Sword and the Script

Techniques for getting Leaders Involved in Content Marketing

leaders content marketing


by Frank Strong

Marcus Sheridan wrote an ever green post this week that content marketing success often hinges on management involvement.

“If your company CEO and/or management team do not fully embrace content marketing, your efforts to find massive success online and have a cultural transformation will very likely fail.” – @TheSalesLion

He’s right of course, active leadership in many cases personifies a brand. Personification makes brands more likeable.

Big companies personify their brands all the time: Progressive has Flo, Allstate has Dean Winters, GEICO has a gecko. The little green guy talks like a person, walks like a person, and complains about coffee like a person.

I’d point out too that these personalities are examples of integrated campaigns where paid media leads to earned media as well: Who is Flo? Is she getting more progressive? Is Flo going anywhere? Is Flo social? Yes. You can find Flo on Twitter.

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If Everyone Owns Social Media…

If Everyone Owns Social Media

Photo credit: Flickr

If everyone owns social media, then no one owns social media.

Ever work on a condominium committee? Everyone is an owner and little gets done.

Ownership is a strong word, especially for social tools, which are often credited with having a democratizing effect on the web.  However, using it successfully requires leadership and decisiveness.

Writing on the SHIFT blog, Chris Penn, classifies the question as silly. His answer?  Whoever can use it to help build your business, that’s who.

Penn’s thoughts mirror my own, though I’d further qualify social media as a role for the do-ers.  There’s a difference between those that talk and those that do.  Social media needs a champion to weave, both the tactics, and the teams together.

This question is old, it has its old critics and old champions.  It’s also new, with new research, that attracts view points from multiple angles.  But it never fails to unleash a firestorm of opinions that range from rants to disinterest. Read More…

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6 Creative PR Ideas for Blended Media

by Frank Strong

6 Creative PR Ideas for Blended Media

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

In marketing and public relations, creativity is often more art than science. One way to get ideas is to keep an eye out for them. They say it takes money to make money, and in many ways, ideas work the same way: good ideas lead to more good ideas.

Below are six creative PR ideas, and the one aspect I’d like to highlight, is that almost all of these incorporate a blend of media.  Even as the distinction between marketing and PR has grown blurry, so too has the distinction between paid and earned media.

These ideas incorporate paid media (advertising), with shared media (social), to produce earned media (traditionally, PR). One or two of these also included owned media (blog or website). These six ideas are outputs — the evidence that silos are breaking and that integrated marketing is more than an (old school) buzzword.  However it’s also changing the environment in ways we might not have anticipated, or even like, but there’s no doubt success will require responsiveness to change. Read More…

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PR Acquisition Analysis: Market Opportunity in Raleigh-Durham

Big PR Firms Raleigh Durham

by Frank Strong

Warning:  this is a long post, but I’ve put a lot of research, thought and time into it; hope you find it useful. 

Sometimes to grow a business you’ve got to expand the boundaries.  That’s exactly what PR firms have been doing the last few years.

Just this week Richard Edelman embraced paid media — a smart move because the PR trend is moving in that direction.  I agree with him. Completely.  PR is not smoke and mirrors and it can be clearly defined.

Successful digital promotions strategies will incorporate a combination of both earned and paid but also owned and shared media tactics.

To those that are editing out PR from their titles, I’d advise caution, because this isn’t about PR looking more like marketing, instead, it’s about marketing looking more like PR.  Agree or not, surely we can find common ground in the fact that the changes are happening are in an effort to grow.  That’s why we are in business. Read More…

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Trials and Confessions of a Facebook Faker

Trials and Confessions of a Facebook Fakerby Frank Strong

Last August a Facebook financial filing disclosed that 8.7% of accounts on Facebook, or 83 million were fake or duplicate.   Over the years, Facebook has earned coverage for having more users than than most countries have people. The U.S. for example, has about 300 million people which is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1 billion users.

Still 83 million is a sizable number — its about the same size as the population of Egypt as Mashable pointed out.  It’s also larger than the country populations of  Germany, France and the U.K.  Facebook says it shuts down some 20,000 accounts per day which all boils down to  the fact there’s a lot of fakers.

I should know.  I was one of them. Read More…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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