Articles

Growing Your Company

How to Create a Platform for New Business
By Thought Legion Presenter Michael Gass, Author of "Fuel Lines"

If you're serious about taking your agency to the next level, you can't succeed without a platform. Most agencies were late getting into social media. Then they literally "jumped in" with little to show for their time and effort. It takes more than a completed check-list for having an agency blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to have any kind of success. A blog provides agencies the perfect platform to create a niche that is appealing to a specific target audience, to have a clear point of differentiation from their competition, and to create a position of expertise.

Agency owners know they need this kind of focus, but most are afraid to drive that stake in the ground. A blog allows an agency to be much more narrowly niched without the risks.

A blog has been the central hub of my social media strategy from the beginning. I write in an 'evergreen' way so that my articles have a long 'shelf-life'. Posts that I have written six years ago continue to generate traffic and provide a tremendous return on my initial time investment.

I've found success by consistently providing helpful "reader-centric" content. You must be willing to give to receive. I do something that is counter intuitive to the way we tend to think as agencies. I give my thinking away. Yet, in doing so, it empowers my ability to create new business opportunities. Self-promotional content will lessen your appeal and negatively impact traffic to your site. Readers don't care about the new creative director you've hired or the 'Best of Show' Addy Award you won or your veiled self-promotional blog post on "How to Choose an Agency. "

You don't have to be a great writer to have significant web traffic. I've been around enough great copywriters in my career to know that I'm not one of them. But I do know how to create helpful content that is appealing. An example is a post that took me a mere 37 minutes to write, "The 10 Presentation Tactics of Steve Jobs for Ad Agency New Business. " That single post generated over a half-million page views in a short period of time.

A blog greatly enlarges my online footprint as it feeds and grows my other social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and even Pinterest. I can't imagine a social media strategy for agency new business that does not have a blog as its central component.

My posts are also highly optimized for search. This helps me to be consistently found through Google search because I maintain top search rankings. All of my posts are naturally optimized.

My blog has been the greatest professional enrichment tool I have ever used. As I'm being enriched with a systematic reading and writing program, I assimilate information quicker. Writing helps me to better articulate my thoughts. I have an educational program that will keep me from falling behind so I will not be surprised by the next Twitter or Pinterest.

Every morning I enter my classroom, I know my reading and writing assignments in advance. I'm even tested and graded by my audience through my analytics. My audience becomes my teacher. They help me to know thing s such as their greatest concerns, what content is appealing and what is not. They actually help me to be their thought leader. Besides all of this, I have the fuel necessary that feeds my new business program.

Having been in new business development my entire advertising career, I can tell you from experience, a blog is one of the most efficient and effective tools for creating new business opportunities. I have yet to make a single cold call for any new business opportunities or speaking engagements. I've built national and international awareness for my services and have clients in almost all 50 states, Canada and in the UK from my "home-base" in Alabaster, Alabama, which certainly isn't the mecca of the advertising industry.

Is a blog hard work? Most certainly. But, it can actually make your agency's new business program easier. The reward can be great if you are willing to provide the time and resources to do it the correct way.

Michael Gass is a new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. He is the author of Fuel Lines, which has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world, according to Ad Age's Power 150. For more information on Michael Gass and Thought Legion, Visit www.thoughtlegion.com/presenter/michael-gass/