Sword and the Script

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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5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure



by Frank Strong

5 Categories of Measurement for PR Pros Should MeasureThere’s an old saying in advertising that half of the budget is wasted, but marketers don’t know which half. Today, there are enough analytical tools today to avoid wasting half of the marketing spend.

The demand for measuring effectiveness in marketing is on the rise too, according to an eMarketer report titled, Execs to Marketers: Show Me the Metrics.  The report combined data from two surveys issued by three different organizations.  Read More…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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