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 blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and 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 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:

  • 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. Without search volumes, the con­tent will likely be ‘ever’ without the ‘green’.
  • 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.

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

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. 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

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 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

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

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