Most building material companies are missing a real opportunity to use the power of public relations to grow their sales. It continues to amaze me how simple and inexpensive it is to get big results.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an expert in public relations and I do not want to be your PR firm. I am an expert in building material marketing and have seen how powerful PR can be, when used correctly.
The biggest problem with public relations in building materials is usually the client.
I find that the client has a narrow self-centered definition of success when it comes to PR. They want media coverage about them and only them in order for it to be a win. There are times when your product or story warrants this, but most of the time, it does not. And if you wait for those times, you will be missing a lot of opportunities for great media coverage.
Many clients also see PR as an ad you don’t have to pay for. In this case, if the media doesn’t promote the product like an ad, it’s also viewed as less than successful.
Finally I think that PR is getting lost or bypassed in the rush to shift more marketing online and into social media. A lot of PR is about generating great content. Social media is all about content, so if your PR team isn’t part of your online team, it should be.
A process to get better PR for building products
First, stop thinking about yourself and what you want. Think about the media and what they want. They want to be a trusted source of topical information for their readers.
Second, think about the consumer. What does the consumer want? They don’t want to be sold. They want information that helps them solve a problem. In exchange for you providing them the best unbiased information, they may give you their trust.
Third, don’t forget that you are probably a component of a bigger whole, such as a remodeling project and an article on storage ideas
Fourth, think bigger. While trade press is very important, you should also think big national consumer media like the New York Times, CNN or other media. Look at articles like this one from the New York Times. If they don’t already, encourage them to do an article about your category and to include your product. The article is about the category or project and not just about your product.
As I said earlier, I’m not an expert in PR. To learn more, you should consult an expert in building material public relations like Kleber & Associates.