Sword and the Script

We are Number #1; a Weak Content Marketing Strategy



by Frank Strong

content marketing strategy

Every organization sets its sights on being the best – but even in the cases where it’s actually true, this is a poor content marketing strategy.

Nobody likes a chest-thumping.  In our own interpersonal communications, we go to lengths to avoid people who talk only about themselves. In the marketing context, it’s similar in that people avoid companies or organizations that only talk about themselves; there’s no value in it for customers and prospects.

Who wants to read or share a blog post on any social network by ACME Company that proclaims ACME Company is the #1 brand in widget making?  Nobody does. Read More…

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PR Winners and Losers from House of Cards



by Frank Strong

PR winners and losers house of cards

Note:  There is nothing that will spoil the show for anyone who has
yet to watch the show in this post.

Like so many people, I’ve been glued to the second season of House of Cards, or #HoC on Twitter.  Aside from NFL games or the occasional Discovery channel documentary, I do not watch much TV and do not subscribe cable television.

Yet every now and again there’s a show that sucks me in – House, MD was one – and certainly House of Cards did as well. I justify the mindlessness of watching a show like this with the rowing machine parked in front of the television, which is not a credit to Frank Underwood’s choices in exercise. Read More…

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Infographic: 25 Useful Content Marketing Tools



by Frank Strong

content marketing

With so many tools available for content marketing and social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so when the Social Times ran this infographic on their site, it caught my attention as useful for a weekend share.  PSA:  the Social Times has a fantastic email newsletter that comes out every morning and summarizes the major social media stories of the day.

Typically, I take a bite-sized approach and test out a few tools at a time.  Of the 25 tools on this list, there are four I’ve had some experience with and  here are three that I’d put my name on: Read More…

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Off Script #7: Lou Hoffman on PR and Storytelling



by Frank Strong

PR storytelling

About fifteen years ago, I met a solo practitioner at a networking event who handed me a business card that presented his title as “chief storyteller.”

I couldn’t take him seriously; I couldn’t imagine lobbying the vice president of marketing to hire a storyteller. We needed a more serious tone – pragmatic, data-driven and business-like.  A strong lede or anecdotes?  Sure, those are obvious requirements – but “Storytelling” was for Disney and fairytales; it had no place in business communications.

In the last few years, there’s been a few PR bloggers that have shifted my thinking. In particular, there’s been one that really stands out, because his content was so different.  It had perspective unlike that we find so often in the echo-chamber.  It wasn’t merely a regurgitation of already accepted beliefs, it was fresh and new thinking; I started following him and his work.

I’m not sure where I first found Lou Hoffman, though I suspect it was through a link in the curated content section of the O’Dwyer’s daily newsletter (to which I highly recommend subscribing). Regardless, over the last few years we’ve had countless exchanges and I’ve grown to truly admire Lou and pitched him on doing an Off Script interview for this series.

He agreed and what he came back with is exceptional insight and while long in form, it’s quick in reading and well worth a few minutes time investment.  He’s changed my mind on the concept of storytelling and why it’s valuable in PR. Read More…

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One Last Time…Google+ is not a Ghost Town



by Frank Strong
Google+ New York Times Claire Cain Miller

The mainstream media just can’t shake the compulsion to call Google+ a “ghost town.” It’s the type of refrain that if we say it enough times, we might start to believe it. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact the media is supposed to serve readers and playing out this story-line falls short of that goal…and they are completely missing the point of that little +.

New York Times tech reporter Claire Cain Miller was the latest to apply the ghost town label in a story in a less than loving piece published on Valentine’s Day: The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google. Her lede, which also ran on the front page of the print version, read: “Google Plus, the company’s social network, is like a ghost town.”

The story is more about search and less about social as the media — and I’m not just picking on Ms. Miller here — erroneously, perhaps ignorantly, perpetuates this notion that these two dynamics should be evaluated separately.

As of this writing, the available public information on  Ms. Miller’s Google+ profile indicates she has been circled by 23 people, has yet to post a profile photo or make a single update to the social network. PR types might remember her well-shared 2009 story on PR, Spinning the Web: P.R. in Silicon Valley [sic] which included delightfully salacious phrases such as “‘whisper in the ears’ of Silicon Valley’s Who’s Who.” Read More…

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Infographic: Facebook at 10



by Frank Strong

facebook

If there’s ever been a cliché for a love/hate relationship, for me, Facebook would fit the bill.  Some have compared it to a 10-year-old that needs a “timeout.” Still, what the company has done is impressive and probably beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

This infographic, recently published on Marketing Land, spells out why. Here are a few of the statistics that drew my interest:

  • 10 percent of Facebook profiles are fake 
  • 45 million Facebook accounts are duplicates
  • 23 million accounts on Facebook are mis-categorized — i.e. personal profiles that should be brand pages
  • 14 million accounts spread spam 
  • 30 million Facebook profiles belong to people who have departed this world Read More…
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Internal Communications Lessons from a PayPal Fiasco



by Frank Strong

paypal communications fiascoGood initiative, bad judgment.

That’s how I’d characterize PayPal President David Marcus’ message to PayPal employees leaked to VentureBeat.  His note can be summarized by his final paragraph as posted by the same publication:

In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere. A life devoid of purpose, and passion in what you do everyday is a waste of the precious time you have on this earth to make it better. [emphasis added]

“You” — not “we” or “us” — but you.  You people.  You are not like me.  I am better.  The language is alienating and likely for a group larger than the intended audience.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly.  Read More…

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5 Advanced Tips from a Facebook Advertising Playbook



by Frank Strong
facebook advertisingSince I’ve recently ranted against Facebook’s push for advertising, I thought I’d turn it around and take a fair look at effective advertising strategies. I downloaded white paper pitched by Marin Software titled The Definitive Facebook Advertising Playbook and found it to contain pragmatic advice for Facebook advertisers.

The paper outlines what the software vendor sees as four key advertising trends:

  1. Facebook’s news stream functions like native advertising
  2. User are increasingly accessing Facebook on mobile devices
  3. Social commerceengaged Facebook fans are more likely to purchase
  4. Rotating the creative aspects of an ad avoids user fatigue Read More…
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Helpful Tools: PR Salary Surveys and Calculating Your Worth



by Frank Strong

Infographic PR Salary

Generalized PR salaries according to PayScale which has an online tool to develop a custom report unique to your skills, experience, location and industry.

Every few months it seems a study is published demonstrating PR is among the most stressful jobs.  Stressful?  Sometimes, but then PR isn’t a profession, it’s a lifestyle.  According to a news piece on Ragan.com:

For the third straight year, public relations has landed on CareerCast’s annual list of the most-stressful jobs in America. For 2013,public relations manager is No. 5 on the list, inching up two spots from last year.

What is that stress worth?  According to the same report:

The media salary listed for PR manager is $57,550, which is a marked decline from last year’s $91,810. (However, it was PR executive, not manager, that made the list.) Read More…

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Personal Injury Lawyer Schools Marketers on Viral Marketing



by Frank Strong

viral marketing

Every marketer wants to go “viral” – the enduring mission to be the next Old Spice, the next Dollar Shave Club, or Oreo.  Oreo in particular is especially compelling because it segues to disruptive thinking, lawyers and the notion of viral marketing.

Most marketers wouldn’t look to a law firm for a lesson on virility. In fact, by my observation, the legal industry is mostly struggling today with digital marketing arguments the marketing industry had five or more years ago such as:

  • Are blogs social media?
  • When is the best time to tweet?
  • What is content marketing?
  • How do I use data and analytics?

In a session at LegalTech, a major industry trade show for lawyers and technology, Luke Williams a professor at NYU Stern, gave a key note speech on how to provoke disruptive thinking. The thesis? Read More…

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