Launch Your Thought Leadership Program Now

With the world caught up in the COVID-19 crisis, investing in your thought leadership/content marketing program may not be top of mind for most principals of A/E/C firms. In reality, this is a great time to be thinking about it and working on it. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Publications need non-COVID stories now and later in the year. The sudden rise of COVID-19 forced editors and writers to refocus most of their working hours to address the ways that the global pandemic is affecting their audience. While they have some content in the pipeline to publish now and when the coronavirus talk dies down, the overall backlog of stories is likely to dwindle as these publications devote higher-than-normal amounts of time and effort to covering the pandemic. Why not pitch a story or two for current or future issues? Home-bound writers and editors also seem to have more time to consider and discuss submittal ideas while working remotely.
  2. Your people can create thought leadership content while working remotely. In a survey the last week of March, PSMJ Resources found that the median percentage of people working from home rocketed from 3% prior to the COVID-19 crisis to 95%. Firms have had varying results with this situation, but many are struggling to find ways to stay efficient and to keep their people busy. The time has never been better to encourage your people to contribute to the thought leadership program. You can do this a number of ways, but one good option would be to have a marketing manager or coordinator lead the effort. Speak with employees who have the overhead time necessary, draw out story ideas, help with the development, and determine the best outlet for the finished product. You can focus on owned media, such as a blog, or earned media that would require convincing a publication to showcase your work. It could even be part of a purchased media campaign, as in an advertorial in a top-tier trade publication in your markets. Strategic leaders understand and appreciate the benefits when a high percentage of their technical and executive staff participate enthusiastically in the thought leadership program. Focusing on this now could result in a carry-over effect when things return to normal.
  3. You may have something unique to contribute to the COVID-19 discussion. Does your firm have some expertise or experience that could inform the discussion about the post-COVID design and construction industry? Maybe it’s a viewpoint on how infection fears could influence the design of future K-12 school buildings. Perhaps you did something extraordinary to ensure delivery on a project. Or you can share how your firm handled the crisis, or what you’ve done to ensure that you can work more efficiently if a future outbreak occurs. Competition is tough for topical stories like these, and speed is critical to get into the conversation while it still matters. But publications are still looking for new angles that can better inform their audience. If you don’t contribute before COVID-19 fatigue sets in, someone else will.

    A/E/C firms with a large percentage of staff working from home may find the utilization rate going up, but productivity and efficiency flat or declining. Offering employees an opportunity to contribute to the firm’s thought leadership program can help reset this balance while allowing your people to reconnect with the firm’s mission and culture.

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