As a fledgling general contracting business, it’s important to develop the best media relations strategies you can just in case the worst case scenario decides to happen. For instance, you don’t want to be left on the outside looking in if one of your employees accidentally does work on the wrong house, or has performed a job without ensuring that the proper paperwork has been filed. In these cases, and many others, it’s integral that you have a media relations plan in place to protect not only your company, but yourself.
Keys to Effective Relations for General Contractors
- Develop quality relationships: Know the reporters in your local area who work with contractors and construction companies. Having a person that you can talk to when something comes up in the industry is vital, and actually can put you above your competition.
- Learn the media work cycle: By knowing when a journalist or reporter has a deadline, you can be more prepared to have them on your side when you need them. The worst feeling is not being able to turn to a trusted reporter because they don’t have the time to deal with more work.
- Honesty and Clarity: When dealing with any public relations or media relations professional, the important thing is to stay on message but also maintaining a completely open and honest persona. Trying to hide any facet of yourself when dealing with a crisis, could come back and haunt you or even worse paint you in a more negative light.
- Relax: Perhaps the most obvious, but hardest to follow rule is being relaxed. When speaking to anyone following an event, the importance of being calm and collected. Acting nervous could show the reporter that you are trying to hide something, or that you are uncomfortable with something that had happened. In either case, being confident in your argument, and keeping a level head will take your point much further in the eyes of the media.
Obviously the intent is to never be involved in a situation that would require a public relations professional, but there are some things that cannot be avoided, and you want to be prepared for the worst. Be sure to make connections with the right people, and by the process get people in your corner when you need them. By targeting the right people, and educating them on your business, they can be valuable tools in a crisis. You should make it a point to visit with any relations professionals you meet at least once a year in order to keep yourself firmly in their minds. Following up, and keeping connections, is a surefire way to ensure that you’re set should the worst happen.
Contracting is a common but potentially hazardous business. You never know what may stir the pot and get you into trouble. By having yourself a well assembled public relations strategy, you can feel more secure in your day to day activities. That doesn’t mean that you should take your general contracting jobs lightly, but it does give you a little breathing room if there is any negative press.