A Massive Ad Agency Blog Fail

images failThere is no question that advertising, digital and PR agencies that have sound blog strategies attract (attract!) the type of clients that they want to their websites. Obviously, starting with clear blog objectives and an understanding of viewer personas is key. However, even with the right intentions, agencies can still fail big time.

A Massive ‘Content’ Agency Blog Fail

I was doing a bit of self-education today about advertising agencies that specialize in and position themselves as experts in telling brand stories. I’ve always thought that this has been a underserved positioning (or sub-positiong) for agencies. In my search, I came across one of the segment’s leaders…. Story Worldwide. Here is what I found.

First, Congratulations

Story Worldwide was just purchased by Republic Publishing for 6 million bucks (tweet this.). This is a brilliant result of the art of agency specialization. Yes, this is an understatement as most agencies do not plan to act or look look like valuable acquisitions. From the PR Week  announcement article:

Having agreed a deal in January worth up to £5m over time for UK and US-based Republic Publishing, Next Fifteen is spending another $6.6m (£4.1m) in cash on US-based Story Worldwide.

Seven-year-old Story Worldwide employs 100 staff in offices in Seattle and New York, serves clients including Unilever and Lexus, and is on course for revenues of $15m (£9.3m) this year.

Back To The Massive Blog Fail. And, What To Do.

Post Advertising  Chronicles of Brand StorytellingBefore I found the news that Story Worldwide was purchased (more on ‘news’ in a bit) I visited their website and found a blog that was 17 months old. The last post on Story’s “Post Advertising” blog is from August 14, 2013. 2013!

Allow me to state the obvious… your agency cannot have a blog that is dramatically outdated. Outdated bogs look like you don’t have anything to say, don’t care and are not very good at managing projects. If I was a prospective client checking out your agency and you hadn’t posted in months, I’d figure that you weren’t up to speed to  manage my advertising program. Clearly, an outdated blog could be a new business killer.

What to do?

Decide if your blog needs dates. Some people like dates because that is the way we were originally trained. I think that dates work best when your blog posts are time sensitive.

Determine if you will be consistent. As you can see from Story Worldwide’s outdated post, looking stale does not work. If you can’t be sure that you will post often, then get rid of the dates.

I have some very evergreen blog posts. My “How to name your advertising agency” post has received over 8,000 views. There is no reason that this evergreen post needs to be dated.

If you use WordPress, just go to Settings, then General and clear any content in the little box that sits next to Date Format and Date Custom. Bam… no more outdated posts.

Now, What About News?

I initially went to the Story Worldwide website just to see what’s up in the world of ‘story’ agencies. I found the outdated blog and wondered if these guys were even in business. I then went to their News and found a May 7, 2014 story on their winning some BeechNut business. Ah, the agency is still alive. By the way, this a great new client win for all of the right reasons and it supports the agency’s focussed positioning.

Beech-Nut®, one of the world’s most successful producers of food for babies, has awarded Story Worldwide with the job of providing fully integrated advertising content promoting the launch of its revolutionary new line of whole fruits and vegetables.

“We want to change the rules of the game in baby food,” said Beech-Nut® Nutrition president Jeff Boutelle. “What people are eating is getting further and further away from what nature intended. But Millennial moms really care. They’re looking at labels. They want to know where their food came from. They want to know how it’s made.”

But, because of the outdated blog, I continued to wonder if the agency was still cruising at full speed. I then went to Google News and searched on Story Worldwide.

story worldwide   Google SearchSure enough, it looked like the agency was still in business. I then wondered why this  good news was not on the agency’s news page. But, in this case, I decided to give them the benefit of doubt due to the December 12th news and holiday distractions.

I then dug deeper to see what other news the agency wasn’t posting and found out that the agency had been bought.

News is News!

If your agency has good news, get it on your website immediatly. This should be obvious. One of the key reasons is that your news could quickly show up on Google and I don’t think that you should be on Google and not on your own website. You really should look as interested in your agency as Google’s algorithms are.

The Blog  and News Solution: Have A Plan

The only way to keep your blog fresh and your news timely is to have an active agency website and social media plan.

Have a calendar to keep up to date.

Have clear staff responsibilities.

Treat your website and blog with the same care and attention as you do your client’s programs.

Last point, if you want to get bought one day. Have a distinctive agency position like Story Worldwise. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.





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