Agency Websites Suck, Launch A Weblog
By now, everyone has heard of weblogs. If you haven't, welcome, you are reading one right now. If you think you've read this before, you have. In the interest of espousing the value of weblogs to our industry, we're republishing this little piece of opinionated advice. For various reasons, many people and companies can benefit from blogging. So can ad agencies. Ad agencies are hired for two main reasons. First, and not always most important, is creative. Second is thought leadership - does the agency in question have the smarts to create successful advertising for client companies. Both of these areas of expertise can be shared with the world of potential clients through a weblog.
Right now, agencies might be saying, "What do we need a weblog for? We already have a web site." Great. Take an honest look at it. Is it much more than a creative showcases (if that) and management bios? Aside from a few short paragraphs on your so-called "proprietary process" is there any value there for the reader? Are you offering anything that gives insight into the way your agency thinks and what your opinion is on the current state of advertising? If so, great. Most likely. though it is not.
One of the primary benefits of a weblog to an ad agency is its ability to simply publish current agency thought. What is your agency's take on TiVo's creep into the living room? How do you plan to react to that for your clients? What is your perspective on broadband online video advertising? Viral advertising? Media costs? Will satellite radio kill broadcast radio? What are your thoughts on Subservient Chicken type advertising efforts? Is outdoor a viable medium? What is your agency doing to plan for the shift in media control from media companies to the consumer? Insight on all of these issues and more can demonstrate to clients and prospects how your agency brain ticks. And it can do it without giving up that "proprietary process."
A secondary benefit of publishing a weblog is its proliferation into the databases of Google. Every weblog headline you write is an entry to be searched and found by a potential client. Google and other search engines like continually changing content and that is a primary element of a weblog. Apart from Google, weblog entries permeate themselves into a vast collection of weblog-specific databases and that, along with frequent linking to and from other advertising related weblogs, can propel your agency presence to the forefront of many a search engine inquiry.
Most agencies would like to be able to make a presentation to every single company on its radar. While agencies will continue to go about getting in front of prospects to deliver the all important capabilities presentation, a weblog can do that for literally no money and reach more people. What agency wouldn't love to save overhead and proliferate their brand to as many as possible?
If you do choose to start a weblog, keep in mind the tone needs to be vastly different than your corporate site. The corporate site is your glossy brochure. The weblog is the demonstration of the smarts that walk the hallways of your agency - spoken in a conversational, human tone. Unlike press release quotes that are clearly not spoken by an actual human, a weblog must carry the human aspect of the agency. It's akin to an insider�s wink that says, "We know you know we have to say those corporate things on our corporate website but we also know you know we are regular people who enjoy tearing down corporate blather as much as you do."
You can also set your weblog up for newsletter delivery thereby building a database of potential business. There are so many ways a weblog can benefit an ad agency. So many that it is near difficult to explain in words. It's an endeavor that requires heavy sipping of the blogosphere Kool-Aid. If you're thirsty and want to drink in more about weblogs and how they can benefit your agency, contact me. I'd love to discuss it with you. Hmm� Did I just create a consulting business there?