This morning, I was reading a fantastic piece by Phil Johnson, the CEO of PJA Advertising & Marketing, on Advertising Age. Phil was discussing how he grew his agency's blog by finding contributors from his staff to submit posts on … basically whatever they wanted. The result was a lively and engaging blog with a huge social presence online.
Phil's unique approach to his agency's blog made me think about what makes a good agency blog stand out from the rest. After all, we're always told a successful agency must have a blog (usually by people who make their living helping people run blogs). But what is the purpose of a blog? Is it a lead-generation exercise, or is it more about community engagement or networking with other industry people?
The Purpose of Your Agency Blog
Image via GapingVoid.
Of course, your agency blog could be all of those things, or none of them. Your blog's focus, and the type of content you produce, will depend on the result you want. But never forget that the overarching purpose of your blog – no matter its audience – is to increase business to your agency. Whether that's through appealing to clients directly or by raising your profile in the industry, your agency blog has the purpose of bringing in new business.
If you want your blog to be a lead generation machine for your agency, then you need to think about what your potential clients will want to see. This could be a mix of the following:
a) Helpful service articles (tips for working with an advertising agency, etc),
b) Profiles of current clients (and the results your work is gaining for them),
c) Humour and opinion pieces that demonstrate the personality of your agency brand.
If you want your blog to be a place for industry types of gather, then replace a) above with news, commentary and service pieces about your industry.
Bring in Multiple Voices
This cartoon is by Dave Walker.
I think the PJA team was onto something with their blog of diverse voices and experiences. An agency blog should feel like a vibrant, creative online community – as if you've stepped into the doors of a thriving creative studio. Bringing in multiple voices will also ensure you have a steady stream of new content, keeping your blog up-to-date and therefore highly visible in the search engines.
And, as Phil said, don't limit yourself to using only the "writers" on staff. Everyone has a good story to tell, and the rest of your team will be able to come up with unique ideas and different perspectives.
Pay Attention To SEO
You can't win new business if prospective clients – clients who meet your agency's ideal target – can't find you. And how do people find an agency? Well, they might get a referral from one of your current clients. They might talk to you at a networking event. They might have seen a campaign you ran for someone else and thought, "Yes, I'd like a piece of that!"
But it's also very likely that they've run a search for what they need on Google, and your name has come up. And if they think you might be able to solve their problem, they'll click through to your blog or website and maybe even call you up for a chat.
Every blog post you write is a little landing page that directs potential clients to your website, so you should be focusing your attention on making sure that landing page is coming up when the people YOU want as clients are searching. This is the basis of SEO.
How do you do this?
- Answer questions your clients are asking. Clients want to know how to work with an agency, how to understand branding and how they can get the best results from their campaigns.
- Figure out the keywords your clients are searching. Develop content based around these keywords.
- Get lots of localised keywords into your blog content. Clients are usually looking for an agency they can sit down with.
- Look on LinkedIn groups and discussion forums for the questions your clients commonly ask. Answering these questions on your blog is a great way to increase your search engine traffic.
Add a Call-to-Action
Image via How to be a Salesman.
The Call-to-Action comes at the end of a post, and it asks the reader to do something. The Call-to-Action offers the reader their 'next step' and is an exceptionally powerful marketing tool.
Every post on your agency blog needs a Call-to-Action – although it can differ for each post. A Call-to-Action might ask the reader to:
- Contact your agency for more info.
- Download a free white paper.
- Share a post on social media.
- Leave a comment.
- Sign up to an email list.
- Answer a question or participate in a survey.
At the end of each post, think of a suitable call-to-action for your agency. Remember, if you want your readers to do something, you have to tell them how to do it!
So how is your agency using your blog? Are you getting a good ROI for your efforts? A blog can be an excellent tool for generating leads online for your agency, especially if you harness the immense power of SEO, but you have to approach the blog as an exercise in lead generation, and close of each post with a "next step" call-to-action that encourages potential clients to contact you. With a blog acting as an online lead generation tool for your agency, you can focus your attention on other methods for gaining new clients.