Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Four Ways to Have Your Design / Architecture Expertise, Projects, Services or Architectural Products Published in the Media.

Being co-owners of an international public and media relations firm specializing in publicity for architects, designers, builders, and many products specified for residential and commercial structures, the number one question people ask us is…

“How do we have our just-completed architecture (or design-build) project or architectural products published in the media?”

Whether you have executed full press release campaigns or simply had a hand in attempting to contact an essential publication’s editor regarding your business news, you probably know there are near-countless nuances that come with pitching the staffs of consumer magazines, trade publications, mainstream newspapers, and significant journalists and bloggers.

There are rules and best practices that apply to media outreach for any type of company, and following these few, vital tips will give you a jumpstart on your public and media relations program:

1. Relevancy is Key: Editors and reporters seek and desire truly relevant news and information for their articles and other publishable content. Ask yourself (and your C-level management team) if your news and happenings hold tangible value for the media, and, for that matter, for your client or customer base.

Brainstorm pertinent information and angles for journalists – i.e., events or occurrences that will positively affect the industry or mainstream market at large; first-time architectural product break-throughs or enhancements that are (truly) significant; and, by all means, completed design, architecture or building projects with wide appeal and exceptional characteristics, to name a few.

2. Messaging is Critical: You may get one chance to connect with media members and editors at times when your company has product news or design-build project case-studies to submit. Make certain the message is on target, brand-sound, concise yet clear, germane for the editor’s audience; and is not too self-serving.

Remember, the media’s job is not to tout, hype or flaunt your news, but rather to report relational, engaging and relevant (ah, there’s that word again) information to their readers, followers or viewers. Give them the information they need to do so, while you serve as the quotable, expert and knowledgeable source.

3. Jargon is Out: If your company’s written press releases, articles, white papers, product launches, and project overviews are not crafted following the Associated Press (AP) style guidelines, stop submitting them to the media. Nothing is more inconvenient to an editor than receiving a document entitled, “Press Release” that reads and looks nothing like one.

While it is fine to incorporate industry-specific language in your releases, always write about your company, products, or services in accurate, well-founded, and unpretentious terms; and (for formal submissions to editors) always, always adhere to AP style. Otherwise, the journalist might click the “delete” key in no-time flat. If nothing else, he or she may move onto the next submission, one that follows editorial best practices and narrative content and style rules.

4. Outsourcing is Productive: If your company’s press coverage or branding publicity is under-performing, there are reasons. Usually, this stems from lack of understanding or internal resources for developing press campaigns and maintaining media contacts. Utilizing the services of an experienced PR firm leads to productive and proactive publicity. The right firm will manage communications between your company and the public (the media, your trade sectors or clients / consumers) to promote favorable relationships and portray a desired brand image.

This includes strategic communications with the community, business-to-business and / or business-to-consumer targets, investors, and other partisans. In contrast to advertising, these outsourced PR campaigns can glean exposure through public or customer / client interest and news, rather than paid advertisements, to give their messages third-party endorsement.

In closing… If you or your company leaders seek to be regularly quoted as experts in the publications and websites your customers, clients or prospects read…and your products or design or architecture projects are missing out on promotion or publicity, contact us for a free assessment of your integrated public / media relations needs.

Don Eberly and Jeff Collard

Co-owners / Founders, Eberly & Collard Public Relations

Friday, May 16, 2014

Internal Curing Holds Water

The February / March 2014 issue of Concrete Contractor features a byline article written by our team at ECPR, which is story that sheds light on our client, Big River Industries, and the company’s high-tech architectural product, expanded clay lightweight aggregate.

The story involves Colorado engineers saving project time and money while installing a second water tank for Denver Water, a public utility company that serves high-quality water and promotes its efficient use to 1.3 million people in the city of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. The installation was made possible by using the internal curing of concrete. Internal curing (IC) of concrete using lightweight aggregate increases hydration, which prevents shrinkage and cracking, improves durability, and ensures better quality, while ultimately reducing costs, according to the ASTM Standard Specification for Lightweight Aggregate (LWA) for Internal Curing of Concrete.

“Internal curing results in only slightly higher initial costs; however, when considering the extended service life, these costs are far outmatched by the value IC concrete provides,” says Jeff Speck, vice president of sales and marketing for Alpharetta, Ga.-based Big River Industries, the nation’s largest producer of high-quality expanded clay lightweight aggregate (LWA), called Riverlite. Speck chaired the ASTM Subcommittee C09.21 on Lightweight Aggregates and Lightweight Concrete.

The benefits are evidenced by Colorado engineers’ successful water tank installation for Denver Water in 2012 as well as three additional tank installation projects using IC concrete on the schedule for 2014. The project entailed challenges and well-thought solutions on the part of the project team, leading to an interesting outcome. Click here to view the full online version of the Concrete Contractor article here.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Titanic' Begonias Blossom and “Sail” Again

Many know the tragic story of the Titanic ship that sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Over the past few decades, many artifacts have been retrieved and salvaged from its resting place at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean. In 2010, salvage operator RMS Titanic, Inc., accidentally, recovered a container of 400 2,000-seed “trade packages” of Primadonna begonia, which were being shipped by the German breeder Ernst Benary. 

After finding documentation connecting the container packets to Benary, the company regained possession of the seeds. The mere fact the seeds were recovered from the site of the most historic shipwreck in modern history was astounding enough to the Benary team, but then came another shocking and almost impossible discovery. Gudrun Rufeger, a seed technology specialist, brought up the idea of germinating the seed to see if it was still viable. Given the fact that the container was kept at low temperatures of 32-35 F and high pressure of 5,557 psi at 12,500 feet below sea level, the seeds were preserved almost cryogenically.

Gudrun Rufeger analyzing Titanic Begonia liners.
Rufeger, along with two professors from the University of Hoenheim, based in Stuttgart, Germany, Karl Schmid and Albrecht Melchinger, successfully grew out the begonia seeds in 406-count plug trays and 24-count, 84-size liners, another astounding feat in this intriguing horticulture story! With sales beginning on April 14 of this year, the 102nd anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, the plant was named the “Titanic Begonia,” according to Benary co-managing director Matthias Redlefsen. As for quantities and prices, Matthias joked, “Very low, and very high!”

This one-of-a-kind recovery story does not come often for the horticulture industry, but it surely is one worth publicizing! Congrats to Ernst Benary and its [kind of] new ‘Titanic’ Begonias!

Ernst Benary - 'Titanic' Begonia

Friday, May 2, 2014

Raves for a Romantic Home and Talented Designer

For interior designers, the competition for securing new interior design projects as well as having completed projects published in print and online is steep. With residential, commercial and hospitality building and renovation on the rise, active interior designers, design firms and design-oriented contractors vie for jobs among the proliferated competition. Landing new projects is almost always foundational upon having a vast portfolio of relatable design work and a trusted reputation that stems from publicity.

Rave reviews, being published, social media interaction, design awards, and design-event participation all add up to a comprehensive toolkit that becomes a designer’s most valuable marketing asset- one that leads to creating a trusted brand for a designer or design firm. At Eberly & Collard Public Relations, we help our interior design-based clients reap new business and sales by generating published articles and feature stories that showcase their services, capabilities and design expertise.

Our synergistic backgrounds in both design and design-oriented media relations make our team a natural fit for taking clients from static and reactive marketing to proactive integrated marketing and results-oriented public / media relations.

We recently secured a feature article and photo spread for our client, Knotting Hill Interiors, in the April 2014 national print issue of Romantic Homes. The magazine showcased the CEO and principal designer Kimberly Grigg’s own home, making this a much more personal experience for readers.

Our team attained and facilitated an editorial interview for Kimberly and assisted the editor with writing portions of the design case-study, which revealed great ideas from Kimberly for bringing charm and elegance with a touch of southern flair into the home of the featured homeowner. Of course, having an artistic client such as Kimberly, whose design skills and knowledge are parallel to none, makes our media relations campaigns for her a ton of fun as well.

Read and view the entire feature via the below slideshow.