Sword and the Script

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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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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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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History and Stock Photos: 5 Creative Public Relations Ideas



by Frank Strong

5 Creative Public Relations Ideas

Tablet accessories, history, stock photos and traffic cops.  None of these topics are especially interesting, yet all of them have provided examples of creative PR ideas for bringing those topics to life and in some cases reinvigorating a name or product long past its prime.

This blog keeps a running tab of creative ideas and here is the latest in an occasionally roundup series of some of the ideas we find most unique or inspiring.

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HARO: Good PR Pitches have a Long Shelf Life



by Frank Strong

HARO Good PR Pitches have a Long Shelf Life

By deadline, there were just four responses to query, which has posted a day or so prior.  The query was intended to gauge reaction to a survey published earlier in the week and asked simple questions:

  1. Do the survey results reflect your perspective?
  2. What advice would you offer?

Three of the responses ignored the questions and pitched interviews instead – an absent a strong point of view. The one respondent that answered the actual questions, subsequently looked me up online and sent the same pitch to a personal email account. Read More…

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The Volume of Bad PR Pitches is Out of Control



by Frank Strong

The Volume of Bad PR Pitches is Out of Control

For the first ten years of my career, I thought noisy posts from journalists complaining about PR pitches were merely self-aggrandizement.

Oh, how fun it is to be so loved.  Everyone wants to be in your column or article. Slow news day, eh?

I’ve always worked hard at understanding a reporter’s coverage and sending good pitches.  As a result, I chalked up bad pitches to one or two lazy PR people (or worse, intentionally manipulative).

My views have changed. Read More…

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4 Less Glamourous Duties of the Public Relations Profession



by Frank Strong

4 Less Glamourous Duties of a PR Pro

“We’ve done so much, with so little, for so long, we can do anything with nothing.”

It’s a maxim, borrowed from the Marines, that fits neatly in the daily grind of public relations because while it’s the last function to get a line item on a budget – PR is the first to get a call when things start heading south.

it takes three times as long to get a press release approved as it does to write a first draft

Here’s a look behind the scenes at four less glamorous duties of the public relations profession:  Read More…

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3 Easy Questions that Trip Up Media Interviews



3 Easy Questions that Trip Up Media Interviews

As the saying goes, it’s the little things that kill, and the little things can derail or trip up an interview with the media.

Media interviews are more important because they are hard to come by these days. Many reporters, even those associated with trade publications, are often required to publish upwards of six stories per day. Some can have even more. That doesn’t leave much time for examining a topic in depth.

Any PRs that blog on a consistent basis will have a special appreciation with the demands placed on members of the media.  When we do earn interest in an interview, it’s an event that can strengthen or weaken a PRs credibility in providing relevant and useful sources. Read More…

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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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