For Content!”

The battle cry of social media influencers is telling us something.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Are you doing enough — for content?

For con­tent: A state­ment used on the inter­net for some­thing that’s usu­ally unac­cept­able in nor­mal soci­ety, but is excused because it is for the pur­pose of a YouTube video.”
Source: Urban Dictionary

Lately, I’ve been fas­cin­ated by the world of chess.

The embod­i­ment of the game used to be the idea of two all-see­ing titans, with stern fore­heads frowned in deep thought, waging an intel­lec­tu­al war against each oth­er over the board — in silence.

Black and white visual art of two titans playing chess - For Content
AI art. Prompt: “Black and white visu­al art of two titans play­ing chess.”

Back then, ima­gine being giv­en the fol­low­ing PR brief: 

Turn chess into a play­ful and fast-paced ven­ue for youth­ful expres­sion. Make it less dull and high­brow. Make it digit­al-first. Also, please make learn­ing about the game a dynam­ic and cre­at­ive grass­roots movement.”

Quite the PR chal­lenge, indeed.

Still, we know how it happened. In December 2019, the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic hit and forced many of us into quar­ant­ine for many months. And then, in October 2020, the Netflix min­iser­ies The Queen’s Gambit aired.

The Queen's Gambit - The Chess Project - Doctor Spin
The Queen’s Gambit took the world by storm.

Chess app down­loads on the App Store and Google Play Store rose by 63% after the show [The Queen’s Gambit] deb­uted. Chess​.com saw more than twice as many account regis­tra­tions in November as it had in pre­vi­ous months, and the num­ber of games played monthly on Lichess doubled as well. There was also a demo­graph­ic shift in play­ers, with female regis­tra­tion on Chess​.com shift­ing from 22% of new play­ers to 27% of new play­ers.”
Source: Wikipedia

The online chess space of today is spark­ling with activ­ity and engage­ment. And it’s not just about chess — the play­ers are becom­ing bon­afide online super­stars. And with online super­star­dom and lively com­munit­ies come drama and main­stream pub­li­city.

The oth­er day I watched a YouTube video with the Botez sis­ters, Alexandra and Andrea. They were fea­tured by anoth­er pop­u­lar chess stream­er, Anna Cramling, the daugh­ter of grand­mas­ters Pia Cramling and Juan Manuel Bellón López.

The three stream­ers had met up to enjoy a couple of fast games while soak­ing in the sun next to a swim­ming pool — and to cre­ate live chess con­tent.

Anna Cramling playing against Andrea Botez by the pool - For Content
Anna Cramling is play­ing against Andrea Botez by the pool. Screenshot: Chess Match vs Andrea Botez BUT LOSER HAS TO JUMP IN THE POOL

Stakes were added to the games to make the con­tent more enga­ging. The loser had to jump into the pool with their clothes on while the two oth­ers would relay some of the excited reac­tions from their live chat channels.

On this day, Cramling lost — and into the pool, she went.

Anna Cramling jumping into the pool - For Content
Anna Cramling is jump­ing into the pool — for con­tent. Screenshot: Chess Match vs Andrea Botez BUT LOSER HAS TO JUMP IN THE POOL

Adding stakes to make the con­tent more enga­ging is typ­ic­al for the Botez sis­ters. A young chess play­er chal­lenged Andrea Botez for her Snap (boomer cla­ri­fic­a­tion: that’s the equi­val­ent of get­ting someone’s phone num­ber). And I’ve seen the Botez sis­ters dare each oth­er to run laps in pub­lic while flap­ping like a chick­en.

Just your typ­ic­al inter­net stuff, right?

Well. Here’s my point: It’s not that chess is bor­ing. But if you can make your video con­tent a little bit more fun, a little bit more inter­est­ing, and a little bit more enga­ging — why wouldn’t you?

Read also: The Chess Project: 12 Months With the Most Beautiful Game

When it’s time for the loser to jump in the pool, share their Snap, or run laps while flap­ping like a chick­en, you often hear the mod­ern battle cry of the social media influ­en­cer:

For con­tent!”

Going hyper­bole for bet­ter con­tent isn’t just an online chess phe­nomen­on. Social media influ­en­cers of all vari­et­ies under­stand that they must go the extra mile to keep their audi­ences engaged. Some, like the notori­ous YouTuber MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson), take the concept of “For con­tent!” fur­ther than most, but still.

Is this silly? 

I’m con­sid­er­ing a fant­ast­ic scene in The West Wing fea­tur­ing US President Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen) and the stra­tegic cam­paign adviser Bruno Gianelli (Ron Silver).

Bruno Gianelli on racing sailboats in The West Wing - For Content
Bruno Gianelli (Ron Silver) doesn’t leave any­thing to chance. Screenshot: West Wing – Bruno Gianelli on sailboats

Gianelli argues that it’s dif­fi­cult to coöper­ate with pro­fes­sion­als who don’t race sail­boats. When racing sail­boats, kelp some­times gets stuck to the hull. The kelp causes a slight drag. If you try to remove it using a stick, it will cause more drag than the kelp, so you must use a spe­cif­ic tech­nique to pre­serve every bit of momentum.

Gianelli’s point is that he jumps at even the slight­est oppor­tun­ity to main­tain or increase momentum.

Is Gianelli being silly?
To him, every advant­age matters.

As a read­er of this blog, you’re prob­ably a pro­fes­sion­al com­mu­nic­at­or. Am I telling you to spice up your next press release by jump­ing into a swim­ming pool … for content?

Well, I am say­ing pre­cisely that.

The media land­scape of today’s atten­tion eco­nomy is fierce. We would be wise to take the influ­en­cer battle cry “For con­tent!” seriously. 

I’ve worked with cor­por­ate com­mu­nic­a­tions in vari­ous forms since 2005. It’s a fac­tu­al state­ment that all facets of cor­por­ate con­tent typ­ic­ally lack per­son­al­ity, style, emo­tion­al charge, char­ac­ter, atti­tude, fun, and eccentricity.

When you strip cor­por­ate con­tent of humanity’s beau­ti­ful quirk­i­ness, whatever you’ll be left with is … cringe-worthy. And cor­por­ate cringe is far worse than adding some odd fla­vour to your PR messaging.

You may not have to jump into a swim­ming pool to boost your con­tent strategy. But, for instance, have you ever con­sidered adding stakes to your com­mu­nic­a­tion? No? Huh.

Take a close look at your next piece of con­tent sched­uled for pub­lish­ing. Have you gone the extra mile? Are your con­tent cre­ation ideas worthy of atten­tion? Are you sure that there is no kelp stuck to your hull?

Ask your­self: What more can your brand do — for content?

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: 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

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: Inbound vs Outbound

Inbound vs Outbound

The inbound mind­set is a fun­da­ment­al shift in pub­lic relations.

Instead of focus­ing on try­ing to spawn non-exist­ing audi­ences, PR can do so much more with exist­ing online pub­lics. 1See also The Publics in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).

If your inbound PR strategy is good enough, you might not even need an out­bound PR strategy.

Jerry Silfwer speaking about inbound marketing
Jerry Silfwer (Doctor Spin) speaks about inbound marketing.

Read also: The Inbound First PR Strategy: Beauty From Within

1 See also The Publics in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).
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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