High-quality, regularly published content keeps your firm relevant in the eyes of prospective clients and employees — not to mention the boost in search result rankings. But coming up with topics to feed the content beast is easier said than done.
When we work with architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) clients on content strategy plans, we recommend breaking the editorial planning process into blog post types, or categories. Working within the restrictions of a predefined category, it’s much easier to nail down an interesting, approachable, and specific topic.
In no particular order, we’ve identified ten blog post types for AEC firms, along with several worth-the-read examples from some of our recent architecture clients.
Event Announcements & Recaps
When your team members speak at an industry conference or event, you don’t want it to go unnoticed. Take the time to write up a preview beforehand, letting people know that they can attend. Once the event wraps, take a minute to recap your team’s contribution by grabbing a quote, sharing the slide deck, or highlighting key takeaways.
- “Fentress at TEDxMileHigh” by Fentress Architects
- “PGAL Team Wins Best Presentation at RDA’s Charrette” by PGAL
- “Reeve and Wehe Speak at Annual APPA Meeting” by Christner
External Publication Excerpts
If someone on your team writes or contributes to a well-known publication, it’s certainly worth highlighting the article on your own site. Write a quick summary of your team’s contribution to the piece or pull an excerpt and link back to the original publication.
- “Lessons from Ferguson: Building Complete Communities” by SWT Design
- “A Renaissance for Camden” by KSS Architects
Which areas of expertise does your firm own? Whether it’s urban flood prevention or underfloor air distribution, you have the opportunity to showcase your unique take on that highly specialized skill set — all while citing examples from your firm’s portfolio.
- “Building a Resilient City: Reducing Urban Flooding” by SWT Design
- “Using Next-Generation Underfloor Air Distribution Systems to Create High-Performance Office Buildings” by HOK
If your firm specializes in services for certain verticals — say, museums, universities, or healthcare — your blog is a great place to showcase that industry-specific expertise. Start with a vertical, then drill down to a more focused topic, such as a list of interior design trends for the industry or an architectural challenge common to this field.
- “Books by the (Square) Foot: Preserving Assets, Maximizing Investments” by KSS Architects on Medium
- “Trends Influencing Stadium and Arena Design” by HOK
In the eyes of both current and potential employees, it’s important to show that people matter within your firm. When a team member gets a big promotion, a new industry certification, or hits another milestone, take the time to publicly celebrate the news.
- “Planning for Growth: Bonnie Roy, SWT Partner, Earns AICP Certification” by SWT Design
- “Ned Kirschbaum Elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows” by Fentress Architects
By highlighting the individuals within your firm, you’ll show potential employees and prospective clients what it’s like to work with your team. Sit down with your CEO for a quick in-person interview, or have a designer answer a few questions via email. Questions could range from what their typical day is like to current projects and predictions for the next 10 years in landscape architecture.
- “AIA Architecture Week Interview – Danielle Appello, AIA, LEED AP BD+D – Senior Project Architect” by Wight & Company
- “HOK Designer Q+A: Claire Moore, Structural Engineering Practice Leader” by HOK
Sure, you and your team know what your company culture is like. But to potential employees and clients, your events, activities, and volunteer outings are invisible — unless you offer a peek inside. You don’t need to share every little thing that happens in the office, but if there’s an exciting event or volunteer opportunity, take the time to recap it for external audiences.
- “PGAL Collaborates with Rebuilding Together Houston” by PGAL
- “Down by the River: Saturday on the Delaware” by KSS Architects
- “Mentoring the Designers of the Future” by KSS Architects
While a well-designed project page tells the overarching, visual story of a new space, a blog post can dive into the details and process behind the work. Talk with the project team or the client to collect quotes and uncover the stories that went untold in the initial case study.
- “Celebrating the Environment, Growing Connections with Nature – Gottesman RTW Academy” by KSS Architects
- “HOK-Led Joint Venture Designs Terminal Modernization for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport” by HOK
On the Boards
In addition to all those recently wrapped projects, work-in-progress stories can also be of interest to your audience — as long as you’ve cleared the sneak peek with the client.
- “PGAL is Top-Ranked Team for University of Houston Hofheinz Pavilion Project” by PGAL
- “Heathrow Airport Names HOK to Shortlist for Terminal of the Future Expansion Project” by HOK
AEC Industry Essays
Project highlights offer important examples of your work — but to round out your expertise, take a step away from case studies to write passionately about the broader ideas sweeping the industry. Let your employees sound off on the trends, movements, and policies that affect their work.
- “Prove It or Lose It: Design’s Role in Evidence-Based Policymaking” by SWT Design
- “On the Fringe – Contemplating Biodiversity” by SWT Design
- “The Changing American City” by KSS Architects
With specific post types in mind, all that’s left to do is narrow down your topics and get to writing. For more inspiration and architecture-related content tips, sign up for our quarterly AEC newsletter.
Author: Alec Gleason leads new business development efforts at TOKY with more than 15 years of sales experience. He is a member of SMPS St. Louis and will serve as the chapter Membership Chair beginning September 1, 2016.