So a year has passed since I’ve finished University and started my first job as a content marketer in the construction industry. I stepped into the office on my first day with a very brief ‘textbook’ overview of how marketing actually worked, and absolutely no clue about the construction industry whatsoever. I felt that I had a lot to learn. Fast.
And as a result of this fast learning the journey has been both challenging and rewarding; I’ve had to rethink the way I do things, be flexible with managing tasks, work successfully with clients and collaborate with colleagues in bringing new ideas to the table.
All in all I’ve learnt some valuable lessons.
So I’m taking this time to share what I’ve learnt so far with you; content marketing is a new territory for many, especially within the niche area of construction, so I’m hoping that these insider tips will give you a little boost when facing a similar role for the first time.
Let’s start with two generic tips for all construction marketers…
1. It’s not all about the writing
I’ve always loved writing; whilst studying English I always saw it as a form of self-expression, a way of creating debates and interpreting a piece of text in the way that you want it to be seen.
But in marketing, it’s much less about you and more about them.
Whilst my old approach served well for essays, it’s no where near as effective when it comes to targeting a specific audience.
Your target audience, whether they’re architects, contractors or homeowners, don’t give two hoots about personal opinions.
They want content that will inform, educate and guide them towards results. They want solutions to their own everyday problems. So it’s time to readjust your motives to create content that will resonate the most with the people that actually matter, the people that fuel yours, or your clients, business.
2. Listen twice as much as you speak
The heading for this tip was taken from Laura Crimmons at one of the first Content Marketing show I visited.
I’ve probably overkilled the saying now but I love it, and it couldn’t be more true; it’s so important to set time aside every week to put your pen down and just listen.
What’s the latest in the construction industry?
How many people are mentioning your post?
How many have viewed it and how did they get there?
It’s all too easy when the work piles up to tick content off one by one without paying attention to what’s going on around you.
But without doing this on a regular basis you will never know what actually achieves the best results and what converts.
A good content marketer will not only produce regular content, they will understand the minds of their audience better than the audience themselves.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at great people and business’ to follow on Twitter, to both build your knowledge in construction and to write content that is not just enticing, but relevant.
To receive daily updates on construction news, upcoming events, breaking headlines and industry insights, follow these…
For specific people who specialize in the construction industry…
- @EEPaul – construction ICT consultant
- @SuButcher – social media analyst for construction
- @priteshpatel9 – digital marketing consultant for building product manufacturers
And don’t forget those all important construction magazines, for the latest project builds and to keep an eye on any PR opportunities and mentions of your work. You may want to adjust this list depending on who your target audience is; i.e. homeowners or architects for example.
You’ll also need to regularly read the following blogs, both to keep on top of trending topics and to inspire your own ideas for establishing content. The first few I mention can be applied to all content marketers, whereas the rest are industry specific.
- CMI – blog for content marketing, covering ‘how-to’ type guidance, insights and general advice
- Moz – (a personal favourite of mine) inbound marketing tips given by a range of people on different topics – from ‘whiteboard Friday’ to infographics and video tutorials
- Hubspot – Similarly to Moz, this has blog posts on just about everything relating to marketing, sales, agency and web designs
- Smart Insights – Provides blogs, guides and strategies available for digital marketing
- Construction Marketing Podcast – this is an educational podcast for new and experienced marketers in the industry; it discusses a variety of topics from marketing tactics, tools, strategies and industry trends
- Just Practiscing – This is Su Butchers’ blog which discusses social media in construction
- See the Whizard – This is an American blog focusing on building product marketing
- Brickonomics on Building – Covers housing, construction and property trends
- Construction Products Association – Similarly to Brickonomics, this blog covers products and industry trends
Now that you’re both following the right people on social media and have access to a wide range of industry blogs and websites, it’s time to round up your research and begin the content creation.
The following tools have helped me over the past year to create, promote and measure the content I’ve produced:
Skitch/Evernote – This tool allows you to get a bit more creative with the annotation of images and screenshots by highlighting particular sections. Once complete, you can simply drag and drop the edited version onto your desktop and use within your blog post. Annotated images help to explain your point clearer to your audience, guiding them through the point you’re trying to make.
See below an image edited using Skitch, taken from our post on effective ‘Thank-You’ pages.
Moz – These guys aren’t just good for their blog section. They also host a great online monitoring tool, enabling you to track keywords to maximise the effectiveness of your content writing. It allows you to create a list of the phrases you wish to rank highly in, i.e. ‘construction marketing’, or ‘PR and content for construction companies’. Month on month you can track these and write content based on the appropriate keywords. You can also set up campaigns for clients to check their domain authority, keyword ranks and crawling issues.
FollowerWonk – This supports the social media promotion of any blog post by providing Twitter analytics; who are your followers? Where are they located? When do they tweet? You can also see when people are following/unfollowing you and how many new followers you’ve gained over any desired time. This tool allows you to schedule content appropriately and in line with audience behavior.
Hootsuite – I use this religiously every morning and throughout the day to monitor and manage online activity. As it can be hard to keep track of all platforms simultaneously, this allows you to view LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook etc on the one screen. You can then add panels that are of most importance such as ‘mentions’, ‘replies’, and ‘retweets’. This tool allows you to review what is resonating the most whilst enabling you to generate a faster response time to improve customer service.
Bit.ly – Simple tool and one you may have heard of already – Bit.ly allows you to share shorter and tidier versions of a URL link. You can also personalize them so that the main word you want people to see appears directly in the URL itself, rather than showing a random assortment of letters.
Google trends – This allows you to research what topics are trending within a particular month; for example, ‘Facebook marketing’ may be trending one month, and so you can then take this and join in with the conversation online. However do remember that Construction is a niche industry, and so it may not always be a topic that trends. If however a standard topic is trending, you can change this to directly relate to the construction industry. And if anything – don’t be afraid of starting the trend yourself!
Google Alerts – Another way of monitoring content shared online by choosing keywords you wish to keep track of – this is a quick and efficient way of getting related content sent straight to your inbox, to keep an eye on competition and even to review what publication magazines are discussing.
Google Analytics – Analytics is not just a helpful tool but an essential one; you simply cannot write content and expect to measure its effectiveness without it.
It will allow you to create an effective web report, covering what blog posts/case studies have been visited the most, how visitors have got there and what goals these have converted. Each month it will allow you to review what’s worked and what hasn’t, as well as keep track of the functionality of your website (or clients’ website) as a whole.
Google Drive – This is a platform we use both for ourselves and clients. It’s a great way of sharing and organizing workload internally; we also create a content calendar that’s viewable to both ourselves and our clients’ marketing manager. This content calendar is also essential to ensure that content is effectively structured and assigned to the relevant people.
Piktochart – If you want to get a bit more visual and creative with your content, try this infographic tool. It has a simple drag and drop function, allowing you to choose your template and add logos/icons on as you please. There is also an upload button to add your own. This is a great way of repurposing an existing piece of content and transforming it into a visual tool – play around and have fun with it!
And one last tip for you…
Your headline is just as crucial as your content.
According to Moz, 80% of readers don’t make it past the headline, and only 2 out of 10 read the rest.
Therefore, ensure your headline stands out from the rest – use rhetorical questions, ‘how-to’ type phrases, use numbers. Always try to use construction-based/ product-related terminology to best target your audience and appear higher within a more niche search of Google.
So I hope this post has been helpful to the fresh-faced newbies about to join the world of construction marketing.
Do comment if you have any useful resources to add – I’m sure there’s plenty more out there for me to learn yet!
Give us a tweet if you found this useful, or download our content marketing e-book for further advice on content strategy and implementation.