Before you turn your nose up and click away, hear me out. After all, you want clients lining up to do business with you, don’t you?
According to the 2014 RSW/US New Year Outlook Report, 76% of you have a blog. Only 42% of you, though, say your blog is effective. Let’s look at why.
Problem #1: Your Prospective Clients Aren’t Reading
The real reason that your blog doesn’t produce measurable results for your agency is that you’re not writing for the right people.
That’s right. The blog is all about you: news, awards, creative process stuff, new commercials, photos of silly hat day at your agency, introductions of your new interns, etc.
What’s not there is information your prospective clients can use.
We made this mistake when we started our blog. We talked about stuff we found interesting and developed quite a readership of peers. The result? Not much new business.
We shifted our focus to writing about what our clients cared about, which almost completely alienated the peer audience we’d developed. But now, we have a lot of conversations with prospective clients and win new business as a result.
You’ve got experiences that prospective clients need to know about. Agencies of the future don’t just need creative prowess. They need to be able to solve tough business challenges. Show clients you can.
Problem #2: There’s No Focus
This problem is more of a business model problem in most cases. Agencies lack focus in their business, so naturally the blog lacks focus.
Many agencies are willing to take on any work they can get. Agencies that focus in niche industries or work solely with certain types of companies can bring clarity to their content because they know their audience.
One of the reasons I like Franklin Street’s blog is because it clearly spells out the reason the blog exists.
“This blog is our big tent to meet and share forward-thinking health care strategies. Our experts share best practices and resources to convert prospects to patients.”
If I’m in marketing at a consumer products company, I know this blog isn’t for me. But if I’m working for a medical practice, I can probably learn something from this agency.
Agencies need to focus their blogs on a purpose statement, even if it’s not shown on the blog. What’s yours?
Just remember: By trying to please everyone, you help no one.
Problem #3: There’s No Plan
You might develop content strategies for your clients, but do you have the same plan in place for your own marketing? Do you have a content roadmap that lists topics and target keywords?
While many of your clients don’t admit to searching the web to find an ad agency, they do search the web for industry information and to find information to help them in their jobs. They use social media, too.
Planning out your content — both on your blog and promotion through social media — will help you write consistently and with purpose. Don’t wait for company news. Have a plan.
Developing a plan means writing out your blog topics well in advance of writing and publishing them.
Need topic ideas? Consult your account management, business development, and client services folks. They manage daily communication with clients and field many questions from clients on a regular basis.
What better material for your blog than to talk about things that your clients or prospective clients want to know about?
Problem #3: You’re Using Too Many Buzzwords
Every industry has them, and we’re no different. Our liberal use of buzzwords impresses no one, though.
At a recent networking event, we did a roundtable-style speed networking event that paired four agencies with four companies that needed our services. I listened as each agency threw out “SEO this” and “content marketing” that, “branding” this and “social media strategy” that.
Then it was my turn.
I told the group that I could give them a rundown of buzzwords, but I knew that most are mystified by what we do. I told them that rather than trying to tell us that they needed a blog or a demand generation strategy, they should try telling us the business problem they were trying to solve.
I left that table with four business cards and four “I’ll call you” statements from business leaders.
Tell the stories behind your creative, and help people understand how you can solve problems in their business. Don’t assume that people know what you do, and don’t assume that they are familiar with the words you use.
Problem #4: There’s No Next Step
If you want to get business from your ad agency blog, you need to give readers a next step.
Make sure your blog has a compelling call to action in each blog post. Make sure the call to action is relevant to what the topic of the article is about, too.
This means more than having a “contact us” link at the top of the page. It means understanding what information your potential clients are seeking and knowing what they want after they read your blog post.
Consider each blog post as an appetizer. What are they going to get for the main course? Is your main course appealing enough to get your prospective client to give you some contact information?
Think of your blog as a sales and attraction tool, and take it seriously. Know what your clients want to know about, and give it to them regularly in language they can understand. Your business development folks will thank you.