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.

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. 

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

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 PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er 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 (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

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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

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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

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PR Resource: Inbound vs Outbound

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Inbound vs Outbound

The inbound mind­set is a fun­da­ment­al shift in the PR- and mar­ket­ing industry.

Historically, many PR- and mar­ket­ing depart­ments have argued:

Why should we spend our PR- and mar­ket­ing budgets on ‘already acquired’ audiences?”

The truth is — it’s the oth­er way around.

Instead of “spam­ming” non-exist­ing audi­ences, pub­lic rela­tions and mar­ket­ing can do much more with exist­ing online pub­lics. 1Silfwer, J. (2015, June 11). The Publics in Public Relations. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​s​-​i​n​-​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​ns/

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

If your Inbound Shift PR Strategy is good, you might not need to pri­or­it­ise out­bound PR strategies — because your inbound audi­ence will attract out­bound publics.

Drawing a line between those who know you and those who don’t know you is noth­ing new:

  • Push Marketing
  • Cold Leads
  • Traditional Marketing
  • External Comms
  • Pull Marketing
  • Hot Leads
  • Permission Marketing
  • Internal Comms

This inbound shift is just the online equivalent:

  • Outbound Comms
  • Inbound Comms

Learn more: The Inbound Shift PR Strategy: Beauty From Within

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PR Resource: The Anatomy of Attention

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

The Anatomy of Attention

Attention is an essen­tial com­pon­ent of pub­lic relations:

  • An organ­isa­tion, starved of atten­tion, trust, and loy­alty, is com­pelled to wage a per­petu­al struggle for its con­tin­ued existence.

We all seem to crave atten­tion in some form or another:

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

But what con­sti­tutes ‘atten­tion’?

Attention is a com­plex, real neur­al archi­tec­ture (‘RNA’) mod­el that integ­rates vari­ous cog­nit­ive mod­els and brain cen­ters to per­form tasks like visu­al search.”
Source: Trends in cog­nit­ive sci­ences 2Shipp, S. (2004). The brain cir­cuitry of atten­tion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 223 – 230. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​1​6​/​j​.​t​i​c​s​.​2​0​0​4​.​0​3​.​004

Each of the below terms refers to a spe­cif­ic aspect or type of atten­tion (“men­tal band­width”), a com­plex cog­nit­ive pro­cess. 3Schweizer, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Goldhammer, F. (2005). The struc­ture of the rela­tion­ship between atten­tion and intel­li­gence. Intelligence, 33(6), 589 – 611. … Continue read­ing

Let’s explore dif­fer­ent types of attention:

  • Alertness. This is the state of being watch­ful and ready to respond. It’s the most basic form of atten­tion, rep­res­ent­ing our read­i­ness to per­ceive and pro­cess inform­a­tion from the environment.
  • Sustained atten­tion. This involves focus­ing on a spe­cif­ic task or stim­u­lus over a pro­longed peri­od. It’s cru­cial for tasks that require ongo­ing con­cen­tra­tion, like read­ing or driving.
  • Focused atten­tion. This refers to the abil­ity to con­cen­trate on one par­tic­u­lar stim­u­lus or task while ignor­ing oth­ers. It’s the abil­ity to focus nar­rowly on a single thing.
  • Attentional switch­ing. Also known as task switch­ing or cog­nit­ive flex­ib­il­ity, this involves shift­ing focus from one task to anoth­er. It’s crit­ic­al for mul­ti­task­ing and adapt­ing to chan­ging demands or priorities.
  • Divided atten­tion. This is the abil­ity to pro­cess two or more responses or react to mul­tiple tasks sim­ul­tan­eously. It’s often tested by ask­ing people to per­form two tasks sim­ul­tan­eously, like listen­ing to a con­ver­sa­tion while writ­ing.
  • Attention accord­ing to the super­vis­ory atten­tion­al sys­tem. This concept, derived from cog­nit­ive psy­cho­logy, refers to a high­er-level con­trol sys­tem that reg­u­lates the alloc­a­tion of atten­tion, par­tic­u­larly in situ­ations requir­ing plan­ning or decision-making.
  • Attention as inhib­i­tion. This aspect of atten­tion involves sup­press­ing irrel­ev­ant or dis­tract­ing stim­uli. It’s a cru­cial com­pon­ent of focused atten­tion and self-regulation.
  • Spatial atten­tion. This type of atten­tion focuses on a spe­cif­ic area with­in the visu­al field. It’s like a spot­light that enhances inform­a­tion pro­cessing in a par­tic­u­lar location.
  • Attention as plan­ning. This per­spect­ive views atten­tion as a resource that needs to be alloc­ated effi­ciently, espe­cially in com­plex tasks requir­ing stra­tegic plan­ning and organization.
  • Interference. In the con­text of atten­tion, inter­fer­ence refers to the pro­cess by which irrel­ev­ant inform­a­tion or dis­trac­tions impede the effi­ciency of cog­nit­ive processing.
  • Attention as arous­al. This con­siders atten­tion in the con­text of the gen­er­al level of alert­ness or arous­al. It’s about the read­i­ness of the brain to engage with stim­uli or tasks.
  • Attention accord­ing to the assess­ment tra­di­tion. This refers to meas­ur­ing and eval­u­at­ing atten­tion­al pro­cesses, often in clin­ic­al or edu­ca­tion­al set­tings, to identi­fy atten­tion defi­cits or disorders.

Each type of atten­tion plays a cru­cial role in how we inter­act with and pro­cess inform­a­tion from our envir­on­ment, and under­stand­ing these dif­fer­ent aspects is key in fields like psy­cho­logy, neur­os­cience, and education.

There’s only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
— Oscar Wilde

Learn more: The Anatomy of Attention

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Silfwer, J. (2015, June 11). The Publics in Public Relations. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​u​b​l​i​c​s​-​i​n​-​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​ns/
2 Shipp, S. (2004). The brain cir­cuitry of atten­tion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 223 – 230. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​1​6​/​j​.​t​i​c​s​.​2​0​0​4​.​0​3​.​004
3 Schweizer, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Goldhammer, F. (2005). The struc­ture of the rela­tion­ship between atten­tion and intel­li­gence. Intelligence, 33(6), 589 – 611. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​1​6​/​j​.​i​n​t​e​l​l​.​2​0​0​5​.​0​7​.​001
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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