At the latest since “inbound marketing” has become a buzzword in the ear canals of the decision-makers of every company, no matter how small, corporate blogs have been sprouting unstoppably from the ground. hAs an agency, you want to set a good example – and not infrequently fail in yourself where you succeed with your customers. We also failed to meet our own goals for our blog last year. Why this is so and what lessons we have learned: Time for some contemplation.
It’s a thing with agency blogs. After all, it’s part of the bread-and-butter business for communications agencies like us to produce high-quality articles for our clients on an almost hourly basis and to align them along a stringent strategy. Accordingly, running your own blog that is just as focused is no big deal – or so you would think. But it is often not quite that simple. Beyond a lack of time and ideas, there are a number of other factors that keep agencies from marketing themselves. Let’s take a look.
Day-to-day business is going too well
Okay, zugegeben: das klingt nicht mal nach einem Luxusproblem, sondern nach überhaupt keinem. In fact, however, especially in smaller and medium-sized agencies, a well-filled project funnel often leads to a constant neglect of their own channels. On the one hand, there is little need for self-promotion once the pipeline is full. On the other hand, the available resources would naturally much rather flow into customer projects with a concrete return on investment than into a blog. In the weekly planning, the topic takes place far too little and constantly runs under the prioritization “Then, when there is nothing else to do”.
Once you’ve cut the first blog articles due to lack of time or resources, you start to question within the team: did anyone even notice the lack of new posts? Now was it actually bad that no article appeared? As a result, the blog has an even harder time finding an appropriate place in the resource planning, after all, it wasn’t so bad last time when there was no new post. A vicious circle.
When the blog degenerates into an end in itself
At some point, many companies have the problem that the vision for their own blog is lost and articles are only published so that something happens again. The fact that no one really knows any more exactly what goal is actually being pursued. But because the blog exists, you have to do something with it now. Agencies in the communications sector, however, are particularly at risk in this respect: If you tell your customers that they need their own blog, then you should also run one yourself.
Necessity, however, is a poor premise for PR & marketing ventures like a blog, which rarely have a clear return on investment and require long-term commitment. Ask your social media manager. He can tell you a thing or two about it. And a clear vision is important, we are convinced of that – because without it, at some point you no longer answer the big questions of your industry, but only those of the boss, why nothing has been published this month again.
On the crux of writing past the dialogue
Thematically, an agency blog often moves between half-hearted attempts at employer branding and the quest to lure potential customers to its own website with tips and tutorials. Out of the desire to present their own range of services and capabilities, the world of agencies is producing quasi hourly instructions on how to create social media strategies, tips for successful performance campaigns or the umpteenth rehash on the latest SEO ranking factors (nuestra culpa), all of which differ from each other only in nuances.
At this point, you finally have to ask yourself the question: Who reads this at all? Do you actually prove to your own customer base that you know your stuff with articles like this, or are you not ultimately participating in an ecosystem of agency blogs that more or less copy each other and deliver little added value – after all, no one wants to give too much away.
Agency blogs can also be fun
All these factors have become stumbling blocks for us as well. We also set our own goals too high and at the same time gave the blog too little space in our resource planning. But even more serious: perhaps some of the fun has been lost. The joy of commenting in an honest and personal way on topics that move us or that we encounter in our daily work at the agency. That’s why it’s time for us to make a change. From now on our articles will only be published quarterly. This gives us enough freedom to also give our own blog enough space in the planning. In addition, our tutorials, tips and guides are history from now on – these topics are already dealt with by umpteen other agencies, so our contribution to this discourse can no longer provide any great added value. Instead, we want to specifically address important topics from the world of agencies, communications and digitization – honestly and personally.
Whether this works? Of course, that remains to be seen. However, we are convinced that a more honest and open approach is the right way to go – for our readers, but also for us. Ultimately, a blog is often a playground for agencies to test different strategies and approaches. With our new orientation, we are much more interested in conducting a dialog, participating in it and, as authors, honestly elaborating our opinions on topics. And sometimes to talk about difficulties we face as a team – like in this article here.