Media Training advice: how architects can work more effectively with their Comms teams and PR consultancies
March 8, 2024

Media Training advice: how architects can work more effectively with their Comms teams and PR consultancies

As the leading provider of Media Training for architects we work closely with their media relations teams and PR companies to enable them to benefit from opportunities to engage with the media. One of the things that we stress in our Media Training courses for architecture firms is that their media and communications teams can help architects and their colleagues to raise the profile of the firm in the media, which can bring about new business opportunities.

But the press offices of architecture practices can only deliver great results if architects are willing to play their part. Here are five ways in which architects can work more effectively with their PR agencies, media teams and in-house communications departments to create positive media coverage.

1. Reply to requests quickly

We’re very much aware that architects are busy people, often out on site, and always on call for their clients. However, we stress in our Media Training workshops the importance of replying to requests from the media team as soon as possible. Journalists work at a cracking pace. We’re under greater pressure than ever to get stories out quickly and beat the competition, while doing more with less. 

All of our media trainers are working journalists (operating under strict NDAs) and so they know from first-hand experience that when they’re looking for quotes for a report, they’ll put in a request to a variety of different potential contributors and spokespeople knowing that they won’t hear back from most of them. Very often the person whose quotes are used and who gets the lion’s share of the coverage is the one who replies. If you’re too busy to speak to the journalist because of your busy workload, then it’s still important to get back to your media team as soon as you can. 

First, it adds authority to your comments. If you’re doing an interview about financial services regulation, for instance, the journalist might want to mention your firm’s banking or finance clients. It also grabs the attention of readers – if they see big name banks and others as they scan the screen or the paper, they’ll be more likely to read the article. The journalist might also include some of your clients if they’ve been in the news recently. This could be for something positive, for example because they’ve just announced healthy profits, or it could be bad news – those profits are down, or they’ve just been fined by the regulator.

2. Work with your PR advisors to identify examples

One of the things that journalists will always ask for during an interview with an architect is for an example, a case study, or even a little story, to illustrate the point that they’re making. This kind of storytelling also proves a point – if you’re claiming something is happening in the world of architecture, design, or planning then you need an example to prove this claim.

Identifying possible case studies and working closely with your media relations teams so that you can drop them into journalists’ interviews will give you a head start in your preparation. Your communications teams can use these examples when they’re pitching ideas for stories to journalists or providing them with background briefings. At Communicate Media we’re very much aware of the importance of client confidentiality and that’s why in our media training courses for architects we provide advice for giving case studies while maintaining client confidentiality.

3. Think about your audience – they may not be architects

When we do role-play media interviews in our media interview coaching for architects, we sometimes hear during the feedback afterwards from the course participants, “It’s as if I was talking to a client.” We point out that when they do an interview with a journalist, architects are, in effect, speaking to clients, or potential clients. Journalists and our audiences don’t want to hear detailed technical descriptions, we just want to know what’s new and different and relevant to us in a way that we can easily understand. This means stripping back technical language and using examples instead. 

4. Identify trends

As any of our working journalist/media trainers will tell you, journalists love trends. We frequently find ourselves writing and telling our audiences that “More and more architects are doing this…” or “We’re finding that developers are increasingly likely to…”

Very roughly, in journalistic arithmetic, by the time we’ve identified three or perhaps four examples or case studies then we can safely say that we have spotted a trend. If you’re noticing that regulators are more and more likely to make certain decisions or that clients are increasingly asking for something or aiming to achieve a particular goal, then it’s worth making a note of these trends and discussing them with your PR company or in-house media team. They can use these when pitching to journalists.

5. Make your language simple and conversational

Print journalists will often be content these days to receive comments from interviewees by email. This has the advantage that we don’t have to try and arrange to do an interview. It also means that we can just copy and paste the wording into our copy.

The problem is, though, that sometimes the comment that we get via email from an architect can be dry, formal, and too technical. Written language is different from the spoken word. That’s why in our media interview workshops for architecture practices our advice is to keep these written comments punchy and conversational. Do introduce those examples, case studies and stories and add some striking analogies or quirky factoids too.

We completely understand that architects have hectic schedules and work under great time pressure. However, as we point out in our media training courses for architecture practices, devoting some time to work with their PR companies, media teams and in-house communications departments is well worth it.

Media Training for Architects

If you are an Architect and want to find out more about media training, get in touch with our team today.

You can follow us on LinkedIn here.

Related Articles

Media Training for tech companies: five mistakes that spokespeople often make – and how to avoid them

Media Training for tech companies: five mistakes that spokespeople often make – and how to avoid them

Media Training for tech companies: five mistakes that spokespeople often make – and how to avoid them  As the tech industry continues its rollercoaster ride of financial uncertainty and hair-raisingly rapid innovation, we’re finding that we’re providing more and...