A niche blog allows agencies to focus on a specific target audience, to create a stronger point of differentiation and a positioning of expertise.
According to a recent agency survey, 86.2% of the respondents believe that content marketing is now an important part of an agency’s new business efforts. The study also indicates that few have found the keys to success of blogging for new business.
Sam Weston, Director of Communications at the digital agency Huge, was recently quoted as saying,
“Nobody reads agency blogs, and there are so many out there it’s impossible for people to keep up anyway. We put ours on hiatus while we figure out what we want to do with it. We do use Facebook and Twitter. We’ve figured out what works for us there.”
I would agree with Sam that a lot of agency blogs aren’t being read. I also agree that his agency’s blog should be put on hiatus. There’s no use for them to expend their time and resources until they figure it out. But I would argue that they, along with a large number of agencies, probably didn’t get the blogging process right from the start.
The “typical” agency blog has:
- No integrated social media plan associated with it.
- No clear objective. You must know why your agency is blogging, other than just a weak form of participation in the social media space.
- No target audience. Who is the audience? That’s marketing 101. You must know to whom you are writing.
- No integration. A blog should be the centerpiece of a social media strategy for new business, but few agency blogs have fully integrated their social media outposts with what should be their primary social media platform.
- No consistency. The fuel for inbound marketing is content. But, if you don’t have a target audience and no clear objectives, creating content is going to be difficult. The more focused an agency blog is for new business, the easier it is to consistently create good content.
- No value. Many agencies are doing the same thing online as they did offline and that is to talk about themselves instead of creating value for their prospective client audience.
- No traffic. If agencies can’t create appeal that leads to traffic to their blogs they’ll not generate any leads.
I recently wrote an article that has created awareness and interest on, “How to Create a Niche Ad Agency Blog to Boost New Business.” I would encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. In the article I provided the following six steps to create a niche blog for new business:
- Create a content driven website specific for this new business initiative using the outline above.
- Develop a system for content creation.
- Drive initial traffic to the blog through an email newsletter and Twitter (I’ll share a bit more on how to do this in the 20 tips below).
- Implement best practices to build your prospective client community integrating your agency’s blog and your social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
- Measure, refine and improve your program.
- Manage the process through an online project management tool such as Basecamp.
I thought it would be helpful to expand upon the six steps. Here are 20 additional recommendations and tips to energize your agency’s blog:
- Every post should follow the overall theme for the blog. Remain true to its intent and purpose. This is not the place to promote your agency. Consistently provide helpful information for your audience just as I’m doing through this post.
- Set a challenge to create 30 post in 30 days. When you complete your 30th post you will have created a system for content creation that will allow you to easily maintain a more realistic schedule of one to two posts per week.
- One of your first tasks should be to set up a reading program through an RSS Reader such as Google Reader. Reading fuels your writing. Subscribe to online sources that will help to feed your writing using the theme of your blog: Industry sites, competitors, research sources and event sites. You’ll also want to include web sources that provide helps with social media, content marketing, inbound marketing, etc.
- I recommend using WordPress.com in the beginning so you can stay focused on just the writing and not be concerned with all of the “bells and whistles” of a hosted site. When you are ready to move to a hosted site and a customized blog template, it is an easy transfer so don’t be in a hurry. Create a system of writing first.
- Write posts that are no less than 350 words. There’s usually not enough valued content worthy of a click-through with less than 350 words.
- I would also recommend that, in the beginning, your posts not exceed 500 words. Learn to be concise. Provide your readers with an executive summary or the “Reader’s Digest” version of content. You’ll get more return on your time investment from two 500 word posts that one article of more than a thousand words. Shorter posts are more appealing. Note: As a guide, this post is going to far exceed 500 words, but, it is one of my special tutorial articles that will be used in a number of different ways and formats.
- Remember to add your key words to every post title. Beyond SEO, this practice helps to create targeted traffic through your social media outposts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The key words should link your content to your audience, such as “ad agency new business” does for mine.
- Lead with the conclusion. Attention spans are much shorter online than if you are writing for print. I encourage you to create a subtitle for each post that answers this question, “What is my benefit if I commit to read this post?” Answer that question in a single sentence. Tell your reader’s what their takeaway will be.
- For the same reason, write in an inverted pyramid style, such as a newspaper reporter has been trained to do. The most important information should be near to top of each post.
- Format your content for scanability. Use indention, bold and italics so a person can quickly scan through your posts and get the gist of what you are trying to say.
- Don’t include an Archive section in the beginning stages. Your blog should have an appearance of age. When you’ve created your initial 30 posts, no one will know if you have 30 posts or 300.
- The dating of a blog post. It is unfortunate, but a lot of relevant content is often discarded due to the date attached to a post. If you were to read through my blog chronologically, you will see a date underneath each post title. However, if you come to my blog through a URL to a specific post, the date doesn’t appear. A change in my blog’s CSS coding created this feature which gives my posts a long shelf-life and thus a greater return on my time investment.
- Write in an evergreen style. I don’t write many posts about the Super Bowl or New Year’s resolutions. I want a greater return on my time investment, so I’m careful to write in a way that allows my content to remain relevant for longer periods of time.
- 30 posts will allow you to start repurposing your content across your social media outposts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I highly recommend you include Google Plus in this mix. I’ve seen many of my posts receive higher rankings in search by posting them in my Google Plus account. I also recommend that you create a Pinterest Board for your blog and add an image and a synopsis for each new post. Here’s a link to my Pinterest board: Fueling Ad Agency New Business
- Fuel a newsletter through your blog post content. Don’t assume that just because you’ve written a post, everyone has read it. The opposite is more likely to be true. Build or even purchase a data base of email addresses of your blog’s target audience. Choose 3 to 4 of your newer posts to include in each newsletter. Just copy the title, a brief synopsis and a link to Read More. You can easily create each newsletter in less than a half hour and jump-start traffic to your blog.
- Your blog should have specific Calls-to Action such as a sign-up for the newsletter, a Speaker’s page that facilitates your speaking opportunities. Use a Consulting page to create an initial step with a prospective client or a Discovery Workshop. Just make sure what you’re offering is clear. Write copy from your prospects perspective. It should be about their benefits.
- Use analytics from WordPress and Google to create a one-page, monthly report to show the growth of your blog and help to identify and resolve areas where you are having problems.
- Grow your social media outposts. For example, use tools such as TweetAdder to help grow a targeted Twitter following. TweetAdder allows you to build a prospective client data base of people to follow. Twitter will drive significant targeted traffic to your blog.
- Repurpose your content through tools such as SocialOomph and HootSuite Pro.
- Remember to engage your audience. Automated tools to repurpose your blog’s content are helpful but can also be harmful if you aren’t personally engaging in dialogue with your prospective client community.
Consistently creating helpful content is the fuel for inbound marketing. It is also the most difficult part of a social media strategy for new business.
Here are some additional content marketing resources:
- Ten Toughest Content Marketing Challenges for Ad Agency New Business
- Content Marketing: The 40-25-35 Formula for Effective Writing
- 10 Idea Starters to Keep Fresh Content Churning
- 10 Ways to Create An Ad Agency Blog That is Reader-Centric
- 6 Writing Tips to Make Your Ad Agency’s Blog Effective for New Business
- 21 Blog Post Writing Tips for Ad Agency New Business
- 8 SEO Writing Tips to Help Prospects Find Your Ad Agency
- 50 Blog Post Ideas to Fuel Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- How to Write Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips For Writing Well
- Content Marketing: Hire a Journalist for Ad Agency New Business
- The Four Great Laws of Copywriting for Ad Agency New Business
- A Blog Post Template for Ad Agency New Business
- David Ogilvy: Writing Tips for Ad Agency New Business
- Reading Will Fuel Your Writing for Ad Agency New Business
- Fast Company: 20 Top Insights For Creating Appealing Content
- How to Consistently Create Great Content for Ad Agency New Business