Have you just completed one of your biggest projects? Do you know that it is a great job and could be of interest to journalists and future clients? Read this post to find out how to get a project published in architecture magazines (and not only).
As always, there is no magic formula. Public relations is neither a walk in the park nor an exact science. But there are plenty of steps and strategies that can get you on the right track and help you finally see your projects appreciated by blogs, magazines and magazines. And from all their readers. With all the advantages in terms of visibility that this entails.
There are communications agencies, news agencies and PR professionals. All these people are incredibly valid and could certainly help you in your goal of having a project published, but often they are prohibitively expensive for an architectural firm. Not everyone can afford consultancy for tens of thousands of euros a year. Especially because branding and communication activities often bear fruit in an intangible and long-term way.
So what is the solution? Let’s find it out together by reading the contents of this post!
Please note that this article originally appeared (in Italian) on our partner site Marketing For Architects. From the same author.
How can you do what a professional PR does?
In life and the world of work, very few things are impossible. But, in truth, there are things you don’t know how to do and things you know how to do. Hence, we can try to learn anything that we cannot yet achieve.
So you can try to precisely do what the experts in the marketing and communication industry do: make contacts, write to journalists and send them the best materials to tell and represent your project. Maybe we won’t be as good as those who usually do this job, but we can at least try.
However, building new relationships in the press and publishing world is not as easy as it might seem. Therefore, it would be better to find first the contacts, establish a connection, and finally find the right channel to send the material, knowing that most of the time, there will not be second chances.
But, first and foremost, you need to have something to say. And the more this something will be valuable (in terms of projects, images, videos and texts) the more you will increase the chances of being published.
Regardless of contacts, people and relationships, valuable contents always win. If a project is interesting and deserves attention, it will certainly not be impossible to convince someone to publish it.
How to present all the materials? First, it takes a media kit. Making a media kit can be relatively simple (I’ll explain how to do it here), but then it remains the dilemma of knowing whom to send it.
To this end, over the years, I have collected plenty of websites with contact forms and dedicated pages that allow anyone to apply for the publication of their architecture and design projects.
These are mainly online magazines and blogs that can collect new content for their readers – and at the same time – offer a window for all studios or professionals who want to be known but have not yet closed personal links with journalists & bloggers.
It’s not just about small blogs or personal sites of passionate young people. In the list, you will also find some reference points of the sector, like the “Readers Submit” page of the highly respected DesignBoom site, one of the most followed design magazines globally.
But is it worth investing time and resources in this type of business? The following paragraphs will investigate why and how a good dose of digital PR will only be good for your studio.
Why is it worth being published in architecture magazines?
The following paragraph is intended for those (I think there are very few) who still believe that being published in sector magazines and blogs is useless. However, the following points are redundant for most companies that have instead developed the opposite belief.
Here are the reasons why you should invest time and energy in trying to see your architecture projects published in as many industry media as possible:
- Reach as many people as possible and tell them what you do;
- Involve the team to feel part of something and make your colleagues proud of their job;
- Create a virtuous circle and let other websites easier publish you in the future;
- Gain greater authority, becoming more interesting in the eyes of the best young talents or to those who are looking for new job opportunities;
- Hit current and future customers. To make them proud to work with you too. And to reassure them that theirs was the right choice;
- Indirectly help your site through precious and valuable link building (SEO).
How many and what types of publications are there in Architecture?
Magazines undoubtedly have their charm. Printed paper remains longer on shelves and can be “exploited” by customers and collaborators for longer and these publications certainly have a higher value than intangible content also at the perception level.
Even if the market has changed and the publishing sector has been in crisis in recent years, there are plenty of magazines specialized in architecture and design. From the 1980s onwards, there was a real boom, and several magazines were created with perhaps more limited runs but interpreting the project’s themes in multiple forms.
The problem with print magazines is that there is a high production cost, hence a series of consequences in terms of opportunities. Furthermore, compared to a blog post that can potentially go viral and reach millions of people, the readers are relatively few, albeit highly targeted in the case of the paper. Anyone who reads a magazine reads it because he is genuinely passionate. Lastly, the biggest problem is that the publisher’s space is very tight, so the selection is very tough.
Halfway between a paper magazine and a blog post, an article in the newspaper has a limited duration in time but still retains considerable authority. In fact, excluding local newspapers, being published in national newspapers allows you to reach tens and tens of thousands of people in a single day. The impact will not be immediate, but it’s a good step in consolidating your brand.
The main disadvantages, in this case, are two, in addition to being a minimal publication in time. First, the space for publishers is once again little, even less than magazines, and journalists are tough to reach.
Websites and blogs
As well as in many other sectors, websites and blogs have been the real democratic revolution in architecture and design communication. They are natural information industries. Major sites (e.g. Archdaily) publish at least ten projects per day. It means more than 3600 projects in one year. These are considerable numbers.
With these numbers, it seems clear that being selected increases a lot compared to printed magazines and national newspapers.
Television has never been a sought-after channel for architecture and design at all costs. However, there are many formats and thematic media channels that could host content related to your sector and reach many people.
In these case, productions are often much more complicated and expensive than the writing of an article, and it follows that to get there, you need to have something really interesting to say. As a result, the barriers to entry are much higher.
If online magazines and blogs have pushed towards the democratization of architectural publications, social media has sanctioned its total rise. Even more straightforward than a website, social networks are immediate and simple for anyone to use by their nature. They are free and outdated to reach every part of the world and the billions of active users who populate them.
If you’re wondering where to start communicating, you can be sure this is the best place to start. There are several social networks, from the more consolidated Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to those more in turmoil like TikTok.
For architects and designers, Instagram is perhaps the one on which it is worth focusing more, at the beginning and above all if you do not have an entire team at your disposal to dedicate to PR activities. Furthermore, many consider Instagram the ideal social network for architects and creatives precisely because of its visual and didactic nature, two typical features that a project should tell.
For this reason (and many more), I created the “Instagram for Architects” guide. More than 180 pages of insights, techniques, and advice dedicated to those architects who want to approach Instagram.
What is the best typology to make your project known?
As we have just said, social networks could be the starting point. Then we should gradually point to all the other media because it is precisely the combination of different audiences that is the real added value to be sought.
The truth is that there is no type of publication that is clearly better than the others. They all say something different to different targets. They are all useful for making your studio known.
However, let’s get more concrete and focus on what could be the communication of a small-medium studio that has yet to make itself known to the general public. Surely it can start from social networks, and in this, make use of the Instagram for Architects guide, and indeed, it can point to online and print magazines and architecture blogs. To do this, I invite you to read the next paragraph!
Here are the six steps to publishing architecture projects in magazines
1. The project should be completed or, in any case, be perceived as such.
Your project must already show all its main features. Its strengths. It must be perceived as the culmination of your design path or as sensational anticipation of what it will be. It will be rendering in the second case, but these will have to be studied well.
2. You need professional photographs
If you haven’t done it yet, you need to get high-quality photographs representing your project. Better if done by an architecture photographer, and even better if this photographer is already known in his field. You could start from this post. Except in rare cases and any chance for significant projects, it is difficult for the magazine itself to carry out the photoshoot. Providing your images to a magazine or blog increases your chances, especially for photographs of a certain thickness. And above all, if you grant them exclusively.
3. You should have a story to tell
People easily remember stories, not facts. There are scientific studies about it. That’s where storytelling comes from. To tell about your project (and try to have it said by others too), you will need a description that is not purely technical but rather a narrative capable of communicating emotions together with spaces and functions. A good idea can be provided by telling the processes and the anecdotes. Discover how to do good storytelling reading this post.
In addition to the text, the project’s title is also essential. It must make it clear what it is and why it is interesting. Its particularity, its uniqueness. However, it must be easy to remember. In this regard, remember always to use the same name for your project everywhere to identify it better and better and not generate confusion.
Along with the photographs, your story will create the media kit.
What is the media kit?
All journalists would likely ask you the set of questions and contents. It is the set of media and texts and information you need to tell your project. Here I’ll explain how to do it.
4. Send it to journalists
This phase is the most time-consuming part. But it is also the most crucial one. Therefore, you should do this activity with care and detail (for example, the emails’ subjects, the emails’ texts, the personalization of messages, and a minimum of research on the newspaper we are proposing).
You can send your project manually by yourself or use platforms dedicated to this (for a fee), such as Bowerbird.io. Of course, platforms have a cost, but they can save you hours and hours of work and, at the same time, guarantee you a greater chance to see your project published. Finally, you can always rely on our Digital PR kit for architects, which contains more than 100 valuable contacts to promote your projects.
Whichever route you choose to go, keep the following in mind when approaching reporters:
- Approach each newspaper in a personalized way;
- Study the contents already present on the platform/site you are writing to;
- Write an engaging and clear email subject line;
- Also, be evident in the text of the email and immediately provide all the necessary content. Nobody wants to exchange too many emails.
- Insert contents (texts, images, photos) directly in the email as a preview. Insert link to folders in the Cloud or as an attachment for those in high definition
- Ask for the kind feedback
5. Share your published works on your channels
The benefits you can derive from being published in a magazine or blog do not end at publication. Indeed, you will have to plan other releases on your channels that spread its reach and talk about your project, directly and indirectly, communicate that you have such exciting projects that journalists and bloggers in the sector also publish.
When I say “your channels”, I mean all how you can communicate starting from your studio. They can be social networks, your website, newsletter, company intranet, or pure and simple word of mouth.
An alternative and additional channel – incredibly effective – is also that of “activating” your team and making sure that each of your colleagues spreads this news in turn. In this way, the scope of the article increases exponentially.
The more influential and authoritative the magazine or blog that decides to publish you, all these steps will be more concrete and practical.
However, know that magazines and blogs also enjoy being shared and republished. So always make it clear that you would be ready to broadcast a possible publication on all your channels. It could be a plus point in your favour. After all, this is advertising for them too.
6. Don’t make the classic mistakes that architects make
The last step is one of those steps not to take. That is the error. We have already mentioned some of them in the other points. Here below few others:
- Answering Late – The sooner, the better
- Not having the contents ready (e.g. Media kit)
- Don’t be proactive – that is, don’t propose yourself to journalists. The more journalists find out about you, the more likely you will succeed. So please don’t wait for them to come to you.
- Don’t have professional photos – It’s not enough that they are in high resolution. They have to be beautiful.
- Expect reporters to do the editing and the selection.
Getting a project published in architecture magazines and blogs should now seem more accessible. Remember that quality always wins and journalists and bloggers always look for interesting content to offer to their editors and readers.
I hope this post can be a great starting point for you to propose your projects to bloggers, journalists and professionals in the sector.