Sword and the Script

Engineering the Enterprise for Content Marketing



Engineering the Enterprise for Content Marketing

Recently a puzzle like the one nearby made rounds on the web.   Fifth grade students allegedly can solve this problem in 20 seconds or less.

If you tried and failed, you are not alone and we are together in this one.  Though I tried to recall forgotten algebra lessons from the foggiest reaches of my mind the effort was for naught.  And algebra, if I could have recalled it, wouldn’t have helped me anyway.

The solution is far easier and I’ve posted the answer at the bottom of this post. Read More…

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What Native Ads Mean for PR



by Frank Strong

What Native Ads Mean for PR

Following the likes of BuzzFeed, Gawker and the WaPo, among other media outlets, CNN is going all in on native advertising with an in-store studio or so to speak.

Writing for a WSJ business blog, Steven Perlberg reported:

CNN is creating an in-house studio that will produce news-like content on behalf of advertisers, a move that reflects marketers’ growing desire for articles and videos that feel like editorial work.

About a dozen staffers (made up of journalists, filmmakers and designers) will help launch the new unit, called Courageous. The division will fashion and distribute “branded content” across CNN’s fleet of properties, from TV to the Web and newer platforms like Snapchat…

…But the idea now is to work more closely with companies to highlight things that may have news value, such as the building of a manufacturing plant or a philanthropic effort, according to Otto Bell, the lead of the studio and former creative director at OgilvyEntertainment.

Mr. Bell said that his team would be staffed with “folks who have journalistic instincts” who would go into a company and “find that newsworthy element and extract that.”

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Scale Content Marketing: Employees are the Secret



by Frank Strong

Scale Content Marketing Employees are the Secret

“The biggest challenge is that we are moving from an industry that could create one amazing commercial to reach consumers to an ecosystem with a diversified channel structure,” according to Mike Scafidi, marketing operations with PepsiCo.

His commentary was presented in a white paper titled The Future of Content co-produced by The Content Counsel and an AdAge team that writes sponsored content for brands.  The paper is based on a combination of a survey of approximately 500 marketers and interviews from a number of people, like Mr. Sacfidi, from large consumer brands.

The top challenges and goals identified in the survey – producing quality content consumers find engaging – are consistent with other content marketing studies.  Yet the paper also surfaces the underlying driver of the shift to content marketing. Read More…

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6 Ways to Get More from your PR Agency



by Frank Strong

6 Ways to Get More from your PR Agency

I’ll never forget that new CMO.  He had just moved to Virginia from San Francisco to take the top marketing job at tech start-up.  California tan, cufflinks and all the “I’m from Silicon Valley” swagger he needed round it out.

He also had an incredible amount of pressure. As a new CMO, he was in the hot seat to make something out of nothing, to put that start-up on the map and help it figure out how to win some customers and define a market.

It wasn’t just business, it was personal:  he had moved his whole family from one coast to the other.  It’s a 3,000 mile trip for anyone counting.

At the time, I worked for a PR firm he inherited from his predecessor. He seemed willing to give us a go (where the CMO playbook usually involves switching agencies after the second down), and there’s no doubt we were enthusiastic about it, but there was one big problem:  a lack of everything. Read More…

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8 Corporate Communications Tips for Hiring a PR Firm



by Frank Strong

8 Corporate Communication Tips for Hiring a PR Agency

Hiring a PR firm for the corporate communications mix is a sizable undertaking but it usually boils down to picking the right people. As such identifying and selecting a firm is a big decision that deserves a thorough examination of the proposed team.

As the employers I’ve represented have grown larger, the firms I’ve engaged have grown smaller. That’s not by accident, and though I’ve managed a half-dozen or so firms in my tenure, including international firms, I tend to favor a smaller shops, that are nimble, highly responsive, provide access to the firm’s leadership and by virtue of being a small business, have some of their own skin in the game.

My views on hiring the best PR firm for an organization are pretty strong and I’d like to believe based on a broad perspective.  Here’s what has worked for me and I hope of assistance to you. Read More…

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Infographic: The Perennial Customer Revolution



by Frank Strong

Infographic The Perennial Customer Revolution - headerBellbottoms are coming back in style. It seems every few years I hear this but the retro-trend never actually seems to  materialize.  It makes for good chit chat, but beyond that such chatter, is more or less idle.

It also seems to me the same is true of customer service.  Every few years there’s a new book that forewarns of a customer revolution.  Mass media, the web, social media were all destined to change customer service. And yet it hasn’t.

Good customer service isn’t the rule, it’s an exception.

Litmus test?  Quick name five businesses you can think of with exceptional customer service.

I can get to three: Amazon, AT&T and Zappos.  And I purchased shoes online…once…from Amazon. Read More…

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The Steep Mental Exercise of Child’s Hill



by Frank Strong

The Steep Mental Exercise of Child’s Hill

The team was undefeated but race with a formidable opponent was coming up soon.  The opposition has the “home field” advantage in that the next cross country meet would be held in their town, on their 3.1 mile course, of which the last mile was virtually all uphill.

The hill had a name that would mislead the casual reader, or even, the casual runner: Child’s Hill.

For most of the season we’d been able to do what most could not: get seven runners over the finish line faster than any other team in the league.  At this next race, Child’s Hill was to be the difference, according to the opposing coach as reported in our town newspaper.

The Hardest Sport in the World

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How Airlines Like Delta Hold Parents Hostage



by Frank Strong

How-Airlines-Like-Delta-Hold-Parents-Hostage-blurred

One of the first questions I remember Delta’s website asking me when booking travel was my daughter’s age.  She’s 4.

One fact of that experience I won’t soon forget was that despite having her age, Delta assigned my daughter a seat on our flight 11 rows away.

For a mere eighty-eight additional dollars, the airline was kind enough to reassign us in a row together.  And by additional dollars, I mean on top of the $1200+ I had already spent for the trip and not counting the additional $25 baggage fee (each way) for which carriers have become notorious. Read More…

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5 Things that College Didn’t Teach Me about PR



A contributed post by Sydney Holmquist

5 Things that College Didn’t Teach Me about Public Relations

College is simultaneously the longest and shortest time period for young adults. Wanting to be done with the endless exams and thick textbooks while not really being ready for the unexpected “real world” that creeps closer by the day. The truth is though that no amount of schooling will ever really prepare you for the real world as it’s a completely different ball game.

As a public relations major in college I practiced writing press releases, read about case studies and grasped the big differences between PR and other fields such as advertising. My professors were great and I loved my classes – but it wasn’t until I started my last internship, which ended up segueing into my first job in the PR field that I began to discover the inner workings of PR.  Quickly, I realized how different it is from what you learn in school.

Below I’ve outlined 5 things that college cannot teach you about public relations: Read More…

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Visibility is a Commodity; Trust is the Ultimate Conversion



by Frank Strong

Visibility is a Commodity Trust is the Ultimate Conversion

It was the third comment this week.  The comment was vaguely related so as to give the appearance of relevance. It was also exuberant in its enthusiasm so as to pass as complimentary.  And it dropped a hyperlink.

For many that manage blogs, news sites and other online media, comments used to be welcomed as a sign of interest, engagement and resonance.  Today comments have become a part of a two-ways scourge, sometimes vitriolic and the rest simply spam.

Both varieties are useless, but the difference is remarkable.  The former is driven by passion, however misguided, and the latter is likely a service for which an unsuspecting buyer is paying. Read More…

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