One of the most crucial steps in any PR undertaking is identifying your prime audience. For transportation construction projects, one of the key segments of your audience is other industry professionals. While many PR campaigns cater to the general public, don’t overlook the value of sharing your story with your peers. The best opportunity you have for sharing the salient details of your project is in popular industry trade publications, as well as through industry associations, web communities and other networking groups.
Why Media Coverage Matters
When it comes to talking to the media, the more you can do to initiate and guide the conversation, the better. Early on in your project planning, you should be considering how and when you can best benefit from media coverage. Is it during the permit and licensing process— to create a positive influence on local or state authorities? Is it during construction—to generate enthusiasm for the project? Perhaps it’s after the project is completed—to highlight the most impressive facets of the project, calling attention to your organization and generating leads for new contracts. This type of third-party PR is the most valuable endorsement you can get.
Types of Coverage
Your project may warrant a cover story in an industry trade journal. Perhaps it would be a great topic for a Q&A feature on an association website or a featured photo in an e-newsletter. You may even want to pursue a series of features online and in print. Your public affairs partner should map out a strategy that lines up with the timeline of your project, and provides an injection of positive coverage when it counts the most.
The Perfect Pitch
You may already be familiar with the top publications or associations for your industry. But do you know who to talk to about being featured? How to pitch a feature article? How to coordinate the key personnel to be interviewed? This is where a good public affairs partner is invaluable. They will not only come up with a winning pitch—they will sell that pitch and then do all the legwork for you, everything from scheduling interviews to arranging photography to proofing the final piece for accuracy.
For example, Seventh Point’s Transportation PR team worked with the project owner and project team to land not one but two feature articles about the Gilmerton Bridge project in Engineering News Record and DDC Journal. These features both include full-color photographs, interviews with key personnel and a focus on the unique aspects of this project that have made it such a success.
To see the coverage for yourself, click on the links below :
“Easing traffic: Unique multiparty partnership moves forward with Gilmerton Bridge Project.” DDC Journal, Fall 2013 [Click the link and go to Page 40]
Getting the industry publication coverage you need is an essential element in a successful PR campaign—but the nuances of negotiating and executing a feature are complex and time-consuming. That’s where your public affairs partner can really shine. You’ll find that even one strong feature will pay continuing dividends in terms of strengthening the reputation of your firm, reinforcing relationships with partners and stakeholders, and generating new leads for additional projects.