecture and related sectors.
• Exclusive networking opportunities with key industry figures.
• Opportunities to meet relevant media.
Published in 2015 in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, 'Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns' by Anne Gregory presents a 12-point plan for ensuring success of campaigns of all sizes. It covers many vital areas, including the role of public relations in organisations, the importance of context, research and analysis, setting objectives, strategy and tactics, timescales and resources, evaluation and review. The book is widely regarded as one of the best 'how-to' guides for students and practitioners. Copies may be purchased by clicking on the book image below:
Index of 85+ Specialist Construction PR Agencies (if you are not logged in, you will see below only those companies who have enhanced their entries - log in to view the full list):