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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Journalism and construction marketing

Today, I faced some heat for practicing my craft -- journalism. A poster on contractortalk.com started a thread about this blog said I shouldn't be quoting from other posters on the forum. The discussion led some to believe that I had maligned the original poster when, it turns out, I had never mentioned or communicated with him beforehand. He simply didn't like the fact that comments reported on the Internet forum were finding their way here.

I struggled for a while with how to report on this long thread about my blog before reading this observation from Sean at SLS Construction in Cullman, Alabama.

"IMHO - you might just write a quick article on how you come with your ideas, how you choose stories, a quick behind the scenes look. At the end - why? Well because a few of us our interested, some are confused and to clear up any misunderstandings."
So I'll share an example which shows what I do, and why.

As this online drama unfolded, I worked offline on another story, which started when a regional construction association in Ontario reported in an email to its members (we belong to the association) that many of its members were experiencing slow payment from a contract management service responsible for overseeing public (government) building works.

I called the relevant people, gathering quotes and information, supplemented with background insights from my industry connections. Tomorrow I will write the story, covering the various aspects as fairly and comprehensively as possible. Some of the background research won't be visible in the final story -- it would burn connections and relationships. The methods of researching and discovering relevant information require different skills than you require for your contracting business; but nevertheless are similar in many ways to your trades learned through apprenticeship and experience.

It turns out that many contractors concerned about slow payment who complained to their association don't want their own stories told publicly for fear of retribution. Conversely, the representative of the management business, not hearing directly from the unhappy contractors, told me she thinks only a few people are experiencing difficulties, and her business is resolving things as quickly as possible.

In essence, both sides are telling the truth, but their truth is very different. My job is to decipher and accurately report on these matters. Why? If it is true that hundreds of contractors aren't being paid in a timely manner for their work, their livelihoods are affected -- and while they are afraid to speak publicly for fear of retribution, we aren't. So we perform a public service to the contracting community in researching and discussing these issues.

All of this journalistic effort takes time and money; but we aren't doing the work for purely selfless motives. Good journalism attracts readership, and readership attracts advertising, and we sell advertising to make a profit in business.

I started this blog to provide some additional value to our advertisers. It has evolved to be the first significant journalistic venture on the Internet dedicated to construction industry marketing. So we sell more advertising, and do more business, and therefore can research and complete more journalism to help contractors get paid more promptly, and earn more money through effective marketing. The story continues.

1 comment:

Mark Buckshon said...

I inadvertently deleted the following comment sent by an anonymous poster MB

Quite simply one of the most baffling things I have read on the internet. Does this person not get it?

Does he know how many people would love to have that link?

An invasion of privacy??? It's the internet. If you don't want people looking at naked pictures of you, don't post them.

Geez. I won't be surprised if this makes it way into a marketing case study somewhere.