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Sub-Consultants: Get the Recognition You Deserve

Imagine this scenario: a principal of your firm sees an article or press release about a recently completed project, one which your firm served as a sub-consultant on the design and construction team. The news item credits only the architect and construction manager, prompting the principal to ask why your firm wasn’t mentioned. As a sub-consultant that typically works for a prime consultant on a project, your firm may recognize this as a frustrating and all too common occurrence. However, it doesn’t have to be this way: sub-consultants can still enjoy well-earned publicity if they approach public relations (PR) with the same collaborative team effort as the project itself.

We all know that projects aren’t won, designed, and constructed by one firm alone. It’s a collaborative dynamic between the architect, general contractor, and subcontractors to bring a client’s project to fruition. The same cooperative mindset should be applied to marketing and public relations. Coordinating a team-based approach to PR is a win-win for everyone: it tells a more comprehensive story of the project, provides recognition for specialty disciplines, and generally yields better results than one firm going it alone.

The key to this PR approach is working together with other project team members to devise a mutually beneficial strategy, share project information and content creation responsibilities, and offer everyone a review of publicly distributed materials. Here are some ways for sub-consultants to participate in project team PR:

  • Projects have built-in opportunities for media promotion, so reach out to the prime to inquire about press releases for project milestones like team selection, groundbreaking, topping-off, completion, and occupancy or grand opening. Asserting your firm’s interest in getting involved with the project’s promotional activities is the first step.
  • As a sub-consultant firm, contribute information about your role on the project and how your work fits into the overall project team approach. Your firm may be asked to provide information customized for a specific purpose, such as a couple of bullet points for a press release or a more detailed narrative for an award submission. Technical information should be written in a way that is easily digestible for marketing purposes.
  • Contribute to the project team’s master media list by providing target publications relevant to your discipline. Offer to divvy up the media pitching of project news or story ideas.
  • Consider co-authoring a byline article on a topic specific to your firm’s specialty. The goal of a byline article is to educate readers on a trend or best practice in your industry or provide actionable information that readers can easily apply through a case study. A byline article is more compelling when it features several perspectives or angles.
  • Follow the full project team and client on social media. Share and re-tweet project news, and remember to include handles for the client and project team firms.
  • Identify award programs that recognize collaborative team efforts and help the prime create a submission. Likewise, offer to coordinate a speaking proposal with other members of the project team and client.

All project team members want to receive recognition for their role on a project. Coordinating a team-based approach to PR can help sub-consultant firms increase their chances for PR success.


Susan Shelby, FSMPS, CPSM, is the president and CEO of Rhino Public Relations, a full-service PR and marketing agency focused on meeting the unique needs of professional services firms. Rhino PR offers customized services based on each individual client’s goals and budget. Susan received the 2016 SMPS Boston Marketing Professional of the Year Award, which honors marketing excellence in the A/E/C industry. Follow her @RhinoPRBoston or visit for more information about how Rhino PR can help you take charge of your PR.

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