Sword and the Script

Would You Outsource Your Native Ads?



by Frank Strong

paid media, earned media, native ads

Does it matter if you can’t tell the difference between paid and earned media?

Media outlets are hiring writers that are not journalists.  Instead these writers are hired to write advertisements, which are designed to look like news stories, for advertisers.

So reported Michael Sebastian in an AdAge article titled: Who’s Behind the Sponsored Content at BuzzFeed, Gawker, Hearst and WashPo?

It’s disruptive on so many levels – for journalism, advertising and PR. Read More…

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Off Script #4: Chris Bagley, Journalist; Goes to Law School



by Frank Strong

Chris Bagley, triangle business journal, UNC law

Chris Bagley a former reporter with the Triangle Business Journal, covered legal-services industry, transportation and utilities

Ask a reporter what’s change in journalism the in the last few years and many of them will mention more stories and less staff.  It’s a similar scoop nearly everywhere as media outlets grapple with the economics of trading print for digital.

Over the last few months, I’ve been fortunate to have gotten to know one (former) journalist, who until recently, reported for the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) based here in the Raleigh-Durham area.  In August, Chris Bagley (Twitter: @CRBags) left journalism and headed to law school at UNC.

While I’d bet he’s drowning amid the deluge of his first year, he took the time to entertain five questions I posed to him. His thoughts on how journalism has changed, the challenges, and a few suggestions fitting for either an aspiring journalist or PR pro.   Read More…

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2 Billion Meetings a Year are a Waste of Time



by Frank Strong

meetings are a waste of time

Meetings make many sleepy.

In the United States, educated guessers say we hold about 11 million meetings per day, which adds up to 4 billion meetings a year. Those same educated guessers, Harvard historian types, point to survey research finding people believe about half of all meetings are wasted.

Net impact?  Two billion wasted meetings a year.

The problem isn’t education or a lack of resources. There are thousands of quality results for searches on “productive meetings.” Quora’s got a bunch of helpful answers too on the topic, so long as we don’t get distracted by fascinating questions such as If a tiger fought a lion, which animal would win?  (Spoiler:  Dant.  Dant-dant-dant).

The culprit then?  Email! Read More…

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4 PR Fundamentals Every Business Leader Needs to Know



by Frank Strong

PR Fundamentals business

In between bites of wood, PR donkey says, “There’s a reason it’s called earned media.”

There’s a reason why the outcome of good old fashioned media relations is called “earned media.”  It’s earned. It’s not paid or given.

Earned media means we cannot choose the timing, space, presentation or language. If those are the things you are looking for…go see the advertising folks.  Bring your checkbook.

The media relations component of PR is really hard work.  Often it is slow starting but tends to be cumulative. Media earns media.

On the other hand, it can also be derailed fairly easily. I’ve seen this happen several times over my career where a business executive carries the air and expectations of a celebrity, without the credentials. A couple stubborn moves later, and the coverage is bare.

We PR pros bite our lips and try to find a way to make things work but more often than not, it’s a waste of time and money.  It is entirely avoidable.

Here are four PR fundamentals that will ensure you get the most value out of your media relations program: Read More…

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The First Tweets from 26 PR Influencers



by Frank Strong

Topsy twitter search

Topsy allows users to search tweets from as far back as 2006.

What is said on Twitter, stays on Twitter, and if Topsy has anything to do with it, that might be forever. The social media tool recently announced it will allow us to search tweets as far back as 2006.

Brian Patterson, an SEO, had the ingenious idea of searching it for the first tweets by SEO influencers. And after having some fun by retweeting the first posts by Andy Beal, Barry Schwartz and Copyblogger, I thought I’d copy that idea for PR influencers.

These influencers come from this Twitter list which I curate for the purposes of producing this PR Thought Leaders Daily on Paper.li.  While I have created this Paper.li for me, it is an amazingly good summary of what’s was chattable among the PR elite on Twitter each day. The power is in taking good care of the Twitter lists.

This list is a completely subjective list that I have arbitrarily selected. None of the names here should be a surprise, but if you feel left out, please don’t. The names are listed merely in the order in which I did the searches; there is no order of merit here. If you don’t like the list, feel free to make your own.

One other caveat:  the Topsy search I found, is not perfect.  There are a couple tweets it displayed as the “first tweet” that I suspect are not. There are some, such as my own first Twitter post, which do not appear to be searchable.  Even so, it’s fun to see what some of these folks had to say on Twitter, 4, 5, 6, and even 7 years ago.  Read More…

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Reading: Ethos, Pathos and Logos, and Aristotelian PR Primer



by Frank Strong

morning power

A powerful morning sunrise in North Carolina.

And in a week in which we poke no matter who the grammar police is.  A grammatically incorrect sentence and two spaces following a period later, we realize at the end of the week we’ve remembered the 12th anniversary of 9/11 and survived yet another Friday the 13th.

What a week of news it has been!  Have you been reading? If you have, I probably don’t have anything for you here.  But If you haven’t this post will catch you up.

1.  Aristotelian concepts of persuasion.  This is what I call a lucky find, because my reading habits have branched out and I now read trade publications for lawyers.  This has completely flipped my lid too, because the parallels between what law firms are experiencing today, and PR firms experienced five or even 10 years ago, is amazingly similar.  At any rate, my reading brought me to this post, a primer on Aristotle’s concepts of ethos, pathos and logos.  Having read Rhetoric cover-to-cover several times, I’d reckon this primer is a great way to get a grasp of ethics, emotion and logic. I’ve got more theory on marketing to emotions in this guest post. Read More…

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A Better Expression of Outrage is Silence



by Frank Strong

A Better Expression of Outrage is Silence

Brands that market to anger will only reform if they are met with silence.

The fashionable marketing strategy for apparel makers is apparently, being insensitive.

Kenneth Cole of course is the latest to create a flap by using the debate over a response to Syria’s chemical weaponry use as a vehicle by which to promote his company.  Mr. Cole quite plainly admits it.

Let’s put Syria in context: thousands of people died horrifically painful deaths after inhaling sarin gas. Many of these people were children. No matter what our country does or does not do, more people will die in that conflict.

Mr. Cole seeks sales by juxtaposing marketing messages with a tragic event.  And according to PRNewser, he does it on purpose.

That’s pretty horrible isn’t it? Read More…

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Reading: Goat becomes Raleigh-Durham Publicity Hound



by Frank Strong

Turtle puts a juke move on

You know it’s football season, when you spot a turtle putting a juke move on a fallen maple leave on the American Tobacco Trail.

It’s a little later on Saturday than I typically aim for, but here’s my weekly roundup of savory marketing and PR reading material for the week — and a weekly random photo.

1. If Googling were over. And Chrome. And Gmail.  And Google Reader…oh wait, that’s gone already.  Even so, author Ken Hammond wrote a pretty though provoking post titled:  A World without Google.

The world is forced to return to their Yahoo! and Hotmail (now Outlook) accounts they haven’t used since 2004. They go to retrieve their email passwords and realize that their backup email where their password will be sent is their Gmail.

Don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.  It’s easy to beat up on Google, but it’s a good perspective to keep in mind where things would be without the company. Read More…

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Seriously Fun Analysis: Google’s Android KitKat PR Stunt



by Frank Strong

Google Android KitKat

Chocolate robots? This is a Halloween 2013 costume for sure.

Who would have known a candy bar could make such headlines? After all when was the last time chocolate earned this level of media? I’d suggest I was chocolate covered grasshoppers – and that was a PR stunt too. Before that it was E.T. and Reese’s Pieces.

By way of quick background for those that might have missed it, Google decided to name its newest version of its Android operating system, that’s the stuff inside smart phones like the Nexus 7, after a candy bar. In this case, KitKat was the lucky brand.

 

Candy Coated Headlines

It’s been all over the news, with editors and producers everywhere writing sugar-coated headlines that play off old marketing taglines. “Break me off a piece of that,” begins ABC – while CNN writes “Android sweetened by KitKat.”

Read More…

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Delta: How the World’s Worst Brand can also Be the Best



by Frank Strong

delta worst brand

Wait! Didn’t we just see a headline saying this was the worst brand?

The first thing I remember reading last Thursday morning was a passing headline about the most – and least – respected brands.  Delta Airlines was in the headline as being the least respected brand.

Delta even got nailed by their hometown paper. The world is just unkind sometimes.  On the upside, I haven’t seen Scott McCartney write or interview about it.

I scanned the article briefly and moved on; that an airline ranks so poorly isn’t exactly earth shattering news.  Flying today is simply a miserable experience from start to finish and surely the airline has earned its reputation.

The complex industrial confluence of catastrophes that started on 9/11 have been long over, but the airlines have never looked back. Customer service is not a competitive advantage.  Not in the airline industry.

Later that night as I fortuitously boarded a Delta flight, I couldn’t help but notice the giant sticker posted on the right hand side of the aircraft door (photo nearby) which read “most admired companies.” And this year no less.  That reignited my interest in the story I read earlier.

How can this possibly be?  How can Delta Airlines be the least respected brand on in one study, and among the 100 most admired companies on another? Read More…

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