Advert veterans to sell blogs as marketing tools

TWO advertising industry veterans have joined forces to launch what is believed to be the UK’s first dedicated professional blogging agency.

Pete Mill, ex-creative director of The Leith Agency, and Mark Gorman, former founding managing director of 1576, will launch Planet Blog tomorrow – supplying regularly updated blogs for clients – after changes introduced by the search engine giant Google boosted the use of blogs as marketing tools.

Gorman said: “We think there’s a big market for this as Google has dramatically reworked its algorithm for SEO [search engine optimisation] and has really promoted the value of blogging – real writing for the real world.”

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The changes in the search giant’s method – dubbed Panda and, more recently, Penguin – were introduced to penalise websites that used “manipulative” SEO techniques to achieve higher rankings.

According to Gorman, web designers would “stuff” web content with key words that “spidered” well. Google spiders – the search engine’s algorithm agents – look for words that are relevant to a web search.

Gorman said: “Until Panda and Penguin, web developers had tried to ‘out-spider’ Google by filling their websites with search-friendly but dull as ditchwater copy and a huge numbers of links. This particularly odious practice is known as link bombing.

“The strategic goal that Panda and Penguin share is to display higher-quality websites at the top of Google’s search results. In other words, Panda and Penguin help Google think, not like a spider, but like a human.

“What proper, well-written blogs do – with some business keywords in moderation – is appeal to Panda and Penguin because they are real and consequently boost website ratings.”

The duo said they have conducted research that shows that 86 per cent of businesses “love blogs but hate blogging”.

Gorman said: “Starting a blog is dead easy. Keeping it going is hard. It’s our job to keep it going.”

Mill added: “You’ve got to love the process from start to finish – doing the research, having the inspiration and crafting the writing itself. Most in-house bloggers fall down in at least one area eventually.”

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Gorman, who founded Scottish independent advertising agency 1576 in 1993, is best known for his involvement in the award-winning “Welcome to the glen of tranquillity” advert for Glenmorangie.

He left the agency after nine years.

In 2008, the company was one of the first major Scottish agencies to collapse due to financial difficulties.

Gorman is currently chair of Creative Edinburgh.

Mill co-founded the Leith Agency in 1984 and left in 2002 ahead of its sale to the Cello group.

Last year Mill resigned as a director of communications consultancy 60 Watt but continues to work with the firm.