What We Learned From Silence
Shhh….What We Learned From Silence
Shhh….What We Learned From Silence

Last week, we had zero blog posts published here on socialmediaexp.wpengine.com. Zero. Like, less than one. That’s not only odd for us, it’s unprecedented. And it was uncomfortable. And truthfully it was…odd timing. However, you should know that it was absolutely, 100%, completely part of a well-thought-out, perfectly-executed master plan.

Umm…okay…no it wasn’t.

I’ve thought long and hard about our unintentional blog-hiatus. In fact, as primary editor of this blog, I thought about it day and night. And day. Publishing five (worthy) posts a week surely isn’t easy, but it turns out that it’s actually easier than publishing zero. That sounds odd, but it’s true. But the silence was necessary, it was transparent, and I learned a lot during our time between the words.

It’s Okay To Take A Break

silence2We’re a small (but powerful) shop here at SME Digital. We work very hard for our amazing clients, often logging semi-insane hours to provide WOW every chance we get. And that means that we need to find time to replenish. To put it bluntly, we get tired from time to time, and we’ve gotten very good at recognizing when we need to zen out and take a breather.

Last week, we all needed a breather. It doesn’t show in our client work (nor will it ever), so the blank space is evident in our business. The blog, our social channels, our engagement, and our represented brand all take the hit…and that’s okay. Yes, it’s important to stay active and take care of the house. The house is super important.

However, I would argue that it’s more important to take care of those who inhabit the house. Take care of those who inhabit your house. It’s the only way that you’ll have a house at all.

Inspiration 101

The truth of last week is that we could have posted all five days. We had some ideas; I had some words saved as drafts. But, to be perfectly transparent, we had little inspiration. And we just can’t, and we won’t, publish uninspired words. Those posts do no good; those strung-together nouns and verbs are just noise; and those posts are worse than silence.

We’re committed to “Holy Smokes” content on this blog. We don’t always hit it, sure. But we’re still committed to it. And serving you “Holy Smokes, that was boring” doesn’t count. We want “Holy Smokes that was amazing/honest/crazy/inspiring/etc.” That’s our commitment. And sometimes inspiration takes a holiday. That’s just the truth of it.

So if you’re living by a strict calendar, prepare to die by it. Blog deadlines should be a motivation to those of us who live for the pressure. But, for Pete’s sake, don’t blame a deadline for putting out crap. No one will thank you for it. If you need a break, take one. I can attest to the fact that the world will keep turning.

Less Should Be More

Following up on the learning above, here at SME, we might be posting less going forward. It’s time for us (ahem, me) to give up the notion that we must post every single day. Seriously, that’s crazy talk. Instead, our new schedule will be, we post when we have something to say.

Now, don’t let last week’s silence fool you…we have LOTS to say. In fact, we might actually end up posting five times a week, but it won’t be because we have to. It’ll be because the posts are important, are inspired, and are necessary. And I expect you, dear reader, to hold us to that.

If “Holy Smokes” content is why you are here, and you just aren’t getting it, call us out on it. Leave a comment, email me, tweet BS. Because if we aren’t providing value, then we have some soul-searching to do. Last week, we soul-searched, and it was super-important. This week, is it your turn?

Truth Time

I’m writing a post this week about why we didn’t write any posts last week. Yup; I get that it’s odd. But I’m also hoping that you will ask yourself why you published last week (if you did). Did you publish out of inspiration or obligation? Did you share posts because you couldn’t help but spread the word, or did you passively pass along more noise? Don’t passively pass along more noise.

Our wish here at SME Digital is that we will up-level the conversation around marketing, culture, measurement, and whatever else we can’t shut up about. And I hope it’s your brand’s wish, as well. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But let’s prioritize shutting up over contributing noise. And let’s be okay with the silence. Because that silence…it’s where the real inspiration happens.

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About the Author

Matt Hollowell
Matt is a lifelong student of design, marketing, publishing, and content creation. His passion sits at the intersection of content and design; in fact, you can often find him there with a cup of coffee in one hand and a notepad in the other. As SME's Creative Director, he supports both the brand and clients, which helps to satisfy his lifelong love of never knowing what's coming next. When not at his desk, you'll find Matt serenading his two amazing daughters, reading gritty British poetry, or obsessively listening to podcasts. Send him your podcast reccs here: @mhollowell.

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