After 20-plus years as an award-winning journalist and editor, Kim Weiss (left) founded Blueplate PR as a boutique public relations agency in Raleigh, NC, in 2005.
Her focus on architecture and related disciplines was no accident,. She’d spent the previous two decades writing about, and advocating for, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Most of her efforts took place within the magazine she edited –the former Spectator Magazine.
And through Spectator, she created the Triangle Architecture Awards Program, the first design awards that honored architectural projects specifically within the Triangle region regardless of the designers’ locations. Years later, she passed her program along to the Triangle section of the American Institute of Architects. (AIA Triangle didn’t sponsor a design awards program before then.)
With Blueplate PR, Kim’s mission was, and still is, crystal clear: to provide professional public relations services for small to mid-sized architectural firms and related businesses and organizations with modest marketing budgets. (The same mission for new authors evolved later.)
The goal: to Increase public and professional awareness of their work, to enhance their positive reputations, and to establish the principals as thought-leaders in design and construction industry.
The strategy: Create visibility on as many respected editorial platforms as possible, including traditional media (print and broadcast), online resources (blogs, websites, e-zines and online journals), and, of course, social media.
Long-term public relations efforts result in increased visibility, recognition, and an enhanced positive reputation.
(Ready to talk? firstname.lastname@example.org, 919.675.8586)
As a public relations agency, rather than a marketing agency, Blueplate PR maintains consistent visibility for you on as many respected editorial platforms as possible, including traditional resources (print and broadcast) and, perhaps most importantly, online media/content distribution resources: blogs, websites, e-zines, and print publications’ online galleries. This is earned media — media attention that you earn in a variety of ways. It includes mentions, shares, SEO, and media coverage acquired through special events, such as speaking engagements and charitable work.
As a public relations agency, Blueplate PR also helps you maintain consistent, quality content on as many social media platforms as you like, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Email, and your Blog. This is owned media: You own it so you can do anything you want with it. This strategy also includes posting firm news and links to media coverage on your website’s “News Room” section (see #5 below).
As public relations professionals with knowledge of media demographics and reach, we can advise and council you on any advertising, sponsorship purchases, and other forms of paid media placements that you consider. Paid media includes Facebook and Google ads, display advertising in print publications and on websites and blogs, and sponsorship tag lines on public radio.
It won’t happen often, but when we believe paid media is warranted, we’ll let you know.
A well-rounded PR campaign usually involves all three types of media.
What To Expect from Blueplate PR
PR agencies don’t usually spell out the “tools in our quivers” until a contract is signed. They certainly don’t talk about rates and fees. But you may have noticed by now that Blueplate PR isn’t like other PR agencies. We want you to know the full depth and breadth of our services and benefits up front. So..
A full-service PR campaign* for contract clients includes all of the following…
- Website Analysis: We study every nook, cranny, word, and image to make sure your site includes everything the media needs to make covering you and your work easy and efficient. We also make sure it is optimized for search engines via ample text, keywords and phrases, and changing content. (About the latter, see News Room below)
- Website Text: We write or re-write your website text, if necessary, for SEO and writing quality. And just so you know, we insist on writing quality informed by professional journalism standards, not marketing-speak. If we discover bad grammar, poor organization, the use of passive voice — things like that — you’re going to hear about it. Why? Because poor writing reflects very poorly on you.
- PR Plan: We create and execute a PR Plan specific to your needs, goals, and expectations. This will serve as an outline — or road map — as we execute our PR efforts on your behalf.
- Content Distribution Network: We research and compile a comprehensive list of media sources (traditional and online) specific to your industry and target audience(s). Pre-Internet, this was called a Media List. But Content Distribution Network, or CDN, encompasses options for disseminating your content beyond media sources, such as your emailing list.
- Press Releases: We write and distribute press releases to your CDN –– with your prior approval, of course. We will discuss topics for releases and you’ll be surprised to discover how much news you already generate. We’ll also discuss the difference between professional press releases and marketing fluff. We do not write the latter.
- News Room: Whatever you want to call it (a rose by any other name…), we help you develop a place on your website where all of your press releases are archived and where all links to media coverage you receive are posted. (FYI: This might involve your website designer.)
- Project Submissions: As you make your images and drawings available to us, we submit your projects to a host of architectural sites, blogs, and online galleries, as well as select print journals and magazines. This is a very time-consuming enterprise, but absolutely essential.
- Pitch Story Concepts: When warranted and appropriate for a publication’s editorial calendar, we pitch your stories directly to media individuals. If the source decides to publish your project, we make sure he or she has everything necessary to do that — such as interview arrangements, existing photos or a time/date for a photo shoot, drawings, credit lists, etc..
- Social Media: We monitor and provide posts for your social media platforms (at your request) to maintain an active, vibrant presence for you on those platforms. We make sure responses are seen and questions are answered when necessary. This is a vital aspect of the business climate today. Ignore social media at your peril!
- Newsletter: If you already distribute a newsletter or would like to, we will write and/or edit the content you or your team generate.
- Additional writing and editing: With our knowledge of the processes and requirements, we can write and edit text for awards submissions, RFP/RFQ cover letters., seminar proposals, case studies, op-eds, etc. Kim Weiss also has years of successful experience in assisting with proposals for AIA Fellowship elevation.
- Special Events: We work with you to plan, promote, organize, and execute any special events you choose to sponsor or host.
- Photo Shoots: We work with photographers you hire to make sure they provide full coverage of your projects, from details to comprehensive images. This usually means being present at photo shoots.
- Media Training: If you would like, we will coach you on best practices for media interaction.
- Other Services: We are always looking for new opportunities to raise your visibility and increase your Internet presence. When we find them, we pursue them — at no extra charge.
*Book Authors: Services vary depending on genres and publisher involvement. We will discuss this during an initial meeting.
Rates & Retainer Fees
A full-service, 12-month Contract: $1200/month flat retainer, all-inclusive (no billable hours) due on or before the first of each month
A La Carte (aka per-project basis), no contract: $75/hour
Blueplate Special: With a $300/month contracted retainer fee (max. 6 months), the hourly rate drops to $35
*Book Authors: We will discuss rates and fees during our initial consultation.