WHO ARE the Best Agency Bloggers in Bristol – 2010?
05/01/2011 § 33 Comments
Blogging isn’t dead… Just take a look at Bristol agency TEAM RUBBER’s website. They blogged 109 times in 2010, which is 46 more posts than their next nearest contender BUZZED UP. But Team Rubber are the exception that prove the rule. Take them out of the equation and our sample of Bristol and Bath’s Finest managed less than 22 blog posts each over the whole year.
Technorati’s 2008 survey of the state of the blogosphere, found that only 7.4m out of the 133m blogs it tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. As the New York Times put it, “that translates to 95% of blogs being essentially abandoned”
Why? Because the audience has an increasingly short attention span – most articles aren’t fully read and people just click the links. Without doubt, much of this is down to the growth of new media such as Facebook and Twitter.
So is there still a role for a blog on your company website? What’s it bringing to the party and is it worth the hassle? To find out, I took a stroll around the blogger’s A&E to check the vital signs of Bristol and Bath’s agency blogs. What I found was a handful of agency blogs in fine fettle, a larger number looking a little peaky and still more on life support. And sadly I had to send a few down to the morgue: Dead as parrots. (Download the survey by clicking here: The Bristol Blogosphere Survey 2010)
How did your agency do? From the snapshot of websites the Ministry of Insights took a look at it seems a small number of Bristol Media members publish blogs that add real value to their brand experience. A larger number offer a blog that says ‘we’ve got one because everyone else has’ but do little to inspire a positive feel. Sad to say that more than half the websites I visited included a Blog or News section that, in my view, possibly undermine the brand. The individuals or companies that manage these sites should think hard about removing these blogs from their site.
A complete list of the company and individuals’ websites sampled are included at the end of this report. (See where you come in the league below)
In my next post I’ll be reviewing the five best blogs and awarding my ‘Bristol & Bath Agency Blog of the Year’.
First an explanation.
For convenience I drew the sample from the Directory of the Bristol Media website. There are currently 617 profiles registered on this network and of these, I looked at the websites of individuals and companies in the ‘Advertising & Marketing’ ‘Design’ and ‘Digital and Interactive’ sectors.
For each site I noted whether there was a blog, Twitter feed or ‘news’ section – which sometimes served the same purpose as a blog. If the website had a blog, I counted the number of posts published during 2010. I also noted the date of the blog’s final post, up to and including the date of my survey which was 29th December 2010. For ‘News’ I noted the number of posts over the previous year and, where necessary, made a subjective call on whether these were really blog posts dressed up as ‘news’.
The 82 sites that offered a ‘Blog’ (or ‘News’ acting as a blog), posted around 23 times over the course of 2010, or almost once every 16 days. However, the frequency with which bloggers posted was far from evenly distributed.
I also looked at the date of each blog’s last post – to get a sense of how up-to-date and regular these blogs were. Many blogs had been updated recently, prompted, no doubt, by the time of year. However, for many this was clearly a sticking plaster job designed to cover a year of less frequent postings. A blog’s not just for Christmas!
37% of the blogs I looked at had not posted during December. In fact, almost a fifth hadn’t posted since September or even earlier.
Finally. by looking at the frequency of posts together with the last time a post was published I got a sense of the true character of a blog.
Four common blogging scenarios were revealed through this exercise:
- A small number of bloggers post frequently and regularly. Their blog is a central feature of their site and demonstrates energy and a commitment to communication and dialogue. It also strongly reflects the positive personality of the company or individual publishing the blog.
- A larger number of sites post reasonably frequently (more than once a fortnight) but tend to be less regular. In some months there are lots of posts, but then enthusiasm seems to wain and months go by without any posts. As such they fulfill the goal of a blog (i.e. generating a dialogue with the audience) but the irregularity of the site lacks the energy that a dynamic blog should generate. It’s therefore less effective than it should be, but relatively easy to recover from.
- An even greater number post infrequently (less than fortnightly) but seem to have posted recently. This smacks of tokenism and should cause the blogger to ask themselves whether they are committed to increasing the frequency of posts. If not, it might be better to drop the blog altogether.
- The remaining group are posting less frequently and less regularly and this, frankly, looks bad. It suggests a lack of commitment and no sense of follow-through. Prospective clients looking at these blogs might conclude that the service they’d receive from these agencies would be equally halfhearted. These bloggers should either start their blog afresh, or remove it altogether. And quick.
What’s it All Mean?
Blogging is a twin edged sword. Do it right and it adds energy and engagement to your brand and gives it a sense of authority and leadership. It can also positively project your brand personality, however you wish that defined and clients can see your energy, enthusiasm and even intelligence through your posts. So, in the right hands it’s a great asset to the marketing toolbox. Some heroic bloggers seem to genuinely enjoy the process and offer a constant stream of interesting ideas through their posts. Some even go as far as to have regular blog AND news updates. Where do they get the energy?
Equally, if you publish a slap-dash blog you’ll be showcasing your tardiness. It’ll say ‘We get on bandwagons but then fall off’ like nothing else. It also says we don’t much care about what prospective clients think about us. Boring posts add to this uninspiring lack of enthusiasm. Frankly I can’t think of a better way of kicking your brand in the nuts…
To get around these potential negatives, some sites seem to have moved away from the blog and instead bring fresh content through something called ‘News’. My guess is that by doing this they hope to avoid the incessant need for new posts. But let’s be clear, news is just that, and is a legitimate part of a website if it’s actually delivering news. A blog provides a much greater sense of personality and insight into how a business operates. Wrap that up in a section called ‘news’ and it loses this immediacy. Conversely, put non-news in the ‘News’ section and you can look frivolous.
Finally there are a handful of sites that have converted their blogs into Twitter feeds. The aim, I guess is to retain a dynamic and topical feel to the site without doing quite so much work. For myself I question whether this a true substitute. A Twitter feed makes you look active and engaged but does a Twitter link have the weight and depth of a thought-through blog? Sure, fewer people read blogs and its worth asking if keeping a blog is a good use of your time, but does a Twitter post fill that gap?
Blogs are not a necessity. Plenty of the sites I looked at didn’t have a blog, quite possible because someone decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Others take the sneaky route and get around the problem of the need for constant updates by omitting to put dates on their posts. I’m not convinced this is a solution either. You can tell when you look at those dateless blogs that they’re somehow lifeless and dead and I fail to see how this helps the cause.
So, in conclusion remember, blogging is not just for Christmas. It’s a year-long commitment that demands your time, consideration and effort. When a blog becomes a chore it shows and becomes less about blogging and more about flogging. And that’s not a good look…
For more information take a look below at the full list of websites I visited to compile this report.
Ambitious Brands / The Ministry of Insights
Tel: 0759 0579031
© Copyright Jan 2011
|Rank||Website||Blog||Posts in 2010||Date of last blog post||News||News Items in 2010|
|1||Team Rubber||y||y||109||21 Dec||x||x|
|4||Stratton Craig||y||y||59||21 Dec||x||x|
|6||Matthew Fairweather Design||y||y||56||17 Dec||See Blog|
|7||Clear Thought||y||y||53||22 Dec||See Blog|
|8||McFaul Studio||y||y||53||15 Dec||x||x|
|13||The Agency||y||y||40||3 Dec||x||x|
|14||The House||y||y||39||8 Jul||y||8|
|15||Blue Marlin||y||y||39||6 Dec||y|
|16||Dirty Design||y||y||38||24 Dec||See Blog|
|17||Synergy Creative||y||y||37||22 Dec||y||19|
|18||Pervasive Media||y||y||37||17 Dec||See Blog|
|21||Mason Zimbler||y||y||33||14 Dec||x||x|
|22||Piers Alder||y||y||31||10 Dec||x||x|
|24||The House of Omni||y||y||31||20 Dec||x||x|
|25||Gibe Digital||y||y||30||17 Dec||x||x|
|26||McCann Erickson||y||y||29||10 Dec||x||x|
|27||Netsight Internet Solutions||y||y||27||17 Dec||x||x|
|29||Evans & Finch||y||y||26||10 Sep||x||x|
|31||Double Art||y||y||24||15 Dec||x||x|
|32||Mentor Digital||y||y||23||21 Dec||x||x|
|33||Proctor and Stevenson||y||y||22||16 Sep||y||8|
|34||Mobile Pie||y||y||22||1 Dec||x||x|
|35||Tickbox Marketing||y||y||21||22 Dec||x||x|
|36||Epoch Design||y||y||20||14 Dec||See Blog|
|38||Pixillion Digital||y||y||19||1 Nov||x||x|
|39||Jump Media||y||y||18||5 Oct||x||x|
|40||Bray Leino||y||y||17||25 Nov||See Blog|
|41||Taylor & Taylor Advertising||y||y||16||31 Oct||See Blog|
|42||Nameless Media Group||y||y||16||9 Dec||x||x|
|44||Justin Norton||y||y||15||28 Dec||x||x|
|45||Laura James||y||y||15||29 Dec||x||x|
|46||CompanyX||y||y||14||20 Dec||See Blog|
|48||Kinneir Dufort||y||y||13||16 Dec||See Blog|
|49||ERB Coaching Solutions||y||y||12||27 Dec||x||x|
|50||SunHouse Creative||y||y||12||30 Nov||x||x|
|52||Brightlines Translation||y||10||30 Nov||See Blog|
|54||The Real Adventure||y||y||9||29 Oct||x||x|
|55||Creative Learning Agency||y||y||9||6 Dec||See Blog|
|57||Mayfly Media||y||y||8||16 Dec||x||x|
|59||Zeffa||y||y||7||17 Dec||See Blog|
|60||Tom Redfern||y||y||7||30 Sep||x||x|
|61||Pixel Thread||y||y||7||27 Sep||x||x|
|62||Trainstation||y||y||6||27 Jul||See Blog|
|63||Daniel Alford||y||y||6||5 Feb||x||x|
|64||Applause Digital Media||y||y||6||17 Dec||See Blog|
|66||Unscribble Copywriting||y||y||5||19 Apr||x||x|
|68||Tribe-One||y||y||3||29 Jun||See Blog|
|70||Marketing Clout||y||y||3||23 Aug||x||x|
|71||Rob Creet||y||y||3||28 May||x||x|
|73||The Drawing Room||y||y||2||No Date||x||x|
|74||Leopard Rock Media||y||y||2||28 Oct||x||x|
|75||Open Communication||y||y||2||5 Oct||x||x|
|76||Another Vision||y||x||0||25 Oct 2009||x||x|
|78||Avon Forth Media||y||x||x||x||y||0|
|85||James KIng Photographer||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|87||Peter Kew Copywriting||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|91||The Creative Dept||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|94||Emery McLaven Orr||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|95||Proteus Creative Comms||y||x||x||x||y||No Date|
|96||Strange and Dawson||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|100||Bob Design and Marketing||y||x||x||x||y||19|
|103||DOUBLE Europe||y||x||x||x||y||No Date|
|109||Oakwood Media Group||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|120||So Design Consultants||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|121||Still Motion Design||y||x||x||x||y||1|
|122||The Creative Consortium||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|124||Clear Design UK||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|126||Element 78 Solutions||y||x||x||x||y||7|
|131||The Garden Room||y||x||x||x||y||7|
|132||Ad Art Design||y||x||x||x||x||x|
|136||Chris Borton Consulting||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|143||Thomas Media Consultants||y||x||x||x||y||No Date|
|144||Duttons Design||y||x||x||1 Jun||y||6|
|145||The Light||y||y||x||No Date||x||x|
|146||Knowle West Media Centre||y||x||x||x||y||No Date|
|147||Ldexterl Design||y||y||44*||28 Dec||x||x|
|148||Ambitious Brands||y||y||21*||28 Dec||x||x|
|149||React. Adapt.||y||y||17*||21 Dec||x||x|
|150||ThirtyThree||y||y||13*||16 Dec||See Blog|
|151||Search Star||y||y||10*||21 Dec||x||x|
|152||Matter 2 Media||y||y||10*||1 Dec||x||x|
* This site does not appear to have been running for the whole year