Sword and the Script

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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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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