Sword and the Script

Art or Science: Creative Marketing and PR



marketing art or scienceby Frank Strong

There’s an old saying that half of all advertising budgets are wasted but marketers never know which half.  That phrase was coined long before the rich analytics the web provides — and that might lead us to believe we could figure out which half and therefore improve the results.

Certainly, there’s a science to marketing:  create, publish and analyze.  It’s experimenting and then calculating the gain or loss in visitors, page views and conversions.  And it’s true that studying data can improve results.  That’s why email marketers use A/B tests and why ecommerce specialists tweak the location, prominence and copy behind calls to action on the web.

Like most people, I’m a creature of habit.  I like process and methodology.  I like measurement.  I like data.  And I think these things are important.  But the longer I’m in this industry, the more convinced I’ve become that there is an art to marketing and PR is an under-recognized  talent.   Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

B2B Marketers Settling in for a Social Media Marathon



B2B Marketers Settling in for a Social Media Marathonby Frank Strong

Social media, and it’s role in content marketing for B2B companies, has earned its stripes.  As a marketing tactic, social media ranked second only to SEO in a new report by eMarketer, based on data from Demandbase and ZiffDavis.

The report titled, For B2B Marketers, Building Relationships Trumps Blanket Approach, points out two underlying trends:  B2B marketers are increasingly focusing their content marketing efforts on social media first, by customer needs, and second by buyer persona.

This means putting the research efforts into developing high quality relevant content aimed to fulfill (or stoke) the needs of a prospect.  It’s nurture marketing, and like SEO was intended, increasingly designed to enable buyers to seek out a company, rather than the other way around. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Bridging the Social PR Network with the IRL Network



Bridging the Social PR Network with the IRL Networkby Frank Strong

In 2012, the number of people I first met on social networks and then met in real life (IRL) grew dramatically. One observation that strikes me is how many are located in my own stomping grounds — yet I might never have met them without social networking.

In 1999 or 2000, I remember reading a news article where the central argument was people were spending more time hunkered down at their computers and less time engaging their physical neighbors next door.  I don’t believe that’s true at all, and if this list is any indication, it’s one more data point disproving that thesis.

To be clear, there’s clearly much to be said about virtual networking on the social web.  In 2012, I had the chance to connect with some really fine people online.

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Most Read Posts on Sword and the Script 2012



Most Read Posts on Sword and the Script 2012by Frank Strong

Doing an analysis on the most read posts posts of the year on any given blog is a useful exercise in as so far as it tells us what information people consumed.  TheJackB might point out that posts on our most read posts tells us about our most popular posts but may not in fact tell us which posts are best.

He’s right and I’m sure of it because the most read posts are a puzzle. We have all the information we need to analyze — Google Analytics’ Adam Singer even did the work for us — and all we need to do it put it together.  Thanks to Malcom Gladwell, I can claim there is a distinction between a puzzle and a mystery.

A mystery is forward looking — we do not have any information — and we do not know for certain what will be our most read posts in 2013. We can make inferences and forecasts from our existing data — like a puzzle, where information exists but we just need to put it together — but the fact is no one knows what tomorrow will bring.  Not even the Mayans.

Thank you to all who read this blog, who take the time to offer thoughtful comments and who engage with me on social media. Cheers and hopes for much more in 2013.  Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Seven (Mostly) Feel-Good Christmas Stories



Seven Mostly Feel-Good Christmas Stories You Might Have Missed

by Frank Strong

Amid reports of fiscal cliffs, more shootings, blizzards and tornadoes over Christmas, there were a number of stories, several of which are feel-good, but certainly all intriguing.  In-between gifts, games, and holiday cheer, I’ve taken notes on an iPhone an put this recap together.

1. It’s beginning to Reddit like Christmas.  Reddit, a popular social media site with techies, that approaches something like the confluence of a discussion board and social bookmarking, broke news this holiday season with a charitable story.  Earlier this month a father of four lamented a number of setbacks that would set the conditions for a less than impressive Christmas for his kids.  Passed over for promotion, a broken leg, a murdered brother, and a pile of bills all seemed overwhelming and the father posted his concerns on Reddit. Redditors, as users that frequent the site are called, immediately began offering help:  picking up the tab on several utility bills, buying a Christmas tree and one little stranger selflessly volunteering his Christmas presents be donated to the cause.   The site has knack for making stories go viral and it’s often monitored by mainstream journalists and bloggers looking for stories on the trend up and Mashable picked up the story in early December:  How Reddit Saved Christmas for a Father of FourRead More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Are Brands Doing Anything Good for Christmas?



Are Brands Doing Anything Good for Christmas

by Frank Strong

I bought a coach ticket on US Air, but last night I flew First Class. I don’t know how it happened; I suppose it could have been luck, randomness or even Christmas cheer.

I tweeted my thanks to @USAirways and as of the time of this writing, there’s been no response (update: they did respond!). That should not be a surprise, since 16% of businesses don’t acknowledge comments on social media — good or bad. And that’s the part that makes me think my hour-long flight in luxury was a mistake and not selflessness on behalf of an airline.

And we see this all too often in business: every change, be it to pricing, terms of service, or the space in between seats on an aircraft are made for the convenience of the business and not the customer. While I’m a die hard capitalist and disciple of Adam Smith, I have a hard time reconciling this with the very reason businesses exist: to solve problems.

Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

No Doomsday? Say Something Nice on Social Media



No Doomsday  Say something nice on social media

by Frank Strong

It’s 5:30 in the morning on Doomday 2012.  It’s dark and it’s quiet, but the world hasn’t ended.

I don’t know anyone that took this so-called Mayan prophecy seriously — certainly I did not — but it’s always useful to find a reason to be positive.  Moreover, I think we should use today as an excuse to be just that and to demonstrate it on social media.

Why?  Because there are too many rants on social media.  Too many people engage brands on social media with an air of entitlement. A couple days ago, I watched one person — who self-identified as community manager for a brand — attack another brand on Twitter and was completely wrong about the whole thing. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Terms of Service: No Way to Build a Brand



ToS is No Way to Build a Brand

by Frank Strong

It used to be that the news cycle was a grueling 24 hour frenzy but  Instagram’s quick response to crisis this week may just have just cut that cycle to 12 hours.  This may say more about social media users  than it does about Instagram; it demonstrates that while tolerance for “terms of service” have grown lackadaisical there is still a threshold.

Brief Recap
News broke on Wednesday that Instagram changed it’s terms of service (ToS) and users no longer (or never did) “own” photos they had posted using the service. Consequently,  the web began to squirm with the notion that Instagram may in fact sell rights to those photos to marketing services that might use them in promotional campaigns.  Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

NASA’s Ambassador: What a Robot Says about PR



NASAs Ambassador  What a Robot Says about PR

by Frank Strong

In government, PR must be an uncomfortable dance. The agencies that spend budget on PR are quickly dubbed as wasteful,  when the truth is, it’s a double edge sword:  communicate too little and you face irrelevance; communicate too much and you become overzealous.

NASA might be getting through by letting its robots do the talking.  The space organization has spent roughly $18 million of its $2.5 billion dollar budget, for its  Mars Science Laboratory or, what we know as the Curiosity Rover, on PR related expenses. The PR spend made the final edits in this story on Phys.org, which originated from the Los Angeles Times, where it did not.

NASA has launched three rovers starting with Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on the Martian surface in 2004.  Curiosity launched in late 2011 and made the nine-month journey through space before landing on Mars in August 2012.   In many ways, Spirit and Opportunity was a pilot test for both the science and the PR. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Why Content Marketing is the New Branding



content marketing

by Frank Strong

Note:  a variation of this post first appeared as a guest post on Copyblogger; leave a comment if you’d be interested in having me write a guest post for you! 

>>>Branding isn’t your company name.

It’s not a tag line. It’s not a logo.

Branding is creating a perception.  It gets new customers over the sales hurdle of education.  It renews loyalty with existing customers. It creates envy among the competition.

When marketers ask, “How do we want to brand this product?” what they’re really asking is how they want their audience to think about that product once it comes to market.

A brand is a promise. It’s an expectation of an experience.

The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind; they do not create it.

Brands can meet that expectation, exceed that expectation … or in the worst cases, fall short of that expectation.  In crisis, brands can lose credibility in a heartbeat; but how brands react to crisis often means more in the long run than the crisis itself. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More
«...10...1617181920...3040...»