Sword and the Script

3 Free PR Photo Hacks



by Frank Strong

3 Visual Hacks for PR Pros

As a species, we’ve been communicating visually a lot longer than we have the written word.

Children often doodle before they learn to write. We intuitively understand a map even if the legend is written in another language. The first known written language started somewhere around 2,900 BC, while the origins of modern humans date back some 500,000 years.

I’m can’t remember who put that idea in my head – I owe them a link – but it’s stuck with me: We are genetically programmed to be visual creatures.  The research on the impact of visuals in press releases, blog posts and even tweets is nearly unanimous:  Images drive interest and that interests lasts longer.  Read More…

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Infographic: The State of Native Advertising is…Confused



by Frank Strong

State of Native Advertising is confused

He may not know it, but Shel Holtz has been taking up a little space in my home for the better part of a decade. His book, Public Relations on the Net, was required reading in a graduate class in 2001.  This has made him one of my infuencers before influencer entered the popular PR lexicon.

When he recently wrote, what appeared to me an endorsement of native advertising as a tactic, it caused me to do a digital double take. This is because I believe native ads are engineered to be misleading. Read More…

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Sign of Content Marketing Times: CMO, Survey and a VC



by Frank Strong

content marketing CMO

Jeff Jones took two unusual steps among executives in large enterprises.  First, he responded.  Second, he responded with humility and grace.

As the CMO of Target, Jones was responding of course, to a Gawker story that circulated the social web last week, where an anonymous employee attacked the company’s culture.

The Target culture is very Minnesota – it’s very passive aggressive. They expect you to conform to them, to be “Targetized” and drink the Koolaid. If you aren’t super bubbly, super social and passive aggressive, you get told that you’re a problem. Being direct, wanting to actually get your work done, asking questions and pushing back are all viewed as bad things and you’ll be told to tone it down or you’ll be pushed out.

Culture is about as central to a business as its model.  As Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Read More…

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Infographic: The Biggest SEO Fear



by Frank Strong

SEO Greatest fear

Panda’s may be in need of some PR.  First the world is confused as to whether it’s more closely related to bears or raccoons and now Google has Google-bombed its namesake.

The one-time lovable and cuddly-looking species – which even has its own reality show – has seen its trademark hijacked by the mighty search engine.

The panda PR people are writing op-eds. The panda lawyers are filing claims. But nothing compares to the outrage of the panda SEO staff.  As Google rolled out Panda 4.0, all eyes were on the web to discover (h/t Danny Brown) the winners and losers.

My bank is sending me a new credit card because eBay is already having a bad week.  And then Panda 4.0 bites.  But it’s not just big business getting hit.

Rae Hoffman, one of my go-to SEO blogs, points out small businesses are getting hit too – over “false positives.” Read More…

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Balancing PR with Content Marketing



by Frank Strong

Balancing PR and Media Relations with Content Marketing
Part of any job is choosing the right tools. For PR pros, especially those focused on media relations, the right tools also convey meaning. This is what Marshall McLuhan meant and he conveyed his messages in a book.

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman unbundles the concept:

For although culture is a creation of speech, it is recreated anew by every medium of communication – from painting to hieroglyphs to the alphabet to television.  Each medium, like a language itself, makes a possible unique mode of discourse by providing a new orientation for thought, for expression, for sensibility.  Which, of course, is what McLuhan mean in saying the medium is the message. Read More…

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Infographic: The State of Content Marketing; Rich Getting Richer



by Frank Strong

content marketing divide

The content rich keep getting richer, while the content poor keep getting poorer.  That’s my observation from Eloqua’s report The State of Content Marketing in 2014.

Eloqua conducted an online survey of its marketing community.  It had 205 takers and by the looks of the demographics at the end of the report, the sweet spot seems to be mid-level managers in businesses with a couple hundred employees.  However, there’s another factor in demographics that makes the findings especially interesting. Read More…

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Branding Heroin: Why Marketers Love Verbs and Lawyers Do Not



by Frank Strong

Heroin as a Brand Why Marketers Love Verbs and Lawyers Do Not
Been Googling branding lately?  If you do, there’s a good chance your search will reveal this post I wrote and Copyblogger published in 2012. My point in bringing that up isn’t to brag, it’s to broach a discussion about lawyers, marketers, branding and trademarks.

I didn’t start this post by asking if you searched for content about branding on a search engine with intention.  Instead I asked, as so many of us commonly do, if you found it by using Google’s trademarked name as a verb.  For marketers, a brand that becomes a verb is a sign of success, but for lawyers it spells risk.

That was the subject of a Marketplace story this evening titled: The English language is one big brand graveyard.  Indeed it turns out – Heroin was actually a “branded form of morphine” at one time.  So too were Aspirin, Escalator and Trampoline, according to the same story: Read More…

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A Classy and Creative Mother’s Day PR Pitch



by Frank Strong

One Creative and Classy Mother’s Day PR Pitch

There’s a mantra in PR that goes something like this: Write, edit or otherwise communicate in terms your mother can understand.  The point of course is to avoid jargon that might prevent people from understanding a message.

If mother’s are a PR litmus test, then perhaps a better question to ask is do our moms understand what PR pros do? That’s precisely the question Lou Hoffman, CEO of The Hoffman Agency posed to his mother, Ruth Hoffman, for something akin to a timely and well-conceived PR stunt.

Lou tipped his hand for his video plans in an interview the gang of The Friday Hangout in late April.  A week later he published the video shown nearby to his blog with a short post titled: Mother’s Day Special: PR Agency CEO Grills Mom on Public Relations Profession.

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Infographic: Navigating Facebook Organic Reach



by Frank Strong

facebook organic reach header
For every hundred fans a brand page has earned, just two will see status updates organically. Organic means those views that come naturally through the new stream, without paying Facebook to advertise content posted to a brand page.  What’s clear is there is a decline in Facebook organic reach.

For many brands, Facebook’s aggressive moves to generate advertising revenue, has reduced the value of Facebook as a platform and they feel as if it’s a bait and switch.  Jim Tobin might agree – and his company Ignite Social Media represents many large brands.

“The large corporations I talk to are very frustrated with Facebook and are re-evaluating their investments,” he noted in an “Off Topic” series interview for this blog. “It was very valuable when you had organic exposure that could be boosted with paid. As the organic evaporates, the value prop changes.” Read More…

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