Sword and the Script

Corporate America Invoking Theft of Time



by Frank Strong

Corporate America Invoking Theft of Time

Dr. Seuss once asked, “How did it get late so soon?”

People invented the concept of time, and yet our perceptions vary by personality and culture.  For example, I can assure you firsthand, the notion of time in the Middle East is very different than on the streets of New York City.  One study of security cameras from a restaurant comparing customer interactions from today, to those of 10 years ago is a remarkable record of how our sense of time has changed.

The major end items that suck our time like black hole are easy to identify: Inefficient meetings, needless “reply all” emails and the fruitless endeavor of interruption marketing. This is partly why content marketing has earned a reputation beyond mere novelty:  Content is currency brands barter in exchange for a few moments of attention…of time. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

The 5 Major PR steps to the Declaration of Independence



by Frank Strong

The 5 Major PR steps to the Declaration of Independence

We often think of the Declaration of Independence as a singular event, the starting point for the war that would ensue over the better part of a decade.

As it is history, if it is the record of life, the details are never quite as clean cut and there were a series of actions, including many with a public communications component, the played out over many years leading up to the Declaration of Independence.

Though I use the word PR in the headline of this post, public relations isn’t the right word given the grass roots and decentralized inertia.  Propaganda might have been more accurate then, but the meaning today has dwindled to mean drivel. There is clearly a communications component to several of these actions – here are five that stand out in my mind:

1. Message. “No taxation without representation,” was the colonial zeitgeist. It represented several decades – from 1740 on – of discontent with the policies of the crown to fund European wars through colonial taxation.  The gripe? The colonies, first founded by people who sought to escape repression, had no influence over the creation, governance or implementation of these taxes. For a time, the French and Indian Wars united the king and his colonist against a common enemy. A junior officer in the Virginia Militia, a young George Washington, would learn valuable warfare lessons he’d draw on as the commanding general of a revolutionary army. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

PR Pros learned to Drink Coffee from a Goat



by Frank Strong

PR Pros learned to Drink Coffee from a Goat

Son of a goat!  It can be the ultimate slur, or simply an expression of surprise, which is the case here. Who knew we learned to drink coffee from a goat?

It’s true according to the video embedded nearby, which I first spotted on Visual.ly and attributed to PhD Comics.  The reality is, comics are hard to take seriously, unless they have earned a doctorate and taken a long view of a daily habit.

Allegedly a goat header in Ethiopia observed his goats were rather spry after eating coffee beans.  Add water, boil, and the rest is history.

The video is less than 90 seconds long: Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

3 Free PR Photo Hacks



by Frank Strong

3 Visual Hacks for PR Pros

As a species, we’ve been communicating visually a lot longer than we have the written word.

Children often doodle before they learn to write. We intuitively understand a map even if the legend is written in another language. The first known written language started somewhere around 2,900 BC, while the origins of modern humans date back some 500,000 years.

I’m can’t remember who put that idea in my head – I owe them a link – but it’s stuck with me: We are genetically programmed to be visual creatures.  The research on the impact of visuals in press releases, blog posts and even tweets is nearly unanimous:  Images drive interest and that interests lasts longer.  Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Balancing PR with Content Marketing



by Frank Strong

Balancing PR and Media Relations with Content Marketing
Part of any job is choosing the right tools. For PR pros, especially those focused on media relations, the right tools also convey meaning. This is what Marshall McLuhan meant and he conveyed his messages in a book.

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman unbundles the concept:

For although culture is a creation of speech, it is recreated anew by every medium of communication – from painting to hieroglyphs to the alphabet to television.  Each medium, like a language itself, makes a possible unique mode of discourse by providing a new orientation for thought, for expression, for sensibility.  Which, of course, is what McLuhan mean in saying the medium is the message. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

A Classy and Creative Mother’s Day PR Pitch



by Frank Strong

One Creative and Classy Mother’s Day PR Pitch

There’s a mantra in PR that goes something like this: Write, edit or otherwise communicate in terms your mother can understand.  The point of course is to avoid jargon that might prevent people from understanding a message.

If mother’s are a PR litmus test, then perhaps a better question to ask is do our moms understand what PR pros do? That’s precisely the question Lou Hoffman, CEO of The Hoffman Agency posed to his mother, Ruth Hoffman, for something akin to a timely and well-conceived PR stunt.

Lou tipped his hand for his video plans in an interview the gang of The Friday Hangout in late April.  A week later he published the video shown nearby to his blog with a short post titled: Mother’s Day Special: PR Agency CEO Grills Mom on Public Relations Profession.

Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

The Brand Hashtag Hijack isn’t the Problem



by Frank Strong

brands hashtag hijack
When the NYPD decided to launch a hashtag campaign with #myNYPD the po-po organization might have been betting the campaign would be the social media equivalent of COPS – or community oriented policing services.

Instead of photos of a charitable officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots, the hashtag was flooded with images that border on police brutality: An officer (allegedly) shooting a homeless man’s small dog and an officer (with tall brass no less) pulling the hair of a handcuffed women. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Content Marketing *is* PR



by Frank Strong

Content Marketing is PR

Some of the conclusions drawn from a recent study — The Role of Content in the Consumer Decision Making Process – are missing the mark from my perspective.  

One finding from the study:

A brand new in-lab study by Nielsen, commissioned by inPowered, shows that expert content—credible, third-party articles (earned media)—is the most effective source of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories. More specifically, when measured against owned media (branded content) it showed that earned media is 80 percent more effective at the bottom-of-the-funnel or purchase consideration stage, 80 percent more effective at the middle-of-the-funnel or affinity stage, and 38 percent more effective at the top-of-the-funnel or familiarity stage.

Based on that data, the conclusion is: PR is more effective than content marketing. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

9 Timeless PR Positioning Strategies



by Frank Strong

positioning strategies PR

The word “positioning” gets tossed around almost carelessly in corporate documents, and I often feel as if the word is misunderstood (that’s foreshadowing).  Positioning isn’t what we say, it’s what people think and to that end any “position” that is coveted by brands has to be plausible, or anything brands say will be misaligned.

Gartner positions vendors in its Magic Quadrant reports along four categories: Leaders, visionaries, challengers and niche players.  Positioning as a “leader” is generally a difficult proposition because every company claims to be a leaders.  If everyone is a leader, then leadership as point of differentiation has lost its luster. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Google Beats a War Path for Guest Posts; PR Needs to Listen



by Frank Strong

Google is on a War Path and PR Needs to Tune In

Google is on a war path, it’s personal, and the company is seeking to make public examples in an effort to dissuade the behavior it’s campaigning against.  Algorithmic changes like Penguin and Panda may have extended beyond SEO and into the PR lexicon, but soon the terms “manual penalty” might as well.  A manual penalty is when Google artificially depresses the visibility of a site in search because the company believes a site is gaming its algorithm.

Yes, they can do that.  And when they do, you have no choice but to yield to its demand, or forgo the search rankings.  For most organizations, whether it’s a savvy search marketing organization or not, forgoing search isn’t a viable option.

Although there are many factors that determine search rankings – and your results for any given term are likely to be different from mine – links are still the strongest indication of relevance and value of a site.  A link is a vote of confidence and generally speaking, the more quality links a site earns, the better it ranks in search.  PR pros tend to pitch a lot of content (if you’re not, you’ve got another issue) and whether they are aware of it or not, that content often earns links.

These links really matter because for most organizations, Google is likely to be the single highest source of referral traffic to a website.  This is the sort of traffic that online marketers and SEOs dedicate their time to converting – to webinar registrations, white paper downloads and ecommerce transactions. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More
12345...1020...»