The Big QuestionArguably, the biggest question to come out of our 2017 round-up of The Big Question articles, was how do we distinguish the best from the rest?

In truth, the best part of The Big Question is there are always newer, bigger questions to ask in our industry.

We Ask The Best Big Questions

As PR and marketing practitioners, as data miners, as writers, we are always looking for new ways to get better at our job, for better ways tell stories, to garner engagement, to get found.

In 2017, we talked about your professional development goals for 2017, PR goals for the year, and how we’re going to measure them.

We asked about the best ways to invest in your PR career and what your favorite SEO tools are.

Fake news: how do PR and marketing practitioners fight it?

What are your book ideas, if you were to write one?

We inquired if PR professionals are prepared to bow down to our A.I. overlords

Some Big Questions were more practical (“The Struggle(s) with Keyword Research”) than others (“Cutting the [Cable] Cord – Yes or No?”).

But practical or otherwise, which was the very best?

That is a big question indeed.

The Best of the Big Question 2017: Most Answered

Some may argue that the quality of a question lies in how many people answer it.

Is the best big question the one that garnered the most submissions?

If that is the case, then “The Most Common Marketing Mistakes” wins with more than 100 responses (collected across our free Slack community, the PR Dream Team, social media, and through HARO queries).

Apparently, many Spin Sucks readers wanted to weigh in on all the questionable campaigns they’ve been subjected to or, perhaps, have had to work on, over the years.

The Best of the Big Question 2017: Most Traffic

How does that other great question go?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Philosophy aside, yes, of course, it makes a sound (or is this fodder for a future Big Question?).

But does that sound have any effect?

When it comes to content, we need eyeballs.

We need people to read it.

The quality and relevance of that content are integral to how much traffic it generates.

By that virtue, the best Big Question of 2017 was “What Are the Most Important PR Skills for the Future?” with the most pageviews, unique pageviews, and sessions for the year.

The Best of the Big Question 2017: Most Comments

Despite how many people responded to the question, or read the post itself, at Spin Sucks we are often most excited about the comments on a given post (it may even get a little competitive).

Based on that benchmark, “The Big Question: Which PR Buzzwords Must Die?” wins hands-down with the most comments compared to any other Big Question in 2017.

The Best of the Big Question 2017: Most Shared

My kids love to say, “Sharing is caring.”

To be clear, they love to say it. Not practice it.

But the lesson is still a good one: lots of post shares = better than fewer shares.

If that’s the case, then we have to hark back to “What Are the Most Important PR Skills for the Future?” (see Most Traffic)

Not only did it get the most traffic, but readers shared it from within the post over 400 times (the next closest candidate was in the 200s).

The Best of the Big Question 2017: “Best” Posts

Interestingly (or otherwise), there were only a handful of posts that have the word “best” in their headline.

In the spirit of being literal, the “Best” Big Questions include:

The Best of the Big Question 2017: The Best Answer

While it may not have been the very best Big Question, one of my personal favorites is “The Notebook Conundrum.”

I love my notebook, but that’s not why this Big Question tops my list.

Robb Wexler, or more specifically Robb Wexler’s answer, is why this Big Question is the very best in my book (see what I did there?).

“The Notebook Conundrum” inquired after our preferred note-taking tools, to which Mr. Wexler responded:

First I sneak into people’s living rooms… open up their piano and then usually take notes C and F sharp.

Get it? Note-taking? He takes C and F sharp? Well played, sir. My work is (almost) done here.

The Best of the Big Question 2017: The Best is Yet to Come

As of this writing, we have published 37 Big Questions.

Based on traffic, response-rates, and engagement, we can look forward to asking many more Big Questions through 2018.

As noted, our ever-evolving industry begets big questions all the time, so we’re not worried about running out of them.

We will even take your Big Question ideas.

Feel free to submit them here in the comments section, in our free Slack community, the PR Dream Team Slack channel, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

We’ll keep asking if you keep answering.

Thanks for an amazing 2017.

Mike Connell

Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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