Blogging’s Preseason Is Almost Over

Robert Scoble, a.k.a. The Scoblezier, a.k.a. Microsoft’s Geek Blogger, asks in a post on The Red Couch, “Why let your ad agency write your blog?” He ponders the situation thusly:

A good blog is written by an authority who is passionate about his/her topic.
How many ad agencies are passionate about your business? Not to mention an authority on it? (After all, if your ad agency were an authority on your business we’d just deal with your ad agency, not you). I’m an optimist, though, so I hold out hope that there might be a few, but they are few and far in between.

Here’s the answer. An agency worth their salt knows how to connect with the consumer. Granted, many agencies know nothing of the kind, but I’m not talking about them (every industry has losers, ours is no different). But back to the argument…X Company knows how to make widgets, or computers, or rum. They know how to work their product through the distribution channel. They may even spend tons on product innovation. But rarely do they know how to effectively communicate their product’s benefits, for they are too close to it to bring any perspective to the communications problems at hand. Clients live and breathe their product and they assume that everyone else gives a shit. Everyone else does not give a shit. Getting them to give a shit is the agency’s job.
At this point in time, I am unaware of a good blog being generated for a client by an ad agency. But I believe this will soon change. Agencies didn’t get the web at first, and many do not get the web today. The same holds for blogs. Yet, I have every reason to believe some smart agency people will find a way to build a legitimate blogging practice. There are too many upsides in blogs to dance around them for much longer.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://ripples.typepad.com David St Lawrence

    David,
    I think you are right about some agency finding a way to build a legitimate blogging practice. You guys are too smart to let this phenomenal publishing opportunity escape you.
    I suggest, however, that you may not be effective as the mouthpiece for organizational blogging. The very fact that you are a hired voice cuts into your credibility and transparency.
    I think your starring roles will be as advisors to corporate bloggers. If a Snr VP blogs with agency backup, we could see the best of both worlds: An executive speaking in his own words, assisted by Ad agency/PR specialists to keep from pontificating about speeds and feeds.
    The message has to come from someone who has credibility. The biggest problem will be to get this person to a point where they can communicate believably about interesting things.
    You have to teach them how to communicate about business issues so they will be interesting to the target public. If every post is about new product releases, the blog will be boring and useless.
    You face an interesting challenge!

  • http://www.adpulp.com Shawn Hartley

    I just want to set the record straight on one of your comments.

    I suggest, however, that you may not be effective as the mouthpiece for organizational blogging. The very fact that you are a hired voice cuts into your credibility and transparency.

    David is not a hired voice on AdPulp.com. In fact, he is the co-founder.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Shawn,
    I believe the esteemed Mr. St. Lawrence is referring to my being a hired voice in the agency/client universe, not here on AdPulp. But thanks for the props!
    I have left several comments over on Scoble’s “The Red Couch” blog. To bring the conversation home, here’s some of what I’ve been saying over there (minus the comments on my comments):
    “The fact is, ad agencies hate blogs. They utterly despise them, even if they tell you otherwise. They hate them because if done well, they’re cheap and they’re easy. Frankly, they’re in the business of selling you stuff that is neither.” -Hugh MacLeod
    Agencies mostly bill by the hour now. Take the number of hours a person like Hugh or The Scobelizer spend blogging and mulitply said figure by $150/hour. Then factor in the potential need for multiple voices on a corporate blog. I believe an agency could bill $1000 a day, give or take, for a truly effective, totally authentic blog that serves the client’s needs. That’s neither cheap, nor is it easy.

    Vaspers the Grate,
    Hello. Let’s say the client in question is a golf equipment manufacturer. For sake of convenience, let’s call them Ping. Ping’s agency would write the blog entries, since writing is one of the things they do best. Yes, better than the client, who in this case is best at making golf clubs. The agency writers could explore all topics related to golf and particularly golf equipment. The agency might also recruit brand evangelists to contribute to the blog. These evangelists would be unpaid customers in my view,
    although I suppose they might someday be paid. I also can see where the agency would recruit bloggers from within the client organization, and then manage the entire thing. Does that work for you?

    I’m not interested in, nor advocating “Ghost Blogs.”
    I envision a cast of characters/contributors who are real people–some from the agency, some from the client and some from the customer base–using real names and writing real content about real stuff that matters.