Blogging is so passé, don’t you think?
In many ways, I’d agree: blogging is a faux pas.
There are no easy marketing wins with blogging anymore; regulations are making us all close cookie warnings left and right — and social media has sucked most comment sections dry.
Also, running a decent platform will cost you today.
Proper hosting will cost you.
A workable theme will cost you.
Secure encryption will cost you.
Image compression will cost you.
A form manager will cost you.
And so on.
Then we have all those greasy, formulaic SEO-type blog posts. They’re produced en masse to capture attention and clicks, not hearts and minds. Oh god, how much I hate them.
And, finally: blogging just isn’t considered cool anymore.
So, why on Earth am I still blogging?
I Don’t Blog For “Marketing” or “Branding”
Most bloggers in the marketing- and media space would probably list the benefits of content marketing as reasons for blogging. And they wouldn’t be wrong — content marketing provides many brands with essential tools to reach and engage with their customers.
And from there, one might start praising email marketing, list building, SEO, conversion tactics, viral loops, and lead nurturing — all the remarkable wonders of inbound marketing.
I’m advocating all the abovementioned tactics and don’t mind using them myself. They’re great.
But I don’t blog to market myself.
Blogging, at least for me, has always meant something beyond personal branding, content marketing, and online revenue streams.
Read also: The Online Basecamp
My Bottom Line is Not My “Why”
In PR, we often discuss the consumer’s intent. But we rarely discuss the producer’s intent.
We tend to think that the “why” of an organisation is straightforward. It seems simple enough; a business must grow; a political organisation needs power; a non-profit advocates change; an influencer seeks revenue.
I’m no different: I rely on clients to make a living.
Many go wrong: they see these bottom lines as “strategic starting points” for their PR messages. But that’s wrong — your bottom line should never be your communication platform.
Why? Your bottom line is only significant for you.
Bottom Line Communication is Boring
We’re all subject to various biases. A brand’s bottom line isn’t a communicative strength; it’s a bias.
“Bias is a disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief. In science and engineering, a bias is a systematic error. Statistical bias results from an unfair sampling of a population, or from an estimation process that does not give accurate results on average.”
Building a communication platform based on your bottom line and bias corrupts everything downstream. If nothing else, biases should be monitored and counteracted, not put on a pedestal and flaunted.
Think about it:
These dichotomies are contrarian, for sure.
Communication hits differently.
Wise business leaders don’t sound like typical business leaders. Savvy entrepreneurs don’t sound like typical entrepreneurs. Competent corporate spokespeople don’t sound like typical corporate spokespeople.
And smart bloggers don’t sound like typical bloggers.
If all you ever care about is your bottom line, okay. Fine, if you want to talk about what you want for yourself.
But don’t expect people to listen. Don’t expect people to care.
Readers Are Not Wallets-on-Legs
When discussing PR with clients, I seek their humanity, not quarterly business objectives. I’m not there to help them bore people to death.
If I were blogging with the primary intent of somehow taking your money away, you would feel it instinctively. You would feel it between the lines of every blog post. And you probably wouldn’t like it.
Put in another way: We all hate being talked to as wallets-on-legs.
Your intent matters as much as what you say. We cannot escape our biases, but we can be transparent and make conscious efforts to ‘speak human’ — to speak of matters of the heart.
Read also: William Faulkner on Writing From the Heart
I Blog Because Blogging Makes Me Happy
My background is simple. I’ve never gotten anything for free in life. Growing up, everyone around me hated their jobs — and I don’t blame them. There are many soul-sucking jobs out there. I’m immensely thankful that I’ve found a profession I love.
I still blog because PR is such an exciting and fascinating profession. If I enjoy writing about PR, the chances are that someone will enjoy reading it. And I think my take on public relations deserves an online basecamp.
Now, I want to make as much money as anyone else. But I try not to let my bottom line interfere with my purpose. Why would I? Communicating out of genuine passion isn’t bad for business, you know?
Most importantly, I’m always happy when I write about PR.
And that’s why I’ve been blogging before, during, and after it was cool.
PR Resource: Evergreen Content
What’s evergreen content? For a piece of content to be evergreen, it must sustain its value over time. Meaning: The content must be relevant today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future.
While news content might have a more significant impact short-term, evergreen content instead accumulates over time.
There are different ways to leverage evergreen content. I recommend a few axioms for evergreen content:
PR Resource: Content Themes
Let’s use a fictitious example of an IT company. First, they decide on a promise filter for their content strategy:
Promise filter: We make IT easy to understand.
Then, the IT company breaks their core message down into four business-critical content themes:
Q1 content theme: We make people understand the Internet of Things (IoT).
Q2 content theme: We make people understand business automation.
Q3 content theme: We make people understand cloud computing.
Q4 content theme: We make people understand managed services.
For each quarterly content theme, they produce content packages. Each content package could contain the following:
Learn more: The Content Themes PR Strategy
PR Resource: Deep Content
Above is an example of an online content structure that’s five levels deep.
In the example above, five layers of evergreen content are stacked:
Deep content is centred around providing increasingly higher quality to content divers since they’re more valuable than surface browsers.
As for the importance of structure and depth, the logic is the same as for iceberg publishing and content themes.
Learn more: The Deep Content PR Strategy