The Art and Science of Agency Blogging

These days, the digital marketing space isn’t as populated with global rockstars of the blogosphere like it was in the early 2000s, before the days of Facebook and Twitter. Even so, the fact is that while many other content marketing/social media vehicles have either peaked out or vanished in the last few years, blogging – though it might look a little different than it did 10 years ago – continues to remain a viable weapon in a company’s marketing arsenal, and a “triple threat” tactic that can play simultaneous starring and support roles in a brand’s website, social media, and PR strategies.

In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, more than 30% of Fortune 500 brands are using blogs, many quite successfully.

Marketing and advertising agencies can enjoy the benefits of blogging, too – after all, we have just as much of a need to promote our messages as our clients do. But there are two obstacles that can easily get in the way of a marketing/ad shop’s good intentions to blog with bravado:

1.)Lack of bandwidth;

and

2.) Lack of compelling content.

Let’s take a look at some strategies that can help you overcome both:

If you want to find more bandwidth:

Treat yourself like one of your clients. Create an overall management plan and a content schedule, and then stick to them – just like you’d do if someone was paying your agency for blog services. Do it all – implement consequences for deliverables that don’t materialize, measure outcomes, and celebrate success.

Share the joy of post creation with the whole team. Your blog may have a better chance of taking flight if more than one person is responsible for creating content.

Work in advance. This ties back to the earlier point about taking your own marketing as seriously as you do the work you do for clients. Set aside time each month to plan and draft the next month’s articles, rather than attacking each the day or two before they are due to post. You can work in any late breaking brilliance – ideas for posts that come to you in the middle of the night and are particularly timely – as you go along.

Steal. Er, we meant to say “appropriate best practices from others”. In other words, don’t try to start from scratch with each and every post. Find some agencies who are burning it up when it comes to blogging, and study their content to gain ideas of your own. We’ve heard of a shop down in Austin that’s doing a pretty good job…

Hire it out. This can be a little tricky. Your blog is supposed to give voice to your agency’s personality – so if you hire a ghostwriter, you’ll want to bring on someone very experienced who has the ability to quickly absorb your agency culture. If that’s not possible, you may want to team with a provider who’s more of a project manager – someone who can draft and manage a content schedule, handle posting, and keep your arsenal of content ideas fresh while agency team members do the actual writing.

If you want to create killer content:

Show leadership. Speak up about the industry issues that are important to you, not just topics that are SEO keyword-friendly. Your more intellectual posts may not get as much traffic, but they will be very impressive to prospective clients who are looking at your website and sizing up your shop’s culture.

Don’t do stuff you’d yell at a client for. That means resisting the urge to post a ton of “sales-y” content or articles about the big award your agency just won.

Mix up your playbook. Even if your agency’s highly specialized in healthcare advertising, you’ll probably want to have some general interest posts that keep your followers from getting bored.

Don’t vent. It’s okay to use some bad client experiences as the background for an article topic. But you can easily come off as hostile or difficult to work with if you use your blog as a forum for thinly disguised rants about the client-related frustrations of the marketing and advertising business.

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