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A few years ago I had the good fortune to work with someone who’s forgotten more about PR than I’ll ever know. She’s also grizzled, cynical, and prone to fits of rage when presented with a misplaced apostrophe. In other words, exactly my kind of person. Anyway, she introduced me to the PR keystone concept of the SFW.

No, it’s not the nice version of NSFW. In this instance, the S stands for So and the W stands for What. I’m sure you can figure the F bit out. In her view, every bit of communication needs to give the audience a reason to care about what they just heard or read – they need to hear the SFW.

Which brings me to the Showmax Soapbox. We’ve added an opinion section to our blog. SFW?

The importance of this new section for me is that it talks to how much both journalism and PR have morphed in the space of only a couple of years. Newsrooms are getting smaller and smaller. Experienced journalists are increasingly being pensioned off or moving to greener pastures. Meanwhile, there’s a massive hunger for content to be consumed online, and in absence of the media providing that content, there’s a yawning hole for companies to step into. The end result is that traditional PR as I once knew it is tailing off and I’m spending more and more time on content marketing. Hence this blog.

I initially fought the blog concept – why would anyone want to read what we’re saying about our own stuff? But somewhere along the way I had an a-ha moment, realising that as long as you’re providing useful information, you steer clear of marketing slogans, and you try really hard to keep balance in what you’re saying, then people actually are interested in reading your content.

And then there are listicles. I’m really sorry about those (but they’re proving irritatingly popular).

Back to the Showmax Soapbox. The idea behind adding this section is to provide an open place for opinion and commentary on this industry. There’s no agenda. The only thing we ask is that contributors find a link, however tenuous, to internet TV and/or video entertainment. Good content, of course, isn’t free, so we’re happy to pay our contributors. The SFW, and I don’t want to overplay my hand here because it’s quirky rather than profound, is that if the concept works, we’ll be in the strange situation that a PR function has turned into a publisher. Interesting times.

If you’d like to contribute, we’re keen to hear from you. We’re looking for 400-500 word pieces (or larger pieces split into 400-500 word chunks). If you’ve got an idea, please contact laura.cooke@showmax.com.


Also published on Medium.

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About the author

Richard Boorman

Richard is the Head of Communications for Showmax. He joined just prior to the launch of the service in 2015. Before this he spent six years managing PR at Vodacom. His working life started at a paper company, ultimately running investor relations before moving on to run IR and PR for a mining startup. He also spent a brief and shameful year as a PR consultant.

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