you don't need a pr firm to get your work published

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I got an email this week from a friend, asking if I could recommend a good PR firm to promote the architecture side of his design/build company. He said he would like to see his projects in high-profile publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, so he was looking for a PR outfit that had connections to that world.

I passed along some names, but after further consideration it dawned on me how few of the press releases I get make any impression on me whatsoever. When I open an email from an architect's PR agency, I'm looking for one thing: a publishable project. Show me pictures of a great project, then we can talk. It doesn't matter who sent the press release, who the architect is, or who the client is. A page-long paean to the genius behind the design is wasted on me. If I see good work, I'll follow up. Except in special cases--say affordable housing, rescue housing, or some new technology--the ideal press release would consist of nothing more than photographs and the architect's web address.

I ended up calling my friend back and telling him I didn't think he needed to hire anyone. Get the names of the editors who pick the projects, I said, call them up, and introduce yourself. Say you'd like to send shots of your work, then send them. Done. I would offer the same advice to any architect or builder (along with the insistence that the work be shot by a competent architectural photographer). I need good projects to write about; I'm hunting for them all the time. If you send me shots of your work, you can bet I'll look at them. I don't need a PR firm's letterhead to know what I like, and when I see something I like, I'll try my best to get it published. --b.d.s.



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