Building content strategy for architecture, engineering and construction

Take a look at the blueprints for success for three firms in architecture, engineering and construction.

BY Tim Gregorski
Executive Editor, Imagination

Architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) firms all have a primary focus in common: the project. Where they differ is their particular piece of each project.

But smart firms of any type realize their work doesn’t end when their phase of a project does. These ongoing projects, and the work that goes into them, serve as the foundation of content programs that target a dedicated audience of industry professionals. Through their content work, A/E/C firms leverage their subject matter expertise to cultivate a deeper and lasting impact in their industries while expanding it to consumer and trade outlets.

Find out how these three firms use what they do—and how they do it—to jump-start their content programs.

Architecture: KPF

The KPF homepage is a highlight reel of its latest and greatest architectural projects from around the globe. A simple site design puts the emphasis on images and renderings meant to entice architects with visual appeal—but they’re really just the starting points.

Once you land on a project page, KPF provides the critical information—location, clients, type and size of project—along with a soup-to-nuts architectural profile of each project.

Case in point: the Hudson Commons commercial project in New York. KPF meticulously explains how the architectural components allow the building to seamlessly blend into the surrounding neighborhood. Furthermore, KPF provides a series of photos under the project profile to keep the reader engaged with related commercial projects.

Beyond the project pages, KPF also features a news section with the expected (project announcements) but also deeper demonstrations of subject matter expertise, with a focus on KPF’s people. In terms of social, the firm puts a heavy emphasis on visuals, including a series of videos related to its projects. For example, KPF’s Facebook page keeps the firm’s audience constantly informed about the projects’ impact on the industry and the communities in which the firm works.

Engineering: Arup

Engineering firm Arup takes a slightly different approach with its content strategy. It covers all bases—from location to stats to impact—with its project pages, but the firm also offers the “Perspectives” series of posts written in-house by its own subject matter experts on topics such as cities, energy, transportation and water infrastructure.

For instance, Rick Robinson, digital property and cities leader for Arup, wrote a post that deconstructs how business models, technology and user insight redefine how a property operates, and more importantly, generates value.

This strategy is effective because the content engages engineering peers in an effort to address the global infrastructure issues that affect their industry—issues that currently, or may soon, affect people around the globe. It goes well beyond the project and demonstrates thought leadership that isn’t just about “us” but is rather about industry trends.

This digital approach may simply be an extension of Arup’s long established strategy with the Arup Journal, the firm’s publication of record that describes how it delivers on challenging projects. Established in 1966, the journal is currently published biannually and delivered through both print and digital channels targeting the engineering industry.

Construction: Gilbane Building Co.

Gilbane Building Co. is involved in a wide variety of construction fields, including college and university, commercial, federal, health care, sports and entertainment, and transportation. Fittingly, the company offers in-depth project profiles for each of these markets. Socially, it backs up these profiles with such content as lively on-site tour videos of major projects.

The company goes beyond projects, too, in the weekly blog GilbaneInk. According to Michael McKelvy, president and CEO, the blog is the company’s vehicle for employees to share their subject matter expertise on industry trends and technical ideas within the company as well as within the construction industry. Post topics include content related to safety, innovation, community, market insights and sustainability. Posts cover everything from construction for criminal justice to tips for historical renovation in an occupied space.

For these firms, the project is the product. But going beyond that and offering subject matter expertise helps expand their audiences to related industries and people who would never find them—if they were searching only for specific projects.

published: December 03, 2018

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