5 Reasons why your Construction Company needs a Crisis Communication Plan

Prepare your business for an unforeseen crisis situation with construction public relations

construction public relations Ripley PRA crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your construction business. It is usually brought on by adverse or negative media attention.

Five examples of potential crisis situations that could damage your reputation if it is not handled correctly are:

  • An accident occurs where a piece of material or equipment strikes someone resulting in serious injury or death. The media finds out about it and wants to do a story about the incident.
  • Part of an office building was constructed improperly resulting in engineering issues after completion. This causes delays and unhappiness of all tenants and business owners scheduled to move into their new office spaces. They contact the media to help find out what the real reason for the delay is.
  • Factions in the neighboring community are against the development of a commercial building you are working on and decide to protest the construction. The protest gets a lot a media attention. Photos and video content of the construction site appear on various media platforms and protestors refuse to leave the construction site.
  • The developer of the property goes bankrupt in the middle of construction and the media wants to know why there is no progress.
  • The ex-girlfriend of an employee comes onto the construction site and threatens everybody with a gun. The police get involved and issue a statement to the media.

A business must be able to respond promptly and accurately to any of these situations. In order to take control of the story, construction public relations plays a vital role.  It is crucial to communicate as quickly as possible with everyone affected by the situation. This includes communicating with the media, employees, government officials, business partners and more. An effective construction public relations strategy will help to minimize the negative impact of an incident on the public perception of the company.

According to ready.gov:

When an emergency occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. If business operations are disrupted, customers will want to know how they will be impacted. Regulators may need to be notified and local government officials will want to know what is going on in their community. Employees and their families will be concerned and want information. Neighbors living near the facility may need information—especially if they are threatened by the incident. All of these “audiences” will want information before the business has a chance to begin communicating.

An important component of the preparedness program is the crisis communications plan. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency in the hours and days that follow. Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. The image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident.

To find out more about how you can best prepare your business for an unforeseen crisis situation, contact the crisis communication experts at Ripley PR today.

Celeste Vlok, Senior Brand Manager

This post was written by on May 25, 2017


Can PR increase your credibility?

Franchise Public Relations Ripley PRCan public relations increase your home service business credibility? To answer that question, we need to understand the definition of credibility. Credibility is defined as the amount of trustworthiness or expertise that a company has in the eyes of its customers, clients and business partners. Building the status of a credible home service company takes time and expertise to build. You can’t just say, “trust us” and expect that it will work for your brand. So how do you effectively establish credibility?

One of the ways a home service public relations agency like Ripley PR can help build credibility for your business is through earned media.

Earned media is something you read or hear about a service that is not an advertisement.  Earned media can be in the form of:

  • Reviews
  • Third party articles in trade magazines
  • Consumer to consumer word of mouth
  • Traditional publicity mentions in digital media outlets

Earned media makes a bigger influence on consumers because it is not content put out by the company, it is written by a third party which makes it more credible.

It takes real creativity and expertise in the field of home service public relations to really make an impact in today’s competitive business world.

If you want to establish and maintain credibility for your plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical business, Ripley PR can help.  Contact us today.

 

Jennifer Rice, Senior Brand Manager

This post was written by on May 23, 2017


Earned media coverage: Three big things

It’s not front-page news that print circulation is declining among most major U.S. newspapers, but it’s not quite time to write their obituaries.

When coupled with their websites, newspapers and industry journals still represent solid options for earned public relations platforms, whether you are in the construction, design, software or home services industries.

The Knoxville News Sentinel, the main paper of record for East Tennessee, still publishes some 110,000 editions daily, and even more on Sunday. The paper’s Internet reach  – about 500,000 visits per month — complements that. Television stations also face revenue challenges, but, like papers, they are bringing in more news consumers than ever on relatively new digital platforms, such as tablets or mobile phones. Some stories are even online-only, expanding your reach and your brand and your opportunities for earned placement.

So despite some obvious setbacks for news organizations in recent years, the news media still offers a great branding opportunity, and Ripley, a B2B public relations agency, takes full advantage of that.

Leveraging

  • Earned media represents a solid, value-added leveraging of your public-relations budget. It’s the ultimate amplifier of your message, especially when offered in expert context within a news story. Advertising is expensive, but your brand and message actually gets better attention and play when included in a news story in a trusted local publication – and especially the heavyweights such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Offering yourself and company as an expert source within a news story drives traffic to your website, widens awareness of your brand and can even prompt more investment in your company through the ancillary B2B benefits of earned media placement.

 

Relevance

  • Ripley’s team of B2B experts doesn’t just pitch your brand to traditional newspaper and television outlets, though. We have an extensive database of trade journals and market-specific publications. We can identify the proper breadth for your brand and get it in front of your targeted demographics. We can also cast your company and its owners as experts in your field when breaking news sends reporters chasing sources. We are proactive, and when news breaks that is applicable to your business or market, we will offer interview access to the most relevant publications – even though we probably already have.

Amplification

  • Once your message emerges in the media, we can further amplify it by sharing it to social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. This captures the attention of your customers, colleagues and competitors, and puts them on notice you are at the top of your game. “[Business to Consumer B2C] clients perceive value in having their stories told through the news media, because it reaches their peers in the business community, investors and the general public…[B2B] customers consider published articles more credible than paid advertising …,” Pauline Howes, assistant director of communications at Kennesaw University, told prnewsonline.com.

One Ripley client received mention in 10 different publications within a month after just three pitches to appropriate media. That represents a massive leveraging and efficient use of your public-relations budget.

It’s a mistake to leave your pitching and public relations tactics to the vagaries of social media or click-bait.

The experts at Ripley PR  can identify your best opportunities for earned coverage – and we’ll get your name in the paper, along with tangible, quantifiable results.

Thomas Fraser, Senior Content Specialist

This post was written by on May 22, 2017


Are you ready for rapid franchise expansion?

Franchise expansion tips from public relations expertsTips from franchise public relations experts to grow your franchise

When a small to mid-sized business offers a good enough product or service and owns a concept that appeals to enough people, franchising becomes a powerful and profitable next step. For those who have already made that first step into franchising your business, you’re now looking to attract franchisees to help you grown even more.

If you’ve got your franchise model down and it can be reasonably executed, the sky is the limit for growth. However the way to rapid expansion comes from generating enough qualified franchise leads and converting them into successful franchises who become brand advocates.

As franchise public relations experts, we work with established and growing franchises to help expand their number of locations by generating awareness both locally and abroad. Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years to help you with your budding franchise:

Grow your franchise on your home turf first

It can be tempting to see an investment come in from across the country and that you should setup a new franchisee, but it’s important to focus on your immediate area first. By fully owning your own market first, you give yourself the ability to build your franchise without overgrowing and putting unnecessary strain on your corporate team by spreading yourself too thin.

Build your franchise brand and reputation

The last thing you want is for someone in your area to not know who you are. If you’re a growing franchise, you need to build awareness for your brand and reputation on a local and regional level in the near term. By growing your franchise on your home turf, you also give yourself the ability to generate positive press about your brand and build up a reputation for being successful. One of the best ways to generate national awareness is to tell the success stories of your local and regional franchisees.

Test. Tweak. Improve.

By staying concentrated on your home turf, you are able to more easily test, tweak and improve not only your franchise process, but also your message. As your brand and your reputation grow, you’ll notice that you will naturally iron out kinks and fill holes in what your public perception should be—both from a customer standpoint and a franchise lead standpoint.

Are you a franchise who’s ready to grow? We’d love to help. Give the franchise PR experts at Ripley a call today at 865.977.1973.

JD Sizemore, Account Supervisor

This post was written by on May 19, 2017


Narrative Hooks: The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Stories make the world go round. Even the world of B2B and franchise public relations.

People don’t simply buy products or services. They are often buying stories – the stories of the customers who talk about your products and who use your services, the stories you tell about the quality of your business.

I’m a plumber, you might say? What stories could I tell? Well, they don’t have to be just about what you sell. They can be about you and your employees or about your expertise and dependability. There can also be the little stories that create good will for your organization. You might have a singing plumber or an HVAC technician who donates his time to feeding the hungry. You might support a good cause or help a special customer.

The best marketing and public relations finds a narrative hook – a story — to draw in customers. The art is in conveying those stories in compelling and direct ways.

Writing in Forbes, Steve Olenski counsels that the best marketing stories are real ones – not fiction:

Storytelling in of itself is perhaps the best way to hit that emotional chord with your customers. Tell stories that are real or at the very least based on real stories and tell them in a way that evokes feelings and emotions and so on. Do not under any circumstances try and hit that emotional level just for the sake of hitting it for consumers will see right through you.

Here at Ripley PR, we understand the power of story in good public relations and how to help your business sell its products and services through those stories. We’re based in Maryville, Tennessee, and we specialize in B2B and franchise public relations for clients across the country. Want more leads? Give us a call.

Joel Davis, Senior Content Specialist

This post was written by on May 17, 2017


Get off the hamster wheel, and find where your time went

If you sometimes feel like you failed to put in a full and focused eight hours a day at the office, it’s likely because you didn’t. And it’s not entirely your fault.

Here at Ripley, a leading B2B public relations agency, we’ve put some procedures in place to improve productivity, and constantly strive to get the most out of our days. We’ve experimented with different protocols to ease the crush of emails, and even developed stylized do-not-disturb signs. Each employee has an hour glass that can be flipped over to indicate it’s not a good time for interruption. The search for ways to throw a lid on time-sucks never ends, but there is lots of tried and true advice out there that applies across all design, construction, software and home services industries.

There are a number of productivity killers, but the most common are meetings, email and often trivial interruptions.

Atlassian, a developer of work-management software of varying applications, offers a fairly astonishing by-the-numbers look at ways productivity can be sucked out of the work day:

  • 10: IQ points lost handling a constant flow of email.
  • 3,000: Productivity, in dollars, lost each year by companies to trivial emails and spam.
  • 31: Hours burned on unnecessary meetings each month – three-quarters of a work week.
  • 91: Percent of employees who daydreamed during meetings.
  • 40: Percent of employees who actually slept during meetings.
  • 56: Interruptions per employee on an average day.
  • 3: Minutes spent on one task before a distraction occurs.

 

Getting back on track

  • Don’t stress stress: A little bit of cortisol can actually help workers focus and set deadlines, according to an Inc.com columnist.
  • Consider whether the point of a meeting can be addressed – perhaps ironically – in an email.
  • Don’t multi-task. It can actually throw you off your stride. Focus on one goal at a time.
  • Dampen the dings and bells and whistles and turn off notification alarms. Check your emails or texts at specific times of day.
  • Reduce interruptions. Close your door. Customize a ‘do-not-disturb’ sign for your workplace.
  • Take regular breaks. Performance and focus can decline quickly.
  • Get your most difficult tasks out of the way at the beginning of the day.
  • Identify the time of day you are most productive and schedule around it.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

 

Perhaps the most important element of completing any task – or series of daylong obligations – is simply taking the first step.

As Mark Twain said, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Follow the sage author’s advice, and the tips above, and you’ll get more out of your day and give back more to your business.

The B2B experts at Ripley PR, a Maryville-based public relations agency, would be happy to share more advice for ways employees in your home services, design, software or construction businesses can make better use of their – and your – time and ultimately beat the clock.

Thomas Fraser, Senior Content Specialist

This post was written by on May 15, 2017


How to Use Earned Media to Attract New Franchisees

Franchise prospects believe third party endorsements over paid ads

 

When it comes to franchise businesses, potential franchisees are like consumers – they place a higher significance on bylined articles, media coverage and client testimonials than on splashy ads. Why? The impression potential customers or franchisees retain from paid ads may help with branding in general, but most buyers don’t believe paid ads present unbiased, truthful information. Even if the advertisements are truthful, there is still skepticism regarding the ad’s veracity.

So, how does a franchise business garner earned media coverage and attract new franchisees?

Write a great press release and send it to the right media

This sounds easy but in fact it’s one of the toughest nuts to crack in the earned media world. Watch the news in your franchise industry, follow your competition and read their press releases. Note which publications publish their release news and nurture a relationship with those media outlets and staff. Follow writers and comment on their social media with positive remarks.

Show your business is an expert in your franchise field

Identify respected and well-read industry publications and the specific staffers who cover your business or your competitors and offer your CEO or other spokesperson as an expert who can comment on industry issues. Be available the minute a writer contacts you.

Pitch your news to the media at the right time

Once you have created a list of industry writers, study the publications’ editorial calendars and submit potential stories well before publication dates.

If you do acquire earned media coverage, leverage it through repetition in all your social and online platforms and add it to your sales materials. Post, tweet, link and repeat while the subject is fresh and newsworthy. If you don’t have staff to follow these steps religiously, retain an agency with expertise in franchise public relations to see measurable results.

Heather Ripley, Founder/CEO

This post was written by on May 11, 2017


How PR can help your brand recognition grow

Your business has taken off and started to soar, but you have a sense that your target customer base doesn’t readily recognize your brand. This is where a competent B2B public relations agency comes in handy in helping the entrepreneur.

Even if you are a franchisor, it may be a challenge to build brand awareness for franchise development through paid advertising. Here are a few ways PR can help your business continue to grow through increased
brand recognition:

  • Garnering earned coverage – What the good PR agencies do well is secure what is called ear
    ned media coverage. Instead of guessing which publications to advertise in, engage a public
    relations firm to strategically place you in the right publications that put your business in front of the right potential clients and customers.
  • Ensuring consistent branding – A strong B2B public relations agency can ensure your branding is consistent no matter the media vehicle. Franchisors typically do this very well, but it is important to stay the course when branding your business when you don’t have the big corporate support.
  • Providing value – Public relations is all about providing branding value for the dollar invested. An agency with experienced content and brand managers will provide any entrepreneur the value sought when building brand awareness for a fledgling business.

Your business or franchise deserves the talent and expertise a strong B2B public relations agency provides. Brand recognition is vital to growth and customer loyalty. Let PR help your business achieve the heights you want it to.

If any of the above resonates with you and your business, we at Ripley PR would love to talk with you. Not only are we a B2B public relations agency, we know we can deliver coverage and value that will grow your brand.

John Cherry, Senior Brand Manager

This post was written by on May 9, 2017


How PR can help you maximize exposure at Trade Shows

Boost your exposure at trade shows with health IT public relations

Nothing competes with the face-to-face exposure you get at trade shows. It is a traditional marketing strategy that many health IT companies use to showcase their latest products and to network with clients, potential partners and other companies.

According to Statista.com:

Sales potential of trade shows is rather high, considering about 82 percent of trade show visitors are directly involved in making purchase decisions, and trade show attendees have stated these events have a considerable impact on their purchase decision. In 2015, just over 50 percent of trade show visitors in the U.S. said they were planning to buy exhibited products or services within 12 months of attending the trade show, a slightly increase from the previous years. About 80 percent of visitors decided to purchase the product/service because they sampled, used or saw a demonstration of the product/service and liked it, while 57 percent stated the better understanding of the product gained during the event was the most influential factor. 

But how can you maximize your exposure at trade shows?

A dedicated health IT public relations strategy can help you drive more traffic to your booth and build awareness of your products with earned media.

Here are a few ways how public relations can help you boost exposure at trade shows:

Pre-Show promotion with earned media

Your health IT public relations team can help you to develop a press release announcing your company will be at the trade show, describing what products you plan to showcase and/or launch. The team will distribute the press release to targeted health IT media inviting them to stop by your booth, and create a media kit to make it easy for them to do a write-up of your products after the event.

Secure Speaking opportunities at the event

Maximize your time at a trade show with a speaking opportunity. This is a very effective way to generate quality leads at a trade show. Your PR team can help you secure a speaking opportunity (if there are any available) by creating proposals and coordinating everything around the event.

Social media promotion

Your PR team can create social media content specifically for the trade show to help drive traffic to your booth. Sharing content with the appropriate hashtags and links are vital so show organizers can easily share your content and help you reach a wider audience.

If you are interested in learning more about ways health IT public relations can help you maximize your exposure at trade shows, contact the professionals at Ripley PR.

Celeste Vlok, Senior Brand Manager

This post was written by on May 5, 2017


Ripley PR content specialists Fraser, Davis take home two first-place press awards

Fraser

Davis

Ripley PR senior content specialists Joel Davis and Thomas Fraser received recognition for excellence in journalism during the annual East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press Card Awards.

The awards, announced April 30, acknowledge the best East Tennessee print, digital and broadcast journalism of 2016. A panel of judges in Florida selected the winning contest entries.

Fraser, who before joining Ripley was a staff writer for the weekly Knoxville Mercury, received a first-place award in the series/package division for his multi-part coverage of the wildfires that ravaged Sevier County in November 2016. He was also recognized for his contribution to the overall team coverage of the calamity.

Davis, a former staff writer for The Daily Times in Maryville, won a first-place award for investigative reporting. He and reporter Wes Wade reported extensively in multiple stories on inmate overcrowding at the Blount County Justice Center.

“Joel and Thomas are fantastic writers,” said Heather Ripley, CEO of Ripley PR. “Having their peers recognize the quality of their journalism really validates their work. To have two journalists with their experience on our team is a great value to our clients, as they not only know how to tell a story but also develop it in a way that connects and resonates with an audience. We’re proud to have them on our team.”

Ripley PR is a global B2B public relations firm in Maryville, Tenn.

Thomas Fraser, Senior Content Specialist

This post was written by on May 4, 2017


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