I’m excited to share this interview with Ben Morgan, an expert on architectural journalism and the co-founder of Bowerbird. Bowerbird is a platform for architects and interior designers to upload projects and share them with the media. In this interview, Ben shares loads of helpful insight and advice for architects looking to promote their work.
Much of the conversation revolves around how architects can get into mainstream media, the need to inform the public on the value of good architecture, how to talk about yourself and your projects, and what to do to connect with editors and freelancers.
Ben shares his idea of the “continuum of unique and sexy,” meaning that journalist interest is piqued when your work is either unusual or beautiful. He also notes that architects should be thinking about content throughout the entirety of a project, consistently do PR and marketing work, and give as much information to journalists as possible (including information about clients and budgets when possible!).
As you tell your story in a genuine way and faithfully chip away at marketing, architectural media and marketing will slowly but surely become less daunting.
“I think that still is architecture’s biggest challenge: explaining what architects do to the general public.”
“If something is really unique, it will have a lot of journalist interest and if it’s really sexy, even if similar things have been seen before, if it’s really beautiful, it’s going to get interest as well.”
“The difference between print and online generally is that print is able to spend a bit more money producing good journalistic content and not republishing press releases.”
“If you’re an architect and you’re promoting your work, you aren’t just promoting your work, you’re promoting the practices of architecture.”
“What work would you like to be doing more of?”
“You need to be consistent and remember that the content you think is old… lean into it and really look at the content that you’ve got and keep trying to push that out.”
“Look for those editors that are coming up through the ranks and start off by making friends with them. And we’re not just talking about editors at the publication, we’re talking about freelance writers as well.”
“When you’re talking about the work you want to get more of, you just need to start to tell the story of that work.”
“Even as a young, starting up practice, you might have no projects. Look at the things you can do. What are the skills you’ve got? What are the tools you’ve got and what’s the content that you’ve got?”
“Just look at the things that you love, the things that you’re interested in and see if there are opportunities there to talk to someone, anyone, everyone about that.”
[0:01] Introduction to Ben and Bowerbird
[4:39] Ben’s philosophy on architecture media
[6:55] Architecture media’s role with clients and the general public
[9:20] Things you can do to inform the public on the value of good architecture
[13:58] Putting yourself in the editor’s shoes and getting into publications
[22:20] Print versus online publications
[23:05] Does the target audience or publication play a big part in the focus of the project?
[30:42] Two factors that the mainstream media loves: the client and the money
[35:57] The incentives for architectures to cast their advertising net wide
[46:10] How to do media and PR more consistently
[52:44] Establishing relationships with editors and freelancers
[59:30] Should architects bring in external consultants like copywriters?
[1:07:24] Is architecture media growing?
[1:13:30] Telling the unique story behind your project
Connect with Ben:
The Bowerbird Podcast: https://www.bowerbird.io/kits/2021-bowerbird-podcast
Bowerbird Website: https://www.bowerbird.io/