Business

Why Contractors Need a PR Expert on Their Team

While it’s true that no one knows what the world will look like post-pandemic, one thing is certain: those who survive and thrive in business will need PR to bolster sales and, more importantly, to foster trust.
By Laura Frnka-Davis
May 28, 2020
Topics
Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily life and work as we know it. To remain relevant and competitive, businesses—including general contractors—will need to take advantage of every possible tool at their fingertips.

Among these tools is public relations (PR), the management and maintenance of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the public it serves. While often grouped in with marketing, it serves an entirely different function that has the capability of increasing visibility, extending goodwill with the community and ultimately strengthening the bottom line.

Contractors are often busy focusing on the next big project and making sure deadlines are completed that they often dismiss tending to their reputations. And reputations are key, especially during tough economic times.

Having a PR presence on the team can help strengthen a contractor’s reputation not only through shining a light on services offered, but amplifying core values and expertise through thought leadership opportunities. A contributed article in a trade publication, a quote in a local news story, or a speaking engagement at an industry conference or convention are all examples of how PR helps communicate trust, experience and knowledge. Furthermore, highlighting a collaboration with a local nonprofit can prove to be newsworthy and an excellent way to generate positive feelings about the firm out into the community.

Reputations also include what others are saying about an organization in online forums. This part of an organization’s notoriety cannot be ignored. Even before the pandemic hit, many decisions were made based on the experience of others as communicated on online platforms such as Google, Yelp and Facebook. Referencing what others say on social media will no doubt continue to influence how people make business decisions, including construction projects.

Responding to these reviews in a thoughtful, personalized way is a critical reflection of an organization’s brand and yet another way having a PR presence can help position an organization for success.

It takes years to build a solid reputation and it can prove its weight in gold when managed properly. But when not managed properly, it can be destroyed in a heartbeat. Having a trusted PR advisor on the team will help navigate through crisis situations, providing sound counsel and responding to media and public inquiries so reputations that took years to build remain intact.

Just as it requires special skills to be successful in construction, so is the case with PR practitioners. Those in the PR field spend many years gaining experience and building relationships, which cannot be taught overnight. Should a contractor decide to bring on a PR expert, it may be best to outsource. Here are some reasons why:

  • Speed and efficiency: A PR expert knows their area of expertise. They bring a value of diverse experience and know how to get it done. While each industry is different, PR skills (including, but not limited to, writing and media relations) are transferable and it’s relatively easy to get someone up to speed.
  • Specialized help: Experienced PR professionals have “been there, done that.” Perhaps they have worked with a similar client in the past and have worked to solve similar problems. And they have a vast array of resources at their fingertips.
  • Efficient: Outsourcing someone to do PR can be inexpensive as compared to bringing on someone in-house because you don’t have to pay the overhead, including benefits and retirement plans.

While it’s true that no one knows what the world will look like post-pandemic, one thing is certain: those who survive and thrive in business will need PR to bolster sales and, more importantly, to foster trust.

by Laura Frnka-Davis
Laura Frnka-Davis, APR is the principal owner of LFD Communications, a PR firm based just outside of Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.lfdcommunications.com.

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