This article in digiday last week has really gotten me thinking about the subject of agency blogs — so much so that I covered it on both The BeanCast for this week (5/14) and on The 2 Minute Rundown for today (5/15).
The basic premise of the article is that agencies are ditching their blogs in favor of other forms of social media presence, like Facebook and Twitter. And as usual with such an inflammatory subject, it ignited the usual round of blogging-purist commentary about the wonders, joys and business advantages of blogging.
Here's my problem: While I agree with all the specific points made about how blogging is good for business and how any company that disagrees has their head up their ass, why are we all shocked that most agencies are living, breathing examples of head-up-assery? I mean seriously, why are we even fighting this battle?
Agencies abandoning blogging is just a practical admission that the entire culture of advertising is working against everything that blogging represents. They absolutely should be killing their blogs, because they aren't willing to do the things necessary to fix them.
First of all, blogs are written by people, not agencies. This scares the death out of most big agencies and the people who work at them. Letting a person from within the ranks build up their own reputation and express their invidiual opinions on a subject is just crazy talk! My god! Someone might see this crap and hire the person away. Or worse yet, the person may say something that, god forbid, we oppose! We already have enough trouble with creative egos after Cannes. The last thing we need are strategists talking about the hit counts on their blog post!
And as an individual blogger, the last thing I want to do is put my name on something that could get me fired. The first thing you get when you walk into an agency these days is a list of all the stuff you can't say in social media. So there's no way I'm sticking my neck out in any way, shape or form. Instead I'm going to write generic posts like, "I really like this commercial," or "Look what our agency did." And when we do go deep on the blog, it's going to be a heavily vetted thought-leadership article — and even then we're going to try to submit it to Ad Age first, with the blog being the consolation prize when the piece gets rejected.
But all this aside, anonymously written "Facebooking" is simply a more natural fit for big-agency culture. Blogging is about being personally compelling on a deep level with a small audience and most ad agencies don't have patience for that kind of stuff. Next you'll be asking them not to bill client dinners back to the client! My god! What is wrong with you people?!?
Agencies trade in mass awareness, and blogs are like the bland, healthy salad your doctor says you should eat, contrasted with the deliciously juicy, calorie and cholesterol rich burgery goodness of Facebook Likes. Mmmmm! You're salivating already. I can tell.
The last thing we need are more half-hearted blogs from agencies. So let them eat Facebook already. Sheesh!