The PR BlogDigital PRContent & InboundI Was Blogging Before, During, and Long After It Was Cool

I Was Blogging Before, During, and Long After It Was Cool

I blog for fun; any "personal branding" is just a side-effect.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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.”
Source: Wikipedia

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:

  • A cap­it­al­ist strives for more cap­it­al. But there’s noth­ing more anti-cap­it­al­ist than to sound like a capitalist.
  • A politi­cian is in the ser­vice of demo­cracy. But there’s noth­ing more anti-demo­crat­ic than to sound like a politician.
  • A dem­agogue argues for change. But there’s noth­ing more anti-pro­gress­ive than to sound like a demagogue.

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.


Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: Evergreen Content

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 short-term impact, Evergreen Content accu­mu­lates over time.

There are dif­fer­ent ways to lever­age ever­green con­tent. I recom­mend a few axioms for Evergreen Content:

  • Two years. To be con­sidered ever­green con­tent, I think the con­tent must be rel­ev­ant and valu­able for at least two years. It’s an arbit­rary time frame, but if an organ­isa­tion can pro­duce con­tent last­ing for two years, it will typ­ic­ally last for much longer.
  • Actual interest. To be con­sidered ever­green con­tent, there must be an exist­ing volume of search engine users look­ing for the inform­a­tion. The con­tent will nev­er be ‘ever’ without ‘green’ search volumes.
  • Gentle garden­ing. Evergreen con­tent will only stay ever­green if you tend to it occa­sion­ally. To check if everything’s work­ing, add some­thing help­ful if needed, and per­haps clean out some unne­ces­sary stuff. It’s a bit like garden­ing, I find. 
  • Personal touch. It’s dif­fi­cult to pub­lish some­thing unique. However, adding your brand’s ton­al­ity and flair to the con­tent is always pos­sible. The object­ive is to estab­lish trust and author­ity, so a touch of per­son­al­ity matters.

Evergreen Content is also help­ful in build­ing Content Themes, Content Packages, Deep Content, and Content Skyscrapers.

Learn more: The Evergreen Content PR Strategy: Forever Is a Long Time

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

PR Resource: Content Themes

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 (to build Content Skyscrapers). Each Content Package could con­tain the following:

  • Infographics
  • Blog Articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Social Media Updates
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Magnets
  • Swipe Files
  • Template Files
  • Content Upgrades
  • Online Courses
  • Podcast Episodes
  • Livestreams
  • Email Send-Outs
  • Events
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars
  • Video Tutorials
  • Interactive Quizzes
  • Press Releases
  • E‑Books
  • Testimonials
  • Influencer Collaborations
  • Mobile Apps
  • Slide Presentations

Learn more: The Content Themes PR Strategy

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

PR Resource: Deep Content

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:

  • Level 1: Articles
  • Level 2: Content Upgrade
  • Level 3: Resource/​Lead Magnet
  • Level 4: Ebook
  • Level 5: Online Course

Deep Content is centred around provid­ing increas­ingly high­er qual­ity to Content Divers (click­ing ver­tic­ally) since they’re more valu­able than Content Surfers (click­ing horizontally).

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: Win By Going Deeper

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

PR Resource: Why We Share on Social Media

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Why We Share on Social Media

People want to be loved; fail­ing that admired; fail­ing that feared; fail­ing that hated and des­pised. They want to evoke some sort of sen­ti­ment. The soul shud­ders before obli­vi­on and seeks con­nec­tion at any price.”
— Hjalmar Söderberg (1869−1941), Swedish author

When we share on social media, we share for a reas­on. And that reas­on typ­ic­ally has some­thing to do with ourselves:

  • We share to make ourselves look smart.
  • We share to fit in and to stand out.
  • We share to express individuality.
  • We share to belong to our in-group.
  • We share to be loved.
  • We share to pro­voke reac­tions for attention.
  • We share to extract sympathy.
  • We share to make us feel bet­ter about ourselves.
  • We share to get ahead.
  • We share to grow an audi­ence.
  • We share to com­pensate for our shortcomings.
  • We share to get the respect we need.

If you can get social media to work for you, great. But you should also be mind­ful not to let the pres­sure get the bet­ter of you.

A status update with no likes (or a clev­er tweet without retweets) becomes the equi­val­ent of a joke met with silence. It must be rethought and rewrit­ten. And so we don’t show our true selves online, but a mask designed to con­form to the opin­ions of those around us.”
— Neil Strauss, Wall Street Journal

Learn more: The Narcissistic Principle: Why We Share on Social Media

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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