How to Get Published in ENR

“How do we get in ENR (Engineering News Record)?” This is a question that I believe many marketers have heard from their principals. In the minds of many principals it is the holy grail of publicity. What A/E/C firm wouldn’t want to be published in ENR?

A page in ENR is worth a good deal of money. A full-page ad will run you around $16,000. For many of us, that’s a good chunk of budget. Wouldn’t it be great if someone just outlined how to get in ENR for free? Well, today you are in luck. I’m going to explain exactly how to do it.

Several viewpoints from my firm have been published in ENR. We’ve been featured in cover stories and in “Under 40” lists. In addition, I’ve had pretty detailed conversations on this topic with people at ENR, including the Editor-in-Chief. I’ve also discussed this topic with seasoned public relations professionals in our industry. In addition, I have observations of my own to share. So, here you go.

The first thing you have to realize is ENR is in the news business, not the engineering business. The product they sell is news. People at ENR are paid to sniff out what is industry news and what isn’t. It’s their job to know what readers are interested in. Part of that comes from experience as a journalist. Part of that comes from real data collected from their website.

Let me give you an example, When the BP oil spill happened, ENR had to determine whether this event was industry news or general news more suited for NBC and CBS. What they found out after posting an article on, was that the readership gravitated towards the story about BP. As industry news, the BP story sold. So they continued to cover it. The point is that they know what their readers want to read. You won’t be able to pull one over on them.

It’s important to understand what sells (i.e. what causes someone to pick up and read a copy of ENR). Building the tallest building in Toledo may be news to the Toledo Business Journal. But that story doesn’t sell to the ENR readership. You won’t be successful pitching that story to ENR. The tallest building in the world, now that sells.

They are looking for biggest, most expensive, or first (i.e. something unique). First, in many cases will be your best in. What about your project is significant but has never been done before? Has your project team come up with a new innovative and legitimate solution to a major construction challenge? Did you apply an innovative and new contracting method to your project? Is the type of building the absolute first of its kind?

If your “first” ties in with a hot industry topic, well-known structure, or big event (think Olympics), then your chances are exponentially better. Take, for instance, this sentence taken right out of ENR.

Archer Western, along with design support from URS Corp., San Francisco, expects to achieve the fastest consolidation of an earthen levee on a seven-mile reach now under construction in New Orleans.

It’s the fastest consolidation of an earthen levee and it’s being done in New Orleans where the levees could not hold hurricane Katrina at bay. That’s exactly the type of news I believe they are looking for.

In part two of this series, I’ll explain why you shouldn’t start writing your press release just yet.

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  1. […] part one of this article, I outlined how you can craft a story the people at ENR will see as […]

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