When Everyone’s An Expert, There Are No Experts

Marcus Sheridan, a.k.a. The Sales Lion, suggests that blogs are not working to create leads for marketing agencies, or for the clients of marketing agencies. He provides seven solid reasons why, and if your company has a blog or you produce one for a client it’s worth reading the article in its entirety. For me, this piece of advice stands out:

Consumers and businesses are not terribly interested in theory these days. They want to know the victories and success stories your agency has had. They want to know why you’re good at what you do. And they want to know if your help will make them more money than you’ll cost.

If you can’t show this in your content, then there is a good chance you’re phone isn’t going to ring.

No doubt. In the sea of sameness, you stand out by being a great educator and demonstrator. It’s the whole “show, don’t tell” thing again. Blog-top pontificators tell us how to do it. Practitioners, on the other hand, take us inside the action and show us how, when, what, where and why.

I think there are several reasons why agency staff do not reveal their shop’s secret sauce on the blog. The main reason is there is no secret sauce, rather the agency is merely a group of people who show up everyday to make ads. Which leads me to another key point — people who make ads for a living make ads, and blogging is something else, something foreign. The other big reason is paranoia. Agency staff do not want to stick their necks out by testing possibly stupid ideas out on the company blog, and they certainly do not want to offend anyone, at least not in type (where their wayward words can be frozen in time). At the same time, there is an ever-pressing need to stand out, to sparkle.

The Sale Lion also points out that there are simply too many blogs about marketing and social media. “The number is in the thousands, which means in order for someone to rise above the noise, they have to do some pretty amazing things.” I agree, but I also have to ask, what might these “amazing things” look like on a blog? I do not think “amazing,” when I hear the word “blog.” Nature, awesome feats of engineering and spectacular performances are amazing. Blogs, especially ones meant to impress, are mostly self-promotional drivel.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.