Blogging is so passé, don’t you think?
In many ways, I’d agree with you. Blogging is a faux pas. There are no easy marketing wins 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 and DNS will cost you. A workable theme will cost you. Secure encryption will cost you. Image compression will cost you. Clever developers design most “free” open-source plugins to push users into premium versions.
And 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.
Why on Earth would anyone run a small blog for years and years?
I Don’t Blog For “Marketing” Reasons
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.
I’m advocating all the tactics listed above, and I 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.
Your Bottom Line is Not Your Message
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.
Here’s where many go wrong: they see these types of 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.”Wikipedia
If you build a communication platform based on your bottom line, your bias, you corrupt 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 counter-intuitive, for sure.
Communication hits different.
Smart business leaders don’t sound like typical business leaders. Smart entrepreneurs don’t sound like typical entrepreneurs. Smart 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. Suppose all you want to talk about is what you want for yourself, fine.
But don’t expect people to listen. Don’t expect people to care.
People Are Not Wallets-on-Legs
If I were blogging with the primary intent of somehow taking your money away from you, you would feel it instinctively. You would feel it in-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.
When I discuss PR with clients, I seek their humanity, not their quarterly business objectives. I’m not there to help them bore people to death.
I Blog Because I Love Public Relations
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 horrible jobs out there. I’m immensely thankful that I’ve found a profession I love so much.
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 money as much 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.