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Public Relations

The architecture, engineering, and construction sectors are increasingly competitive in markets at every level. Relationships are certainly helpful for business development efforts, but having the experience to show you can handle a new project is crucial to securing work. Firms that can successfully differentiate themselves are far more likely to be on the winning side. But, how exactly does an A/E/C firm stand out from others? One proven technique is weaving together a strong narrative that showcases previous work and positions you as a leader in the field. Identifying those successful project is a great step, although it’s just the beginning of a longer process.

Earlier this month, we joined more than 500 attendees at the annual Local Forecast Seminar in Richmond. The event, hosted by the Home Building Association of Richmond, takes a look at what lies ahead for the new home industry in Central Virginia. Always full of fascinating insights, this year’s event provided an overview of the economic conditions for home building, top design trends, and advice for home builders in the digital marketing space. Good news is that the economy’s fundamentals are strong and experts anticipate that the Richmond region should see about a three percent sales growth for new homes in 2018. That’s a solid prediction, albeit not as high as some had hoped. 

The communications industry is evolving rapidly here in the United States and across the globe. As the ways that we interact with one another change, communications professionals must adapt to reach audiences. The pace at which these shifts are occurring has picked up speed in the past decade as well. Recognizing the need to identify these challenges and the top trends, Cision and PR Week released their 2017 Global Communications Report. The study highlights a few obstacles for communicators and shows that certain communications channels, notably social media, continue to become more entrenched. Here’s our take on four of the top issues addressed in the report:

A couple weeks ago, I attended an informative PRSA Richmond workshop at VCU about how to capture a reporter’s attention and how thinking outside-of-the-box can be beneficial for securing media interest. With tips provided by Mary Ann Owens and Jeff South, two professors at VCU, this session covered new ways that PR pros are reaching out to reporters and how pitches have changed. The workshop offered a number of great insights to share. Check out some of the key takeaways: 

Investing in professional development and continuing education is critical for professionals who want to enhance their skills. It’s also a necessity for better client service. This belief reminds me of a favorite and well-known quotation from poet William Butler Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” To me, this quotation captures that education isn’t static. It’s not something that stops when school ends. Education is a life-long effort and one that requires ongoing work. As professionals, we have a variety of professional development and educational opportunities available to us, especially in the form of professional certifications. Whether working at an agency and serving clients externally or in-house and collaborating with internal stakeholders, professional certifications showcase your commitment to your profession and demonstrate that you continue to hone and refine your craft, which in turn benefits internal and external clients.

Interview opportunities can come in varying forms and subject matter experts, especially those at professional service firms, should be familiar with the most common types of media interviews. As with any situation, how you communicate with someone may change depending on the channel that you’re using (i.e., email versus phone or in-person versus a letter). The same is true for interviews. The tips covered in last month’s blog post provide a solid foundation to prepare for a media interview, but in this post we’ll take a deeper dive and review the two most common interview scenarios: phone interview and on-camera interview.

media trainingThe adage that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation but only seconds to destroy one or that you only make a first impression once can be applied to a wide array of scenarios, including your interactions with the media. It’s always surprising, then, why so many people think that can just “wing it” when it comes to media interviews. This approach is common across many industries, but especially true when it comes to professional service firms. Whether accountants, investment advisors, lawyers, financial planners, architects, or engineers, subject matter experts in complex fields too often miss the mark when provided with media opportunities. The reasons as to why so many professionals take this view could be the subject of an entire blog post. Rather than focus on the problem, I want a take a closer look at a reasonable solution that works: media training and interview prep.

It’s only February and 2017 has already been a wild year for marketing professionals! From fake news to ongoing disruptions in how people consume information, the communications landscape remains challenging. Despite the many hurdles, opportunities abound and there are exciting new ways to reach your target audience in an engaging manner. But, what really works and how do you manage it?

The New Year has finally arrived! Many of us were happy to say goodbye to 2016 and usher in a fresh start earlier this week. Among the many revelations over the past year, 2016 lifted the veil on some tried and true PR and communications trends which have been deteriorating for some time. From the way that fake news is impacting media relations to the transformation of a one-click culture to the ways we consume content, let’s take a look at some of the biggest PR communications trends that we’re watching in 2017.