Sword and the Script

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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9 Essential Reasons to Kill a Social Media Unicorn



by Frank Strong

social-media-unicorn

Every time a “best time to post on social media” infographic is created a unicorn dies.

This post is something of a rant, but it’s also a bit of humor. Well, an attempt at humor, because generally, I’m perhaps far too serious to ever endeavor to be funny. Besides, can one have fun and rant at the same time?

The driver for this post is a two-fold combination.  First the nearby meme by WebSIGHT Hangouts that says every time a “best time to post on social media” infographic is created a unicorn dies. The second part is the growth phase that we are going through with Google+ and the “sharing of posts.”

Every time one user “shares a post” it triggers an alert that tells the other user that, well someone shared a post.  When I see these, I think oh, great, someone want to speak with me, then I click on the alert, look at the post, and realize, I’m just one of dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of people that post has been shared with.  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.”

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5 Takeaways from a Study on Social Media Sales



by Frank Strong

Social Media Sales

If you are influenced by social media to make purchases, please raise your hand!

Some 40% of social media users have made purchases online, or in stores after interacting with content on social networks. This according to a study by the Vancouver-headquartered Vision Critical titled: How Social Media Drives Your Customers’ Purchasing Decisions.

Vision Critical itself sells market research solutions and they used their own panels to interview about 6,000 people in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, over the course of roughly a year and a half.  The study looks at just three social networks in Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, so it’s a narrow scope across networks, but it takes a fairly deep look at these networks.

The study has been on my reading list for several months and I’m glad I kept the link.  Here are five takeaways that jumped out at me:

1. Men make more social purchases.  There are more women on social media, but men make more purchases. Pinterest users for example are 83% female as are 57% of Facebook users. Twitter was stand out as a male-heavy platform, where 54% of users are men. However, overall men are more susceptible to the influence of social media in making a purchase. Fifty-six percent of social-related purchases are made by men.

2. Older user base; youthful purchasing power.  It’s easy to think of social media as appealing to a younger demographic, and while that might have been true a decade ago, this survey says that’s no longer true. We’re all getting older, no? The majority of social media users across Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter fall into the 35-54 age group.  However of social media users that made social-related purchases 51% fall into the 18-34 age bracket. 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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What IT Vendors are Giving Away at Trade Shows



by Frank Strong

ILTA, Caesars Palace

The ILTA Conference was held at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. I didn’t go outside for four days while there — and this photo demonstrates why.

For those that know me, I’ve held a post the last several years that was a PR position for software company that marketed products to other marketing and PR pros; marketing to marketers to say it succinctly.  More than once it’s occurred to me that might in fact make me abnormal — it is not the same — at least in marketing terms.

Fairly recently, I’ve taken a new gig within a software business at LexisNexis and they flew a bunch of us out to ILTA — the International Legal Technology Association — Conference in Las Vegas last week (Update:  38 Posts Summarizing The ILTA Conference).  So amid the hustle that is a PR pro at a conference, I took time to peruse the trade show floor to size up what other sorts of companies were present, talk shop with the other vendors exhibiting and also to see what their marketing looked like. In other words, what are the normal marketers doing?

Here’s what I found: Read More…

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