Sword and the Script

A PR Firm’s Excellent Pitch for Paid, Earned, Owned and Shared



A PR Firm Excellent Pitch for Paid Earned Owned and Shared

It’s one thing to pitch an eBook, but it’s a well-executed marketing initiative to exemplify the very concepts described in the eBook during the process of pitching it.

That’s my take on a marketing campaign that Shift Communications is running to promote an eBook: Paid Earned Owned Shared: The Media Recipe for Audience Conversion. Read More…

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The Marketing Value of Twitter Centers on Earned Media



The Marketing Value of Twitter Centers on Earned Media

Twitter made a number of advertising product (or inventory) announcements recently including a plan to sell ads on other websites. In a CMO round up, Wall Street Journal advertising reporter Steven Perlberg summed it up like this:

…Twitter has made the case that there is a large audience of people who see its content around the Web, but who aren’t actually registered to use the social media service. This is one of the arguments the company has played up to soothe the once-besotted investors worried about its growth prospects. But now, Twitter is readying plans to bring in dollars from those viewers: it wants to sell ads on the streams of tweets within other publishers’ apps and websites…

Certainly Twitter has a good case – there is undoubtedly a sizable audience that lurks on Twitter – and measuring the outcome of such visibility is challenging.  However the pursuit to “soothe the once-besotted investors” by showcasing what amounts to reach drowns out one of the things that makes Twitter so different from any other social ad option (especially Facebook):  It combines earned and paid. Read More…

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Avoid the Noid: A Mascot that Became a PR Crisis Case Study



PR Crisis Case Study

The freakish mascot McDonald’s unveiled to pitch its Happy Meal this year landed #6 on AdWeek’s 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014.  It also proved, in part, a useful segue in a recent Marketplace story about another mascot by a separate fast food franchise – the Domino’s Pizza Noid:

In the late 1980s, the Noid was pizza’s worst enemy. He made pies arrive cold, late or crushed, with cheese stuck to the top of the box – at least that’s what Domino’s ads would have you believe.

Domino’s could “avoid the Noid,” delivering hot, fresh pizzas in 30 minutes or less. The Noid ads were a huge success, spawning toys and even a video game.

But it all came crashing down in 1989, when the Noid suffered what may be the worst PR disaster in history. Zachary Crockett has written about the Noid for Priceonomics, and he tells us the strange, sad story.

The worst PR disaster in history?  Really? Read More…

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Warren Buffet Underscores the Value of Reputation



Warren Buffet Reiterates the Value of Reputation

It may be hard to quantify the value of a reputation but it sure is meaningful when one of the world’s most prominent financiers says it’s important.

Reputation was a key message billionaire Warren Buffet conveyed in “biennial” memo to his leadership team – the 80 or so business people that run the subsidiaries of Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company.

The Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat blog embedded a copy of his memo which reads:

“We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money.  But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.” We must continue to measure every act against not only what is legal but also what we would be happy to have written about on the front page of a national newspaper in an article written by an unfriendly but intelligent reporter.

Read More…

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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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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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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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Are Trade Shows still a Good Place for PR Launches?



by Frank Strong

Are Tradeshows still a Good Place for PR Launches

One hundred and forty seven.

That’s the number of pre-trade show pitches one blogger told me he had received in a side bar conversation last week. For the most part, he runs his blog like a traditional news site, clearly has good industry contacts and always winds up involved in a couple of sessions.

The blog is an industry staple, he’s plugged into the community and his name always winds up on industry conference media lists. The PR pitch deluge inevitably follows. Read More…

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How to Get Ahead for the Young PR Account Executive



by Frank Strong
How to Get Ahead for the Young PR Agency Account ExecutiveThe salary would be a pay cut.  At $15,000 less than what I had previously earned that would translate to a difference of about $800 less per month.

In an expensive city like Washington, DC, $800 was about what I paid in rent on my basement apartment.  The cut would hurt and I’d spend the next year or so living paycheck-to-paycheck, sweating the credit card bills and student loans I had racked up in graduate school.

On the upside, this would be my first real gig at a tech PR agency.  It was my ticket into an industry where the perennial phrase “PR agency experience preferred” finds its way onto corporate public relations and PR agency job listings alike. Read More…

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