By Tobias van Schneider Published February 18, 2020
It never fails. Every time I work with a new client and talk through the pages on their new site, they say, “Oh yes, and the blog!”
We add a blog to their site and a couple of months down the road, after content population is done and the website is just about to launch, someone clicks that tiny Blog or News link in the footer. It’s empty. "Oh right, the blog."
The client adds their first blog post or news post in a scramble and we push the site live. A few months after launch, I’m looking over the site and check the blog page. It hasn’t been updated once since launch. Oh yeah, the blog.
Blogs are great. This is a blog (we call it a magazine, thank you). I clearly support blogging and wholeheartedly support writing (read this and this and this, for example). But if you don’t have a solid plan for your blog and the resources for consistent execution, especially as an agency or studio, you should not have a blog on your site.
A blog dates your site more than design or case studies or anything else. Check the blog on any agency website and you will see: They are likely a cobwebby place filled with boring, self-promotional posts about the latest award they won or press they got. This type of content could easily be featured in a simple list on their About page, but instead they wasted their time with a blog post about it. They probably didn’t waste our time, because we probably didn’t read it.
"Share something useful or inspiring with your readers. This is a better way to promote your work than with soulless press releases, anyway."
If you’re going to have a blog for your agency or company, have a strong strategy in place and a committed team to see it through. Whatever you do, don’t make your agency blog a place to throw your press releases and links to magazine features. Make it good. Share something useful or inspiring with your readers. This is a better way to promote your work than with soulless press releases, anyway.
An example of an agency portfolio done right: Ueno’s blog. For one, they publish regularly. And they publish useful, entertaining articles relevant to their industry. Sure, many of these posts tie back to the Ueno team and promote their work, but they are framed-up as resources, answering questions and giving tips to their creative audience. And, importantly, they are not cringey SEO pieces filled with recycled advice from the internet. They are personal and sometimes even funny. Ueno has positioned themselves as an authority in the digital space through their blog, and clients see that too. As with everything in life, being useful brings positive returns.
Creating a blog for your company or product can be valuable as well. Just look at WePresent by WeTransfer. It’s one of the most beautiful and thoughtful creative publications I’ve seen in the last year or so. And it’s obvious WeTransfer puts a ton of energy and resources behind it (obviously, they have the budget to do so). I don’t know what the monetary return is for them – you likely won't know yours either, that's not how it works – but I know I personally have more awareness and respect for WeTransfer because of WePresent.
A blog can be a great way to share your agency’s culture or company’s offering and get it noticed, but only if it’s done well. And it’s rarely done well. So if you’re considering a blog for your site, first decide if it’s the best use of your time and resources. And if it is, then truly invest in it. Aim to make it as good or better as any creative or tech magazine already on the market. Get an editorial team behind it that brainstorms ideas and writes fresh pieces as any other media company would. Either make your agency blog good, or focus your energy elsewhere.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!