Sword and the Script

PR Pros learned to Drink Coffee from a Goat



by Frank Strong

PR Pros learned to Drink Coffee from a Goat

Son of a goat!  It can be the ultimate slur, or simply an expression of surprise, which is the case here. Who knew we learned to drink coffee from a goat?

It’s true according to the video embedded nearby, which I first spotted on Visual.ly and attributed to PhD Comics.  The reality is, comics are hard to take seriously, unless they have earned a doctorate and taken a long view of a daily habit.

Allegedly a goat header in Ethiopia observed his goats were rather spry after eating coffee beans.  Add water, boil, and the rest is history.

The video is less than 90 seconds long: Read More…

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Off Script #8:  Mitch Joel, How a Period Begins a Conversation



by Frank Strong

 

The period used to be the end of the story. Period.  End of story.

Today, it’s just the beginning.

In many ways Mitch Joel has built a business around this concept and recently he (and his partners) sold that business to WPP.  There may have been a period or two in the acquisition agreement, but again the conversation is just getting started.

Typically, Off Script interviews are conducted by email, but this will be the first conducted by Google Hangout. Moreover, I asked Mitch – a blogger, author, podcaster, speaker and entrepreneur – for 15 minutes and he ended up giving me about 30. Read More…

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Infographic:  Content Marketing Strategy Conundrum



by Frank Strong

Content Marketing Strategy Conundrum

If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there as the old adage says.  The challenge for many businesses is they do know where they want to go, but they aren’t sure – or there isn’t consensus – on how to get there.

Conceptually, strategy is pretty simple and follows a logical flow:

1. Business strategy first
2. Then marketing strategy
3. Then functional strategies, like content strategy

Ideally, each child strategy is nested with the parent. In reality, strategy is far more complex, requires research and the time to metabolize that research into meaningful and executable plans of action. Read More…

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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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