ARCHITECT contributor Jeff Link understands that while engaging the right public relations agency can go a long way in helping small firms raise their profiles, the costs can be high, and an internal communications team may better understand a firm’s values than an external agency.

Here, several design practices offer strategies for when—and when not—to solicit outside PR help.

Navigating the Media Landscape

When Claus Benjamin Freyinger and Andrew Holder, co-principals of the Los Angeles Design Group, sought to promote their 2017 renovation of a lake house owned by film producer Jason Micallef, they turned to the Los Angeles–based consultancy This x That. Holder says they wanted to bring mainstream attention to the Whitney Museum of American Art–inspired hillside dwelling, but felt adrift in the evolving media landscape. “If we wanted to be smart about how to engage that shifting landscape of media dissemination, we had to get experts,” he says.

This x That founders Danielle Rago (who has contributed to ARCHITECT) and Honora Shea pitched a story to Los Angeles Times writer Marissa Gluck, with whom they had existing relationship, and secured what Holder describes as a big win: a stand-alone feature that appeared in the Home & Garden section as part of a recurring series on southern California residences. “Access to an outlet like that had totally evaded us in the past,” Holder says. “We had been featured in magazines specific to our discipline, but we were clueless as to how we could relate our work to the broader public. This x That was able to translate our internal conversations about the project into something the rest of the world could understand.”

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