Introducing Access Control

Following feedback from you, our amazing community, we’ve been working hard on an exciting new feature called Access Control.

Available exclusively on the Studio Plan, Access Control provides more clarity for Journalists, Editors and BowerKit Owners.

For BowerKit Owners

Once turned on, Access Control will put your BowerKit into ‘Preview Mode’, giving you one-on-one control over access.

Any user viewing the kit will have the opportunity to Request Access. You can then control their level of access, giving them:

  • View Only Access: this allows the user to view the full BowerKit, but image downloads will be blocked
  • Low-res Access: this gives the user full view access and access to low-resolution image downloads
  • Hi-res Access: this gives the user full view access and access to high-resolution image downloads
  • Edit Access: this will give the user full access to edit your project — only give this level of access to trusted users as they will be able to delete your BowerKit, which cannot be undone

For Journalists and Editors

Journalists will now see a new-look Discover section. There are now two options for viewing BowerKits: ‘View’ and ‘Request Access’

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If you see a ‘View’ button, you’ll be able view the full BowerKit, contact the BowerKit Contact Person, and potentially download images.

If a BowerKit has Access Control turned on, you’ll be able to hit the ‘Request Access’ button. This will send an alert to the BowerKit Owner, inviting them to give you access.

When trying to download content, you will receive a warning if you do not have Download Access, and you’ll be asked to send a further request.

When access is granted for a BowerKit, you will receive an email alert.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Architects

For many architects, January is the slow month. Down Under it’s time to hit the beach and hit the refresh button. But it’s also a time for New Year’s resolutions and to start thinking about those higher level ideas, the vision that takes us forward into the next year.

For Nic and me, it’s a time to review where BowerBird is headed, and to dream up new and better tools for Architects and Designers to connect with journalists in meaningful ways.

But we think it’s also a great opportunity to reflect on some learnings from last year, and help you to develop some New Year’s resolutions to help you get published in 2017. Begin as you mean to go on…

So here are our top five:

1. Tell better stories (simply)

Telling stories is simple, and it’s crucial to communication. Learning how to tell your stories will help you in all aspects of your business, from talking to clients, to presenting to awards and communicating internally. If you can tell a good story, people will better understand your ideas and your philosophy.

In 2016, we gave you some simple tools for telling the stories of your projects. Why not put them into practice by writing the Brief, Challenges and Solutions from your recent project—go on, see how easy it is to uncover the story.

2. Enter Awards

Now, we’ve been hearing some reports of what they’re calling ‘Awards fatigue’. Let’s face it, there are a lot of awards programs out there. But there is some real value in entering awards, such as:

i) Exposure—awards programs usually have a system and staff that help to promote your work. By entering, even if you don’t win, you put yourself into a system that aims to help you get exposure. Find the programs that provide the most support and media coverage if you’re looking to get more exposure.

ii) Purpose—entering awards helps you to clarify what your practice is about. There will usually be in-depth questions about your work and who you are (and what makes you different). Entering awards forces you to address and understand key things about your practice and can inform future planning.

iii) Presentation—they are also another fantastic excuse to tell the stories of your projects. Sometimes this will be through a paper/digital entry, but many awards also give you the opportunity to present in-person. By using simple storytelling, you get invaluable experience in communicating your story and your ideas. Overcoming a fear of public speaking can pay huge dividends for your practice.

If you’ve never entered an award, do it this year.

3. Create a Media Kit

Okay, so we’ve got a bit of a vested interest in this, but creating a package of content for each of your projects is just so valuable. You can use a tool like BowerBird, or you can create a simple word doc or PDF. Even if you don’t proactively seek out journalists (but why wouldn’t you?), if someone knocks on your door, you’ll have everything they need to publish a story.

Why not fill out our very simple media kit form here using your latest project, and we can review your content for you, no obligation…

4. Contact 10 new journalists

Making contact with journalists—whether through social media, LinkedIn or BowerBird—is crucial to getting published. Once you’ve made contact, you’re on their radar, and you might even find they start coming to you for new stories.

Starting today, go and follow/hunt down 10 new journalists. You can even use BowerBird to find and follow architecture and design journalists for free. Do it here.

5. Sign up to BowerBird

Okay, so this one sounds like it’s all about us, but there’s actually a lot to be gained from the Free Plan on BowerBird. You can create draft BowerKits which journalists can find and follow, you can connect with journalists—a sort of ‘hi I’m here’—and you can discover a whole world of design publications.

There’s no catch, all that is free, and it gets you in the game, and in front of people who want to help tell your story. So jump on, it’s 2017, the year of the BowerBird.

We want to thank all our followers, subscribers and supporters for the most fantastic 2016. We can’t wait to help you all grow your practices, tell your stories and do amazing creative things in 2017!

From hero to published: 4 media tips on hero images

 

This week BowerBird co-founder and architectural photographer Nic Granleese gives us some media tips on choosing a hero image for your media kit. This post has a sister article on Nic’s personal blog that goes into the photography and technical side of hero shots here.

What is a hero shot?

You’ve probably heard of the term “Hero Shot” but what is it exactly? A hero shot is basically an image that will come to identify your project. As an example, think of Falling Water. The image that just popped into your head is the hero image. There’s thousands of other images of that building, but one image has come to identify it.

You don’t need to choose the hero shot.

I almost never choose the hero shot for a project. What I do instead is shortlist images that I think could be potential hero shots and include them in a media kit. I then let editors and writers choose the best image for their needs. This allows the best public image to float to the top without my personal biases. What occurs time after time is that one particular image becomes a favourite. The nice part about this approach is that you don’t have to agonise over the “right” image, it’s something that happens naturally.

Provide several variants of the same hero image

If you have a really amazing standout photo, chances are there will be several versions of it. There may be a landscape version, a portrait version, one with people, one without. My rule of thumb is to include variants that allow for a different use (landscape vs portrait for example), or tell a different story (people vs without people).

Variants that aren’t useful are images that are almost identical but with a slight change. For example two portrait images taken one metre apart. The format is the same and the content is the same, and no new information is gained by having the second image.

Editors may not always choose the hero shot

After a project has been out in the world for a year, a hero shot naturally floats to the top. After hundreds of blogs, several magazines, a TV show and lots of social media, one image will stand out as the popular favourite. Along that journey some editors will choose images you would never consider the hero shot. That’s absolutely normal. Different people will choose different images for their purposes. Overall though, one image will come to define a project.

Are you worried your images aren’t good enough?

If you’re worried your images aren’t publishable, you’re not alone. The good news is that often you’re being too hard on yourself and just need an objective set of eyes. If that’s you, feel free to send us an email here with some images. We’re happy to have a look and let you know our thoughts.

A Better BowerBird

We’re excited to introduce you to an updated BowerBird. You’ll notice a streamlined design, putting all your content right at your fingertips. It is more than just a refreshed design – which we think looks pretty sharp – it’s a nip and a tuck to make your experience much richer.

The most obvious change is your new Dashboard, which is your portal into the app. This is where you access your own BowerKits, edit your profile and invite other users.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be further streamlining the user experience and adding new features to make telling your stories even easier. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch with Nic and Ben here.

Launch BowerBird

New Journalists

When we started BowerBird (or MediaMap as it was then known) back in 2014, it was a one-way communication tool for architects and designers to send projects to journalists. The biggest development you’ll notice in BowerBird today is the ability for journalists to log in and actively search for new content.

Over the past few weeks, journalists – from social media, blogs, magazines, newspapers and TV – have logged into BowerBird to search for projects. It’s now very much a two-way street.

We have journalists, researchers and editors from across the world who are actively looking for new and interesting projects for publications. To name just a few:

 

And our favourites, the freelancers, are some of the best people to contact. Freelancers have connections to multiple publications, and can often help you to craft and pitch your stories. We’ve recently welcomed these freelancers to BowerBird:

For Australian Architects

We have also received a request from FremantleMedia for the next series of the ABC’s Restoration Australia. They are looking for historically significant projects to follow. If you or a client have a building dating between 1815 – 1960 and are about to embark on its restoration, they’d love to hear from you.

Filming will start in September and the size and budget doesn’t matter but passion and history does.

To find out more please get in touch here and we’ll provide further details.

So now is the time to add your projects to BowerBird and get those stories told. Get started with your free account here.

New Feature: Image Download Alerts

We’re excited to let you in on one of our favourite new BowerBird features.

As you may have noticed, when you create a BowerKit and add your images, you’re also asked to add your photographer.

This important step not only notifies the photographer that you’re uploading their images, but also drives an important new feature: Image Download Alerts.

Now, when images are downloaded by a journalist, the photographer – along with the BowerKit contact person – will get an email alert, keeping them informed about where the project, and their images, are being featured; or more specifically, the name of the journalist who has downloaded the images, and the publication/s they work for.

You’ve now looped the photographer into the story, helping them to be properly credited and to reach out to the journalist if needed.

For paid subscribers there’s also an Image Download Log, which helps you to track image downloads over time – handy reminders of where your project is likely to be published. You can then follow up with those journalists directly to talk more about your story.

And because every user on BowerBird creates a profile, you now know who each journalist is and which publications they work for in just one click.

Do you have a project you’d like to get published? Send us a link and we’ll help you set up an account and create your first BowerKit. Create your free account here.

 

5 Myths of Architecture Publishing

When it comes to getting your architecture published, we know it can be a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to reassure you by dispelling 5 common myths…

1. It’s who you know

This is one we hear a lot. It’s this idea that the well-known architects have ‘special relationships’ with the top editors, who will always publish their work over yours. There’s two main things wrong with this logic:

Firstly, if this was true, you would only ever read stories about a handful of architects. But websites and magazines publish thousands of projects a year, and these top tier practices can’t fill every spot. The architects you read about the most have taken the time to prepare content for editors and have simply started talking to them. Do relationships grow from this interaction? Of course, but there’s nothing precluding you from connecting too. Every relationship starts with ‘Hello’.

Secondly, writers and editors are looking for fresh content. While some publications have a particular aesthetic or architectural bent, there are so many others looking for new and interesting work – your work.

2. It takes too much time

It simply doesn’t have to. If you’ve got your images together, you can spend less than an hour putting together some text and creating a beautiful press kit (did someone say BowerKit?). You can then connect with journalists and share your work in a matter of minutes. Read more about how much time you should spend here.

3. I need to learn to write

The most important thing to remember is that journalists are the ones who do the writing. All you need to do is highlight the unique and interesting parts of your project. You can do this very simply by following our Brief, Challenges, Solutions method. By giving the Who, What, When, Where and Why of your project, you’ve done all you need to do. Journalists will ask you for anything else they need for their story.

4. I won’t get published

This is the big one: the fear that you will send your project to a journalist and hear nothing back. The truth is, if you send to only one or two journalists (your favourite magazines, perhaps) it is possible you won’t hear back, and you probably won’t get published. But it most likely has nothing to do with you or the publishability of your project.

Magazine editors are busy people and have limited spots to fill. If you widen your net and contact at least 10-20 journalists from a range of digital and print publications matching your project, not only are you more likely to get a response, you’re almost guaranteed to get published.

5. It’s just too scary

This is something architects and designers rarely say out loud, but the internal monologue can be deafening. We’re not going to tell you it isn’t daunting sharing your work with journalists – and by extension, the whole world! We’ve been in your shoes, and we too have been scared when putting ourselves out there – it’s totally natural.

But it’s only really confronting the first time you do it. Once you find out how easy it is and how nice your community of journalists is, it won’t ever be that scary again.

More importantly, if you’re scared, it’s probably because you really care about your work, and if you really care it means you’re bound to find some journalists who care too.

So go forth, get started, and forget all these myths. The only thing standing between you and getting published is clicking Send (or Send BowerKit to be precise). If you have other questions you’d like to ask us, or just want us to help you get started, send us an email here.