Sword and the Script

5 Slightly Contrarian Views on a CMO Council Content Survey



by Frank Strong

5 Contrarian Views on a CMO Council Content Survey

In July 2015, the CMO Council released a report based on a content survey conducted with syndication platform Netline.  The organization published a well-written press release that drew me in and pointed to one overarching conclusion:

Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder interests.

In reviewing the actual report – Lead Flow That Helps You Grow Report – I came to different conclusions on some of the findings: Read More…

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B2B Solved the Biggest Content Marketing Challenge Yesterday



by Frank Strong

A Solution to the Biggest Content Marketing Challenge You Already Have-head

Sometimes the answers are hidden in plain sight.

Content marketing surveys consistently demonstrate the biggest barrier facing marketer is feeding the content monster.

For example, 54% percent of 1,800 respondents said, “creating engaging content” was the top content marketing challenge in the 2015 B2B Content Marketing survey by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.

Those in the content trenches, know exactly what this feels like:  We are never done.  Even as one piece goes to publication, our heads are already down on the next two or three. Read More…

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The Shocking Beef about Feeding the Content Monster



by Frank Strong

The Beef about Feeding the Content Monster

The burger business tells us a thing or two about content marketing.

We can take a spin down the main drag in most cities and towns and find a burger joint. In most cases, we’ll find two or three and often more.

There was a McDonald’s that was a hot spot at the end of the strip when I was a teenager in high school. To my astonishment, there was a Burger King surrounded by blast walls when I deployed to Iraq.  I’ve found classic burger joints along travels – for both business and pleasure – in London, Paris, Cairo and Jerusalem.   Read More…

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Market Priming: Setting Conditions for a Product Launch



by Frank Strong

Setting Conditions for a Product Launch

Two or three days into the operation, thousands of troops were just about poised to launch an especially dangerous assault across a choke-point. Getting across, and gaining a foothold would be decisive to the operation.

The ability to both maintain the momentum, keeping the enemy on its heels, while also securing critical supply routes for essentials like fuel, ammo and water were equally important.

There was a list of things – conditions to be set – prior to giving the attack a greenlight.  In the beginning, the list was short and that would change. Read More…

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Without Tension, there is No Storytelling



by Frank Strong

Without Tension there is No Storytelling

“Your company isn’t just an organization. It is a story,” according to a Storytelling Guide by Nasdaq Media Intelligence.

The paper, which is quick and easy primer on storytelling, defines a story as “a character in pursuit of a goal in the face of some challenge or obstacle.”

It seems simple enough, but corporate communications often stops with just two parts of a three-part framework – a character in pursuit of a goal.  This happens because corporate leaders tend to get hemmed up over revealing obstacles, or what Lou Hoffman often refers to as tension in storytelling: Read More…

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Fish Out of Water: Shark Week, Science and Storytelling



by Frank Strong

Fish Out of Water Shark Week Science and Storytelling

Stories are entertaining and people are hardwired to retain stories.

Journalists, PR pros and increasingly of late, marketers, are increasingly focused on telling stories as a technique for getting information across.

Fill up an article, video or presentation with compelling statistics and a few stories to go along with it – and people won’t recall the statistics, but they will remember the stories.

There’s a certain danger, or responsibility perhaps, that goes along with storytelling. The danger exists when the mix between information and entertainment – leans more heavily on theater than it does on facts.

It’s a dangerous combination Neil Postman called “infotainment.”  Entertainment gets the ratings, but we haven’t learned anything.  In fact, we might be dumber for the consumption. Postman said we were “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” Read More…

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What if NYC Made WTC BASE Jumping an Annual Event?



by Frank Strong

What if NYC Made BASE Jumping an Annual Event

In 2013 three BASE jumpers snuck into the World Trade Center in the wee hours of the morning, climbed to the top, and jumped off with parachutes.

The trio filmed the stunt, were later tracked down by authorities and charged with criminal offenses including a felony.

About two years later, in June 2015, the three were acquitted of the felony but found guilty on lesser counts. The bottom of an NBC 4 New York article summarizes the issues succinctly:

The New Yorkers pleaded not guilty to felony burglary, reckless endangerment and other charges in the leap, which was captured in a YouTube video. The stunt raised questions about security at the then-unfinished skyscraper.

The parachutists acknowledge making the jump. They said that they didn’t imperil anyone and that the charges are overreaching by embarrassed authorities.

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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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