Sword and the Script

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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Consider your social media identity carefully



Note:  the following is a guest post by Michele Hudnall.  Michele and I worked together several years ago for a company that developed and popularized a concept for IT operations management, known as Business Service Management or BSM.  Today, she runs the BSMHub, and contributes to a related corporate blog for NetIQ.

          >>> Years ago, I would never have thought I was starting my social media journey and baby steps to a social media identity.  After today, I am reflecting on how we mature through our social identity, just as we do in life and as with life, change is HARD!!  To those who have scoffed the use of Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Google+, and others, I’m here to say the world is growing smaller due to social media connectivity and conversations.  I have now closed a seven figure software deal that started with a tweet – a mere inquiry for information, a call with me to sort it out and in less than four months, the deal was closed.  This may seem like a two year journey – from tweet to deal – but really it has evolved in maturity over a longer period of time.

I know my friend, who publishes this very blog, Frank Strong, reads this with a smile – he was an early adopter and mentor who pushed me hard to participate in the conversation in circa 2007.  Moreover, what I have discovered this week is that my roots go back even further.  Read More…

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Trough of Disillusionment: the Content Marketing Backlash



by Frank Strong

If content marketing was a technology, Gartner might say it has entered the “trough of disillusionment.”  Ironic that even while those that point out the flaws, they will also continue to embrace the concept in practice.

What started as a charge against the dark result of a system, became a system in need of desperate repair, emerged as an analysis of a debate and settled nearly to where it was placed before it had started.

I have no intention of moving the debate; I’m merely going to state what’s I see from the trenches.

Is there a lot of lousy content on the web?  You bet.  Are good content ideas at a premium and bad content ideas plentiful?  No doubt.  Should we toss the entire concept aside and wait for the next wave to ride?  I don’t think so.

And I don’t think so because I don’t believe content marketing is a fad, I believe it represents an actual evolution: content marketing is the new branding.  This is reflective of the fact that people are distracted, nose-in-the-phone busy, and do not have the attention span for interruptions.  It has become increasingly harder, and vastly more expensive, to buy people’s attention.

Instead we have to earn their attention and content marketing is the path to that end.  Moreover, some very sizable companies, with reputations for marketing excellence, are pouring resources into the concept. Read More…

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