Why Your Architecture Firm Shouldn’t Start A Blog

As I logged in tonight to work on a blog post, I took a quick peek at a few other blogs I follow, or at least read off and on. While looking at the dates of the last few blog posts, I realized most of them hadn’t been updated in months.

The discovery lead me to wonder how long the average blogger keeps up their trade. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t share a few pieces of info with you.

First, is an older post from problogger.net that analyzes the age of the top 100 blogs from Technorati back in 2006. Although the post is old, I wouldn’t be surprised if the analysis is still pretty close to accurate. The average age of the blogs in the top 100 was only 33.8 months.

Second, and perhaps more telling, is this article from The New York Times. Based on data (again, from Technorati), this article shares that 95% of blogs are abandoned or not updated within the past 4 months.

Why? The truth of the matter is that keeping a blog going is a lot of work. Without dedicated resources, clear expectations and strategy to guide blogging, it’s very easy to run out of content or just flat out loose interest. Not to mention, when running a blog for a firm, turnover plays a factor. If one person on staff is the “keeper of the blog” then the blog is pretty likely to die when they leave the firm.

I’m not 100% serious when I say that an AEC firm shouldn’t start a blog, only 95%…(kidding). But I do stand firmly by the belief that nothing in marketing is worth doing if you can’t sustain it. I would never recommend beginning a monthly newsletter unless there were resources committed to keep it going. A blog can have even more of a need for content, and doesn’t automatically start with an opted-in list of readers.

Building traffic takes time, building content takes commitment, and building a reputation through your blog takes being a part of that top 5%.

Are We Diversifying or Just Chasing Everything?

I’ve never really been a huge fan of the word diversifying. As an in-house marketer, it meant something totally different than say…an investor.

The concept behind diversifying is to prevent significant losses if one stream of income dries up. Who wouldn’t like that? It’s like the antithesis of putting all of your eggs in one basket. Sounds good enough.

My main concern is that the term is often used (or mis-used) in the AEC industry to describe frantic chasing of any and all opportunities that involve “work that we can do.” In the past two years especially, it seems like a lot of firms are diversifying. In fact, I just attended a wonderful SMPS CEO panel discussion a few weeks ago in which the word was thrown around a lot. I left thinking to myself, when is someone really going to explain how they decided to diversify though, and how did they incorporate strategic marketing to make those decisions?

The truth of the matter is that far too many firms (not necessarily those on the panel) aren’t actually diversifying. Most are just chasing after jobs outside of their target market because the ones they usually win aren’t coming in the door. Imagine an investor that saw their stock start to dip, so they took all of their resources (money) out of that one stock, and spread it around to four other stocks evenly. Unfortunately though, they knew nothing about those four stocks except what they saw in the past week in the news…no 52 week range, no market cap, no P/E. Would you call that diversifying?

Marketing is the same way. Firms have a fixed amount of resources (people, time, money) and diversifying isn’t as simple as going after the latest RFP that comes out. The differences between a shotgun approach and actually diversifying are research and strategy. Firms that successfully diversify find markets that make good business sense for them, not just ones that have a new job opportunity.