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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AEC St. Louis -- The model of a great regional blog

Mary Schanuel's is the first truly effective regional construction industry marketing blog in the U.S. or Canada.

That, of course, is a bold statement -- possibly someone has been there before her -- but in the past month of looking for examples, her initiative is so far the only example I've discovered that combines the blogging model with a solid regional marketing focus. Both in content and technically, her blog is well designed and maintained.

She is president of Synergy Group, a marketing communications business with several construction industry clients (see this page on her website for a client list).

"I've received a good reaction from clients," she said in a telephone interview yesterday. "They look at it, and track trends with it -- that was a major goal in bringing together the blog."

She started the blog in October, 2006 and reports that she has received an average of about 30 visitors a day. Most of these are local clients, media people, and other people she knows.

Mary says she spends maybe 20 to 30 minutes a week to prepare and upload blog entries perhaps a couple of times a week, but she spends much more time than that reading and learning about industry trends -- the blog has, she said, encouraged her to read more. Of course, this reading has value for her far beyond the blog as it is highly useful in her communications and public relations business.

"I know there are some reporters that read it, and that has led them to have some interest in stories I've written about that relate to clients -- and so the blog is a nice way to keep reporters in the loop as well." is not full of personal ramblings, "or my personal view on the world" she says, though she acknowledges that readers develop relationships with bloggers and, to attain a level of trust, "I am trying to put more of my personality into it."

"Self selected people are reading it and are very interested in what you have to say," she says. "Clients receive information quickly."

From a marketing perspective, could be emulated in any regional market -- and, to me, is a truly effective resource and prototype for marketing, public relations and communications businesses with a focus on the construction industry in regional markets.

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