As with anything, you expect the professionals you hire to know what theyâ€™re doing. So how do you know that they know? Well they normally show you, with examples of their work or recommendations from clients.
In the past, websites and brochures were littered with client testimonials and quotes, links to previous examples of work and online portfolios. Nowadays, itâ€™s all about Facebook Likes, LinkedIn endorsements, check-ins and all that jazz.
What I notice to be severely lacking is the number of local agencies who blog, or create their own opinion pieces, outside their news feeds (press release re-hash… snore) which in my opinion is too low. Coupled with that is the number of local agencies who “syndicate” the content of others in their social media feeds (without even mentioning the original source, how rude!) which in my opinion, is too high.
The first issue, I understand. Blogging isnâ€™t easy. Itâ€™s time-consuming and difficult to measure in terms of effectiveness. And of course, if an agency isnâ€™t being asked to provide digital work then they may not need to show they are skilled in this arena. But I see plenty tweeting about how knowledgable they are in SEO and how skilled they are in content creation, yet they donâ€™t even create their own online marketing content?
The second issue really grates on me. I, too, post plenty of links to interesting articles and images on my social media feeds. What I donâ€™t do is pass these off as links to my own content which is what happens when you donâ€™t “via @” the original source, because you fool me into clicking your link expecting some interesting, fresh, LOCAL content. And instead I get directed to a 2-day-old syndication article from an English, nay - worse, an AMERICAN PR website.
Thatâ€™s helpful. I have my own news feeds thanks.
What it doesnâ€™t do is make me think any more of your company, it doesnâ€™t instil in me any faith that you can practice what you preach. That if I were a client parting with my hard-earned cash, that I would trust you to deliver in this rapidly-growing online world. Or indeed, if I were a prospective job-seeker trying to choose between the plethora of agencies this tiny land has spawned.
UK agencies are great at blogging (Firefly Comms being one of my favourites). And I mean blogging in the widest sense of the word. Itâ€™s not always an informative discussion piece, sometimes itâ€™s merely a photo and caption of their charity bun sale in the office, an interview with staff, or a funny meme, but more often itâ€™s an in-depth look at current digital trends, how this impacts how they do business, followed up with case studies of clients they have worked with and the actual results they achieved for them.
A few agencies here are good at it, like Dokoo Digital. I also liked the latest piece Lighthouse Communications tweeted about the Twitter campaign to #SaveExploris (NIâ€™s Aquarium) that I talked about earlier in the week. Even small agencies, with tight resources, can prove their worth by really engaging on social media and sharing links to unusual articles and actively getting involved in discussions and debates, like PRs-ME do via @Promote_NI_SMEs. After all, who needs duplicate tweets in their timeline when we already read PR Daily?
Itâ€™s interesting to note, however, that the best examples of practicing-what-you-preach emerge from digital agencies or PR/Comms agencies who have the digital skill set in-house - such as Lighthouse Communicationsâ€™ Digital Communications Executive, Lana Cairns. I predict the traditional PR Agency set would need to up their game, if they want to remain key players or become local industry leaders.
Content creation (such as blogging) is an obvious service offering for PR practitioners who typically understand how to create informative content. We are also well versed in building relationships with communities.
So why arenâ€™t more PR firms blogging?
You tell me!