The year of 2016 brought a fairly significant evolution for this website. In May 2016, the blog Sword and the Script became the digital foundation of an Atlanta-based PR and marketing agency: Sword and the Script Media, LLC.
After seven years of blogging, and 570+ posts, this struck me as a natural progression. Rather than start over with a new name, new URL and zero weight in the search index, I added a menu bar across the top with services, background and a news tab.
I kept blogging too. Notably, the transition to self-employment has enabled – perhaps even demanded – me to improve the quality and increase frequency from publishing just once per week to twice a week. Improvements included:
- A thoughtful weekly roundup called Unscripted Marketing;
- A re-invigorated Q&A series called Off Script; and
- The addition of a separate and dedicated email newsletter – the Monthly Scripts.
The 7 Best Performing Posts in 2016
While the analysis below is based on views, it’s worth noting visitors spent upwards of five minutes with these posts this year. That is a substantial amount of digital time. In fact, time-on-page grew by 16% this year, which I’ve come to believe is a useful measure of quality.
1) 3 Strategic Ways to use Press Releases for Meaningful Influence. Think press releases are dead? You might be doing it wrong. This post earned more than 2,000 social shares.
2) PR Salary: What’s a PR Pro Worth in 2016? Salaries say a lot about how a business values communications. The 2016 salary survey by PR Week was a big hit. This piece was syndicated on Ragan.com and ranked #5 on the top stories that site published in 2016.
3) The Facebook Frozen Frog and Fodder for Content Marketing. This is one of those blog posts I banged out in a moment of inspiration. Published in February 2016, it is still getting near daily shares some 10 months later. Coincidentally, readers spent an average of seven minutes with this piece.
4) Media Relations: Proven Ways to Get More Out of It. PR is the best-kept secret in content marketing. This post explains why.
5) 11 Shrewd PR and Marketing Predictions You Can Bank On. Did these come true? You be the judge.
6) Survey says PR Best Positioned to Manage Corporate Social Media. Social media fit well in the PR workflow, though a digital skills gap remains.
7) Switching PR Firms: The High Cost of a Steep Learning Curve. When institutional knowledge walks out the door of a business, the costs to the business are very high.
The 7 Worst-Performing Posts in 2016
Performance is a relative benchmark because improvement is a continuous process. None of the posts below performed poorly per se, they just didn’t perform with the same success as the best performing pieces.
It’s a bit of the paradox too. While many of the “worst performing posts” are from my weekly roundup column, the data clearly tells me that new theme has contributed to the overall success of the blog.
1) Social Sharing Fills Different Needs than Search; Unscripted Marketing. People search for answers but share to look good.
2) Unscripted Marketing Links: Moms, Lead Forms and Long Form. One of the first pieces for this theme; the links are good, but the mashup left something to be desired.
3) Quality Content: Devices, Sales and Crisis; Unscripted Marketing Links. Here’s a close look at what quality means in content.
4) Service Management: Lesson for Martech from IT Operations [UML]. History repeats itself and it’s happening in Martech.
5) The Audience Gets a Vote in Paid Social; Unscripted Marketing Links. Even if you pay for advertising space or promotion, business communications today is a loop.
6) Google Hangs Up on Popups and Hangouts [UML]. Google is making the word “interstitials” a household word.
7) Kindred and Skeptical: Personas that Buy PR Firm Services. Who buys PR firm services? This covers an interesting bit of research.
My 7 Favorite Blog Posts from 2016
Although many of these posts did perform well, the only metric for the inclusion here is my predilection.
1) Game Theory: Content Marketing as an Infinite Game. Big thinking from Simon Sinek. This piece inspired me to add Start with Why to my collection of audiobooks.
2) The B2B Advantages of Working with a Boutique PR Firm. It’s not about price, but value.
3) 11 Simple Ways for PR to Score Content Marketing Points. A lot of B2B content goes unused. Here’s how to change that.
4) Repurpose Does Not Mean Regurgitate in Content Marketing. This builds on a notion mentioned in the above.
5) Influence or Popularity? Examining Influencer Marketing. It’s a question that demands revisiting every few years.
6) How to Get the B2B Marketing Persona Right [UML]. If you are trying to get your arms around buyer personas, this good place to start and links to additional resources.
7) Marketing Strategy: The Looming Knowledge Crisis. This is one of my predictions for 2017.
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Thank you for your time and attention in reading throughout 2016. I’ll continue to work hard at this to make it worth your while in 2017 as well. Happy New Year!
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One Prediction Each for PR, Content Marketing and Social Media
Photo credit: Gerrit Dou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons