Sword and the Script

Symphony of Gates and a Healthy Debate Over Gated Content



Should We Gate Our Content

It’s a question as old as the web – should you gate your content?

It appears that most marketers do and reported gating “80% of their major content marketing assets” according to a survey vetted by MarketingProfs.  The same study points out there’s some content – infographics for example – is rarely gated.

There are credible – and often very passionate – arguments on both sides of the debate but the answer that’s right for an organization probably varies. It depends on the goals across the content marketing spectrum – is the content intended to attract, convert or retain customers? Read More…

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Marketing as a Bona Fide Profit Center



Marketing as a Profit Center-header

The party room rivals any I’ve seen in the local area.  It comes with four slides, a handful of forts, some bridges, a climbing wall, several swings – and enough space for a whole bunch of kids and one heck of a birthday party.

It’ll cost parents about $200 on to reserve the room for a birthday party on a weekend, though it’s less expensive on a weekday.  I can personally attest to the fact the pricing is very competitive with other options for hosting parties in the local area.  Most importantly, Rainbow Play Systems of North Carolina is more than accommodating, based on my conversations with parents and customers.  Read More…

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4 Creative PR Ideas for Crisis Communications



4 Creative PR Ideas for Crisis Communications-Chevy-Tweet

Constraint breeds creativity.  It may seem counterintuitive, but the ingenuity of deftly navigating the most difficult of binds goes to show PR is often as much about problem solving as it is communication.

Corporate crisis communications provides a demonstration because there are very clear constraints:

  • Unknown unknowns – the effort to understand what is happening
  • Time hacks – crisis PR demands speed
  • Dichotomy – substantial pressure to credibly refute or validate

1. Chevy embraces the truck.

As a Chevy spokesperson Rikk Wilde’s job was to present a new truck to San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.  As a corporate sponsor this was Chevy’s big moment to showcase some of the finer points about the vehicle they were about to handover to the World Series MVP.  It was an awkward presentation through and through, but at one critical moment, Mr. Wilde noted the new Chevy Colorado, “…offers class-winning and -leading, um, you know, technology and stuff.” Read More…

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Kevin Spacey: Conflict as a Marketing Counter Narrative



Conflict as the Counter-narrative of MarketingThe story is everything, but conflict is everything to the story.

So says Kevin Spacey who was the key note speaker of the Content Marketing Institute’s annual conference and CMI released this highlight video in an email today. The video is embedded below and well worth the five minutes it takes to watch it.

Though he can clearly pronounce the term “GIF” correctly, I’m not sure he knows much of anything about content marketing.  He does appear to have a grasp of storytelling and insofar as that’s a foundation of content marketing, then his ideas are interesting. Read More…

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Study: Big Companies Lag at Blogging, Social Media



Study Big Companies Lag at Blogging Social Media

I’ll beg Dr. Barnes to forgive me the editorial liberty I’ve taken with this headline, but that’s my takeaway after finally reading the UMASS Dartmouth Study: The 2014 Fortune 500 and Social Media: LinkedIn Dominates As Use of Newer Tools Explodes.

My interpretation of the results are completely different than those of the researchers who concluded:

“The 2014 Fortune 500 has now fully embraced new communications tools that have taken so many other sectors by storm.”

“These giant corporations are demonstrating an interest in experimenting with new tools.”

“This is a group that now seems comfortable and even excited with its newfound ability to engage its vendors, partners, customers and others in ways that could not have been imagined when most of their corporations began.”

With apologies to Dr. Barnes again, I just don’t see that in the data. I see tepid interest in small pockets of consumer oriented businesses among the Fortune 500. My frame of reference is in knowing what is possible, as compared to what is demonstrated. Read More…

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Super Original Thinking is Required to Topple Facebook



Super Radical Thinking is Required to Topple Facebook

Market research, social engineering and a little bit of luck seemed to produce a spate of so-called “boy bands” in the late 1990s. It was a radical, if not unpalatable idea, that hit artists could be fabricated rather than discovered.

It became a formula that underscores how much closer the entertainment community is to social science than it is to art.  It wasn’t a new concept, but it was the one that turned heads the most, since a time when Levitttown first placed that oh, so perfect tree.

The Truman Show, Minority Report, the Matrix – take your pick, or perhaps take your pill, but this is our world online.  It’s given to us in the name of relevancy because your friends that liked this post, also liked this post. Read More…

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Study: Effective Content Marketing Has One Element



Study Effective Content Marketing Has One Element

Walk with me for a moment – to about 30 years ago.  The setting is the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains and Mike Seaver’s teacher had found – after the conclusion of an exam – that Mike had written out answers to the test on the bottom of his sneaker.

In pleading his case to his parents, Mike claimed while he admittedly planned to cheat on the test, he didn’t have to actually cheat.  In other words, during the process of writing out the answers on his sneaker, he had internalized the answers and could recall them from memory.  He rattled off a bunch of answers to prove his point.

It was the 5th annual B2B Content Marketing Survey which conjured up that memory – from perhaps a more frightening part of my mind.  The study, which is co-produced by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, surveyed 1,820 marketers and had one overarching conclusion: Read More…

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Should PR Pros Sign up for Ello?



Should PR Pros Sign up for Ello -2

If a life immersed in technology seems to be getting faster, it’s not just that technology enables us to be faster, but the process of creating faster technology is getting faster.

“Today a kid in a garage can start a company, that goes viral and can touch a billion people,” as one technologist put it eloquently recently.

Ello is a great example. The social network shed obscurity, scrambled to adjust to sudden growth – to the tune of a reported 45,000 requests to join an hour – and experienced a PR backlash in the span of just a few days. Read More…

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Company Bites Journalists…Again



Company Bites Journalists

Think the media won’t cover your product?  Well then, you’re just not thinking outrageously enough.  It’s very easy to do, but will require some steely nerves the first few times you try it.

There’s a secret trick that marketers of apparel love to use.  It’s guaranteed to score ridiculous amounts of coverage.  Ready for it?

1. Be offensive and distasteful. 

Create an advertisement that you are 100% certain most people will find hideously offensive; where possible, be slightly prejudice, sexist, or distort a historical tragedy for capital gain. It’s important to be only slightly wrong for the purpose of plausible deniability that you’ll need later. Read More…

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Good Customer Service is Good Marketing



Good Customer Service is Good Marketing

When customers have great experiences with businesses something magical happens:  They tell other people.  In this way customers are a little bit like money in that it usually takes some to make some more.

For a couple years now, and perhaps longer, my sister and brother-in-law have purchased a subscription to the Cellars Wine Club as a Christmas gift for me.  Each month the company ships out two bottles of wine – with an accompanying one page summary of each wine describing the origins and making of the wine being shipped.  Read More…

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