Blog of an Architect

Bob Borson —  September 7, 2011 — 15 Comments

“Blog of an Architect:

More interactive than a traditional website, social media allows you to target your audience”

Did you know that you were being targeted? I didn’t know that I was targeting people – AKA “audience” – but as it turns out **SKA-DOOSH** I was. After I presented (as part of a panel) the purpose of Social Media for Architects at the 2010 Texas Society of Architects convention, I met Stephen Sharpe, the editor of Texas Architect magazine. Stephen is an interesting guy and a lot smarter than me – yet he still asked if I would write a 500 word article that summarized my presentation from the convention … so I did.

Three of four hundred iterations later, you get the article that just came out on the back page of the September/ October  2011 Design Awards issue of Texas Architect magazine Since my “audience” is in other places that don’t receive Texas Architect, I am recreating that article here.

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Texas Architect Life on an Architect

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LAST MAY, THE NUMBER OF WEBSITES WAS EXPECTED TO EXCEED 324 MILLION. That’s a lot of competition for architects who want their message heard. A more focused alternative is to create a blog and use social media to reach your target audience. The key word is “social” because it allows for an interactive dialogue between two or more people who share a common interest.

Blogs (short for “web log”) that are most successful are those that provide a helpful resource. In my experience as a regular blogger since January 2010, I’ve found it important to marry your communication goals with the needs of your potential audience. A majority of the architectural work I do is residential, so I tailor my blog posts to that sector of the market. Accordingly, I present ideas and design solutions to common problems most homeowners are likely to face. After publishing a blog post, I often receive comments and emails in response, and an immediate two-way conversation begins. Homeowners are able to ask questions in a non-committal manner, which for them makes reaching out to our firm much easier and direct.

Another benefit to writing and maintaining a blog is that the personality of the firm can be presented. Most architectural firms can provide a building that meets the client’s programming requirements, but what makes you stand apart from all those other architects is your unique personality and ideas—an ethereal concept that is difficult to demonstrate and fully appreciate during the course of a single client interview. A major goal for my site is to express to my readers who I am, how I work, and what it would be like for us to work together. Personality-driven content is beneficial because a growing number of our clients are already familiar with my blog. With information readily available, clients have already spent time browsing the Internet to look at projects and search for images that illustrate what they cannot describe. During the course of that research, they frequently discover my site.

If you’re still asking yourself “why should I blog?” consider the fact that a website renders your online presence as merely a monologue. Through my blog, I am able to present myself and my firm as experts who listen and are responsive to questions and comments. That interaction conveys the promise that working with us will be a collaborative and rewarding experience.

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Texas Architect Sept Oct Issue

Blog of an Architect - Texas Architect Article Sept Oct 2011

Here are the scans from the issue – I am very honored that I was asked to contribute to this issue. I used to tell people that I worried about what others would think about me whenever they read my writing. Eventually, within a few sentences they would realize that I have my own interpretation of “grammar” and “punctuation”. For the most part that isn’t true anymore because I have been writing so much that I have become numb to my obvious short-comings … except when those short-comings are on display to all of your neighborhood architectural peers. Hopefully nobody feels targeted except for me since I brought this on myself. Kind of like eating dinner at two buffets…

Cheers –

 

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  • http://wwww.bondystudio.com/blog Bruce Bondy

    Blogging certainly allows more opportunity to discuss, at length, topics you feel passionate about and offer a window into your thoughts, beliefs, and work.  In the beginning it feels like placing a billboard in the middle of a desert.  Any thoughts on how to get some eyeballs on your blog?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Bruce,

      Take a look at my response to Catherine (right below you). I really can’t stress enough that have a lot of content makes a difference in your SEO ratings and people will start finding you through search engines.

      You can also submit your content to http://www.stumbleupon.com and while that might generate some traffic and exposure for you, it won’t necessarily be the people you want. In the beginning I say try anything you think might help.

  • http://www.stephensonturner.com Catherine

    Great work. The personality of the firm is such an important part of why folks would choose an architect. 

    What I’d like to learn more about now is how to drive folks to your blog. Great content is one thing. How do you get noticed?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      That’s a good question. Having a good URL helps, posting regular content helps (affects your SEO ratings so you move up in search results) – for me I have both those things but using Twitter really helped build my initial community. It started off that the people who left comments were the same people I tweeted (this is still generally true).

      Over time, people start to leave comments once they see that they won’t be the only ones – there is comfort in numbers.

  • Paul

    I never really realized it, Bob, but your statement is absolutely true.  Especially in residential/light commercial, establishing the relationship with the client through any means necessary (social media, as one) is critical.  Bravo.

  • http://twitter.com/RigginsConst Riggins Construction

    Awesome!  Way to go!

  • Anonymous

    Bob I could not agree more with the need for the social media/blog aspect of an architects life these days. Now I just need to find that balance between my blog/social media and work and school. Why cant the day be 30 hours long?

  • Anonymous

    I’m just glad all my RT’s finally paid off! Congrats on all the hard work!

  • http://twitter.com/Splintergirl Amy Good

    I’m still a bit creeped out by the “targeted” though :)

  • http://twitter.com/Splintergirl Amy Good

    Wahoo! *throws arms in the air* Congrats!

  • http://twitter.com/GinaAlex Gina

    Great job, Bob! Dunno about the rest of your “audience,” but you’ve definitely hooked me in with your “unique personality and ideas.” Keep up the great work.

  • http://twitter.com/GinaAlex Gina

    Great job, Bob! Dunno about the rest of your “audience,” but you’ve definitely hooked me in with your “unique personality and ideas.” Keep up the great work.

  • http://twitter.com/TALV58 Todd Vendituoli

     Congratulations that was a great article and It is very true about the interaction with potential clients. If the conversation is started and continued, the potential client is already a step ahead in their journey to your firm. It helps show that you are a real person and you are willing to take the time, before things have even started to discuss things with them!

  • http://twitter.com/BuildingContent Collier Ward

    I’m glad to finally get to read the article. Congratulations, again.

    Keep up the good work. You represent yourself – and our profession – very admirably.

    Collier

  • http://twitter.com/BuildingContent Collier Ward

    I’m glad to finally get to read the article. Congratulations, again.

    Keep up the good work. You represent yourself – and our profession – very admirably.