Sword and the Script

The PR Road Less Traveled: In-House to Agency Life



by Laura Spaventa

PR In-House to PR Agency
Note:
  The following is a guest post by Laura Spaventa who recently transitioned from working an in-house gig in PR to working for a firm.  By my observation, few PR pros are able to make a switch like this as agencies often note “PR firm experience preferred” in job postings. Laura and I once worked together.  

When I graduated college in 2009, I had planned on working for a PR agency. Little did I know, the economy had other plans for me. Fortunately, I was introduced to Peter Shankman, the founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and became one of the original editors of the newsletter.

Once Vocus acquired HARO, I found my way to the company’s in-house PR team. However, I still had an itch to work for an agency, which led to my current role at LaunchSquad, a PR firm specializing in servicing startups with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Boston. I recognize my PR career has been a little backwards (I’ve never been good at following ‘the norm’) and I have a few tips for PR professionals who are looking to make a similar transition. Read More…

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Why the Deluge of Content Raises Standards



by Frank Strong

Why the Deluge of Content Raises Standards

The proliferation of content marketing has led some pundits to criticize the quality: it’s challenging to consistently conceive ideas, write and publish content of uniform high-quality.

If that problem exists, then suffice to say it’s not a new issue, though it may be new to those who are new to publishing. For example, the same issue occurs in journalism and in the publication of scientific research. Read More…

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Infographic: LinkedIn’s study on Job Satisfaction



by Frank Strong

job satisfaction
There’s an old saying that people don’t leave a job, they leave a boss.

A LinkedIn infographic, I first spotted on Entrepreneur.com, seems to say the opposite. “Relationship with managers” is ranked as the one of the “least important factors that will get professionals to accept a new job.” The data is almost completely at odds with my own personal views, though it may also be the difference between accepting a new role — and staying in an existing job, which while related, would change the context of a survey question.

 The infographic cites three of the least important factors as:

  1. Job title
  2. Office location
  3. Relationship with managers Read More…
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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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