We bump into a lot of other architects and designers in town, and naturally the topic of blogging comes up often. We’re always happy to hear that a particular blog post has resonated with someone and we’re continually honored to hear that the BUILD Blog is making an impact in the community. We’re also pleasantly surprised to hear how many architects and architecture firms want to start a design blog. This is great news and we reinforce all the reasons for starting a design blog:
1. The new math is sharing, and blogs do it very effectively.
2. Blogging ties you into a powerful (and global) community of architects, builders and designers.
3. It gives you chance to strengthen muscles that you may not get to use often during the standard workday: creative writing, research & development, graphic design, and, most importantly, exercising an opinion.
4. Opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise will start to present themselves, like traveling, lecturing, and networking.
5. It’s an extremely effective method to promote what you do.
You’d think with reasons so advantageous, everybody and their drafter would be launching a blog. But that’s very much not the case from what we’ve observed; in fact most architects can’t seem to get a blog off the ground even when they know it will bring them more work. We hear about the same barriers over and over. Here’s the top 5 excuses for not starting a blog, along with our responses:
1. I just can’t seem to finish the first post I’ve been writing on, blah-blah-blah.
All too often designers worry about being perfect. A blog post doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a thesis dissertation. If you’re spending more than a couple of days on a post, it’s probably too long and complicated to hold the attention span of most readers anyway. Blog posts can be simple, short and quick. Take a look at this shot-from-the-hip post for instance, it took less than 2 hours to write and it’s been re-tweeted over a hundred times (apparently it’s resonating with people). Get those thoughts into words and start posting.
2. I’m not sure anyone would be interested in what I have to say.
Writing and blogging are muscles that get stronger with time and experience. A designer that made it through architecture school most likely has some noteworthy thoughts still rattling around in their head. It’s best to get those thoughts out before you drag your dinner guests into a conversation about the architecture of seed banks or some nonsense. Toss some ideas out there and see what sticks.
3. I’m just not a “blogger.”
“Web logs” are no longer (only) an obscure form of diary-keeping by digital extroverts who just happen to have some coding skills. A blog is a critical piece of your social media package; it communicates things that your website cannot (and should not). Blogging is marketing, networking and an effective form of cultural outreach. Having a blog presence is well worth taking a few hours away from that design competition that you and 200 other architects are all gambling on.
4. I don’t want the blog to compete with my billable work.
Kill two birds with one stone—if you’re doing research for a project, like cabinet graphics for instance, keep some notes and turn them into a blog post. Taking a trip somewhere? Write about it. Have some issues on site with a current project? Just blog it. These sorts of items are perfect for a blog post.
5. I don’t have the time to put into a blog.
Delegate. See that junior architect in the back who’s been working in Sketchup so long that she keeps bumping her head into her screen? It’s might do everyone some good to harness the energies and passions of your team, and provide some reprieve from the theoretical digital model-land. Let them flex some different creative muscles; put them to work on a blog post for a few hours each week.
So why are we such advocates of other architects and designers starting blogs? Because it’s the new way of working in a creative field and we like to be surrounded by ambitious professionals who are in the game. We like the sharing that blogging encourages, we like the interaction and we like the camaraderie of talented people. Blogging has gone from an experimental social media component to becoming a necessity of what we do and how we do it. Need more encouragement? Need another top 5 list? Here’s 5 great design blogs written by friends of ours that inspire us:
Life of an Architect by Bob Borson
chezerbey by Lauren and Kyle Zerbey
Coffee with an Architect by Jody Brown
atelier drome by Michelle Linden
Brute Force Collaborative by Michael Eliason
In short, no more excuses at cocktail parties. If you want to start a design-blog (or any sort of blog for that matter) it’s time to architect-up and start posting.
Cheers from Team BUILD.