The Center for Construction Industry Studies (CCIS) is a multidisciplinary research center at The University of Texas at Austin's Construction Engineering and Project Management (CEPM) Program . . . an example of an effective interdisciplinary initiative.
This blog, like my business, covers many disciplines and areas within the construction industry. I write about issues relevant to architects, and sub trades; to the marketing departments of large multi-national corporations, and the one-person band, just trying to get a business started.
Is everyone's interest the same, and is this blog trying to be too many things to too many people, at the same time?
I hope not -- though there is a paradox here. The blog's multi-disciplinary focus is because we publish geographically regional publications. Within the geographical area, there are clear economic relations and direct linkages of interest between the different sectors -- the supplier for residential contractors, for example, will also serve ICI specialists within the community; labour force issues and social problems/challenges affect everyone, and where there are occasional tensions and controversies within the industry, these are real and valid issues to report in a local construction industry publication.
I started the blog about a year ago as a resource for our advertisers; to give them something 'extra' and beyond the ink on paper and invoice. Since then, I've immersed myself in as many aspects of construction industry marketing as possible. My objective: to provide the advertisers with something far more than they originally expect to receive -- to offer them practical, highly effective and totally without cost consulting services so they can improve their businesses and profitability.
So what happened?
Well, some of our clients have expressed interest, but they are a small minority. I tell them about the blog, the extra services, the 'connection' and resources available, but they simply pay their invoices and buy more ads. This is obviously not a problem for me.
Meanwhile, the blog is morphing into something better and different than I originally expected. It is connecting me to people around North America -- and the world -- and is leading to relationships and contributions that transcend the original concept.
I perceive that other bloggers can focus more closely within specific industry sectors and activities, and others can develop truly useful regional blogs; these blogs will of course be welcomed to permalinks without reciprocal expectation.
But I still find it amazing that, despite the obvious value and potential revenue gains with the free consulting service for our advertisers, there are few takers, so far.