You need to think like a journalist but execute like a marketer if you want to create better content for your agency blog.
Too many agency marketing managers fall into the trap of talking too much about their agency in their marketing and particularly on their blog.
On the one hand, your blog serves to paint a picture of who your agency is. On the other, it should support the sales funnel for your new business team. It does that by answering customer problems or questions. It helps to warm your customers up and inform them about your business before they contact you.
So, when planning and producing content for your blog you need to put on the hat of a journalist. Why? Because a journalist is only ever thinking about the reader. They are experts at finding and producing stories, at creating an angle and delivering it in an informative or compelling way.
In addition, journalists are producing content for publishers and that means adhering to deadlines, editorial style guides and working to a repeatable editorial process.
A journalist is tuned in to what makes a great story.
Your story should hit a nerve with your target audience. For example, it should answer a question, provide a solution to a problem or show them a new or different way of doing something.
A journalist has a nose for attention-grabbing stories; you need to develop this too. Look closely at the authoritative people in your industry, what are they writing about, which stories are resonating with their audiences? What are the current and future trends in your industry and how does this relate to the services you offer?
Whilst a certain amount of copying what others do is useful, you should aim to come up with your own, original content and point of view.
A journalist will poke their nose into all corners of your business looking for newsworthy content.
You need to be everywhere. At the water cooler, in the kitchen, at the bar in the evening, drinking coffee with your co-workers. Be nosy, be curious and be open to potential stories. Don’t ask your colleagues what you should write about but employ interviewing techniques that will extract the right information.
Journalists are expert interviewers.
When it comes to maintaining a company blog there are two approaches. Outsource the lot and save yourself the headache, but potentially sacrifice authenticity and depth of expertise. Keep it in-house and engage the whole business in content creation.
If you are keeping the lot in-house you need to get good at interviewing.
Simply asking someone to come up with content for your marketing is unlikely to result in anything particularly ground-breaking or useful. Most agency people don’t think what they do is that interesting to anyone else. It’s obvious to them, they do it every day so why should they tell you about it.
Your job is to extract the interesting bits and guide them towards the type of content you need and then help them to produce it in the easiest and quickest way. Your colleagues are busy people, respect that.
This means spending time with them and finding out what they are working on. Ask them questions such as: ‘Tell me about the project you are currently working on’, ‘Talk to me about your clients, what are the common questions they ask you?’, ‘What’s most interesting to you at the moment about your work?’, ‘What are the latest announcements in your field?’…
A journalist writes to inform and engage.
When thinking of new content ideas don’t go into the process with a sales mindset. Set out to provide your target customer with value through information, insight and actionable takeaways. Demonstrate your expertise and point of view through your content. If what you give them is interesting and relevant they will check out your services.
A journalist is an expert in telling and selling a story; a marketer is an expert in selling the next step and great content can help facilitate that.