Jack Marshall in Digiday raises the provocative digital marketing issue of advertising agencies increasingly ditching their blogs because, as one comm director at an agency put it, “Nobody reads agency blogs.” In some cases, he may be right.
It’s increasingly a worthy question to ask for any business as the article points out that of Fortune 500 companies, only 37 % actively maintain a blog (down from 50% that did in 2010) — that’s a huge drop in a short amount of time.
So why are many companies baling out of the blog business at such an alarming rate? And should you and your business be paying attention and following suit?
On one hand, the agency guy is spot on correct: no one reads agency blogs IF THE AGENCY BLOG IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT THE AGENCY. Seriously, who wants to read an advertisement for the firm? Don’t they get that info already on the company’s site? If all a blog does is repeat news releases or brag about the company winning industry awards, who cares? Why would anyone care?
At its core, a company blog should be about positioning the company as a thought leader in the space that they operate. It should be provocative, it should be challenging of convention. It should help the interested visitor, the already sold customer and the prospective client understand that the company understands the market in which they operate, that they understand the range of competing business challenges that they and their clients operate and that they are seeking out new ways of thinking and solving problems.
If all your blog does is spit out PR drivel who would sign up to visit and read it day after day, week after week? In fact, I would absolutely agree with those ad agencies and Fortune 500 companies that are ditching their blogs if that’s their approach to interacting with their clients and developing their dialogue.
Until you and your company have a crystal clear understanding of why you’re blogging, who you are blogging for and what you expect to result from your blogging, don’t start one.
Michael Glass’ column today commenting on Marshall’s article sums up well the right approach and outcomes of well-considered blog strategy (for both agencies and any business already blogging or considering starting one):
“Blogging the right way:
- Allows an agency to be more narrowly niched without the risk
- Provides a better focus for new business
- 24/7 top-of-mind awareness without interruption tactics, such as cold calling
- Pre-qualifies prospects
- Networking on steroids and increase in referrals
- Win business without having to pitch
- Eliminates the dating process
- Consistent new business pipeline that is sustainable when the agency is at its busiest
- A greater market area, with the potential for national and international new business opportunities
- A positioning of expertise that allows charging higher premiums and working with fewer clients that are a better match”