Welcome to Future Talks by RTF, where we delve into the minds shaping tomorrow’s landscapes. In this episode, we are honored to be in conversation with Annie Reid, a luminary figure in journalism, copywriting, and the art of storytelling within the realms of property, design, and architecture.

With over two decades of prolific writing, Annie’s journey in the world of words began long before she founded Atrium Media in 2009. Her bylines have graced the pages of Australia’s leading newspapers, design magazines worldwide, and her expertise has been sought after by organizations and agencies seeking the perfect turn of phrase.

However, Annie’s narrative prowess extends far beyond journalism. Her inaugural book in 2009 ignited a passion for ghostwriting, leading her to craft compelling narratives that adorn the shelves of bookstores globally. From property insights to captivating lifestyle memoirs, her penmanship adorns a spectrum of genres, captivating readers and collaborating with esteemed publishers such as Major Street Publishing, Hardie Grant, Publish Central, and Wiley.

Join us as we chat with Annie, exploring how she crafts narratives and transforms words into beautiful copy that resonates commercially and aligns with her mission: ‘uncovering what’s hidden and sharing it respectfully with the world’.

RTF: Hi Annie, We are glad to have you as a guest on Future Talks by RTF. Thanks for joining us. How crucial do you consider the idea of ‘constantly learning’? How has it shaped the progression of your career?

Annie: The beauty of working in a creative industry is the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of places and clients. The key is to be curious and open-minded, appreciating that learning can come from being on the job, at a networking event, in a book or at a workshop – not simply from a university. Learning is also not just about your core craft – writing – but the bigger picture of business itself. I’m currently reading Company of One by Paul Jarvis about how staying small and being better is more effective than scaling and growth. Constantly learning is everywhere!

RTF: What was the idea behind coming up with Atrium Media? What were some challenges involved?

Annie: When I returned from working in London, the idea to freelance appealed although I had incredibly naïve preconceptions – sipping lattes in cafes and wistfully tapping away on my laptop. I bought Wiley’s Freelancing for Australians for Dummies and little did I realise that writing is just one component of running a small creative business. Tough lessons included big tax bills due to not putting enough money aside, client management growing pains and working all hours trying to manage my time. Something I’ve learned over 12 years at Atrium Media is that you never feel as though you’ve ‘made it’ – there’s always the next thing to do. 

RTF: What does the balancing act of working for an organization and building one’s own brand look like?

Annie: It’s a juggle! While I work on a retainer for some companies it’s a constant balancing act to build in time to develop my brand, manage billable hours and also focus on work aligned with my values. I hired a VA to help me create a weekly planner and then switched from endless lists in notepads and diaries to the digital platform, Asana. This has been a life changer! Not only has it allocated time for focussed work, but also time to spend on business admin and brand building.

RTF: What does it take for writers to get published in the top architecture and design platforms? 

Annie:  Patience, persistence and passion. When I wanted to write for interior magazines, I went to the newsagent and physically wrote down the contact details of all the editors I wanted to write for. I followed up and kept following up, using a spreadsheet and recording every interaction with suggested pitches and phone calls. I also went to events, said yes to launches and attended openings, seeing every meeting as an opportunity. After all, when you work in comms, you need to communicate!

RTF: How important is a media kit? What are the tips to make it more comprehensive?

Annie: Media kits are necessary for editorial work and any other profile work that might use your image or bio. My first tip is to invest in professional images choosing a photographer aligned with the work you want to attract. Have a new set taken every 2-3 years, and ensure you have a high-res and low-res head shot to send. Next, write a long version of your bio (400 words) and then a 200 and 100-word version so you’ll always have an option to send out depending on what you’ve been asked for. Send the low-res image and bio, and even a separate document with links to work or media appearances that best illustrate your brand and style.

RTF: What is your opinion on the evolution of content throughout the years and how has social media affected it?

Annie: Content – like language – is constantly evolving in the way we tell stories and how we access storytelling. It has changed so much that now libraries are recycling their books and transforming into knowledge-sharing community hubs, rather than as simply places to store books. It’s very different to when I studied surrounded by 20 books on the floor! Social media has added a digital layer to content storytelling, which continues to compete for our time on screens. It seeps into family life too, and more than ever I feel the need to switch off and filter out so much of what I see online. I’m also aware that this choice is a privilege. I’m aware of how content and social media will influence my young daughters as they grow up and try to learn how to help them navigate the online world safely to trust words and content. 

RTF: What is your process of sorting through pitches and choosing the content to work on? What is your definition of a ‘convincing’ pitch?

Annie: I’ve been on both sides of the fence – as an editor and a journalist. The best pitches start with a journalist who can suggest where their feature would best fit because they understand the publication. Then, those who can distil their core idea or angle into a one to two-sentence elevator pitch. I also want to know timings – are there relevant interviews lined up, are there professional images ready to accompany the story or are they scheduled to be taken? If so, send a link with the photos attached. A final note – if you haven’t written for the publication before, suggest meeting for a coffee so you can introduce yourself. Follow up politely – and back yourself!

RTF: After around 15 years as a journalist, editor and publisher, how rewarding do you find your job to be and what are the plans ahead?

Annie: The freedom and flexibility to continue pushing myself into higher work drives me. I treat each project as an incredible opportunity to learn and I go all-in, while also ensuring that what follows is even more exciting and out of my comfort zone. I also want to model for my daughters the ability to turn a passion into a paying career. I’m proud to be part of the conversation to enrich our cities with design content too. Right now, my biggest priority is getting my first book to my publisher and seeing it on bookshelves around the world. As a result, I’ve identified some future ideas to explore, so perhaps that’ll be the next iteration of Atrium Media and how I can start leveraging this book experience into something bigger. It’s nerve-wracking but also very exciting.

RTF: How does your off-the-table life shape your professional life?

Annie: This is an interesting one! Before my book and COVID-19, I liked to keep business and personal life separate, which included an external office. But as my two young children demand more of my time, I have moved work home – and unexpectedly, I’m enjoying it. I wrote my book in the home office early or late hours whenever I had a moment, and that took most of my ‘free’ time. What was interesting is that I struggled to do what I normally love, exercise, because I didn’t have the bandwidth to find time for another ‘thing’. I’ve put on some book kilos. Apparently, that’s a thing! My usual programming has resumed, and I’m back walking, going to events and reading books and newspapers – which helps feed my creativity and love for beauty in life. It’s been an interesting learning curve and next time (hopefully) I can try to manage this a little better. 

RTF: What would be your advice to young professionals who are looking to take a plunge into writing and editing?

Annie: Refer back to my response to question four, but be smart and strategic. Don’t take shortcuts – plan out your approach and accept that it can take many years to find success. Many writers work part-time in other fields to make ends meet and it can be hard riding the income bumps and dealing with imposter syndrome. However, the ability to express creativity through words and have someone pay you to do this is something that makes me feel incredibly fortunate. I’ve had a lot of people confess they always wanted to be a writer or a journalist, but never did it. If you want to make it happen and you have the health, choices and options to do so, then go for it. It is the best job in the world! Good luck!


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.