Sword and the Script

Love, Hate and a Prediction for Content Marketing



by Frank Strong

love-hate, content marketing

I have a love-hate relationship with Groupon.  I love the concept of a deal, the motivational economics of scarcity and the idea its email marketing program introduces me to purchases I might not otherwise have considered.

I hate the concept when I get more than one email per day.

One deal and one email per day – that was the promise – but somewhere along the way one turned into two or more. I haven’t kept track with a score sheet, but I’ve definitely felt a sense of annoyance with the volume of email of late.  Groupon isn’t alone, I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed a several times from both Groupon and Living Social for this exact reason. Read More…

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Fear: Why Smart People Avoid Social Media



by Frank Strong

Fear  Why Smart People Avoid Social Media

Smart people don’t avoid social media because they don’t have time; they avoid it over fear.

Why is it smart and savvy business people – especially marketers – have no social media presence?

Think the reason is time?  I suggest it’s not time at all but fear.  Why fear?  Because especially in large organizations, we’ve been classically conditioned, to avoid speaking our minds.

If we speak our mind…

  • What will our boss say?
  • What will our peers say?
  • What will our customers say?
  • What will the competition say?
  • What might the media say?
  • What will the analysts say?
  • What will the investors say?
  • What will Wall Street say?

Fear is a powerful emotion.  Which is why marketers play on it, ugly as that tactic might be.  To be clear, a little bit of fear is good — healthy even — as it keeps us safe.  Too much fear is debilitating; it clouds our judgement and in fact re-routes judgement to a primitive part of our brains.   Read More…

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Why Reporters Should Check Out Google+



by Frank Strong

Google $1,000

Google news search results results favors the bylines of writers with a Google+ profile.

I’ve been thinking about a blog post about Google’s $1,000 victory over the stock market.  I’ve got a different angle in mind, but also did some (news) searches tonight to see what else had been written. My search terms were fairly straight forward, “Google and $1,000.”  The results of that search are shown above.

As I scanned the list of results I noticed this result from Reuters for two reasons.  First, Reuters is a financial news outlet and I was specifically seeking financial analysis. Second, I noticed the byline: Alexei Oreskovic.  The name seemed familiar so I clicked the link to read and that’s when I noticed it.

This Reuters article wasn’t just by Oreskovic but was co-written by Soham Chatterjee.  However in my news search, Google was only giving credit to Alexei. Read More…

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Would You Outsource Your Native Ads?



by Frank Strong

paid media, earned media, native ads

Does it matter if you can’t tell the difference between paid and earned media?

Media outlets are hiring writers that are not journalists.  Instead these writers are hired to write advertisements, which are designed to look like news stories, for advertisers.

So reported Michael Sebastian in an AdAge article titled: Who’s Behind the Sponsored Content at BuzzFeed, Gawker, Hearst and WashPo?

It’s disruptive on so many levels – for journalism, advertising and PR. Read More…

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Off Script #4: Chris Bagley, Journalist; Goes to Law School



by Frank Strong

Chris Bagley, triangle business journal, UNC law

Chris Bagley a former reporter with the Triangle Business Journal, covered legal-services industry, transportation and utilities

Ask a reporter what’s change in journalism the in the last few years and many of them will mention more stories and less staff.  It’s a similar scoop nearly everywhere as media outlets grapple with the economics of trading print for digital.

Over the last few months, I’ve been fortunate to have gotten to know one (former) journalist, who until recently, reported for the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) based here in the Raleigh-Durham area.  In August, Chris Bagley (Twitter: @CRBags) left journalism and headed to law school at UNC.

While I’d bet he’s drowning amid the deluge of his first year, he took the time to entertain five questions I posed to him. His thoughts on how journalism has changed, the challenges, and a few suggestions fitting for either an aspiring journalist or PR pro.   Read More…

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Future of Social Media Marketing is a Path Paved in Payment



by Frank Strong

Future of Social Media Marketing is a Path Paved in Payment

What do you get in social ads for two dollars?

Successful social media marketing, if not now, then in the near future will require an investment.  Marketers are going to have to pay to play.

It’s an idea that’s been in the corner of my mind for a while and was crystalized last week when reading a post by Edelman’s Dave Armano titled: What Comes After Social?  In the post, Armano takes a brief look at five predictions for the future of marketing, but there’s one that truly compelling:

Social media increasingly becomes a paid game. Read More…

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What BtoB and AdAge Says about Integrated Marketing; Journalism



by Frank Strong

BtoB, AdAge

Yesteryear’s marketing can still be found painted on buildings in downtown Durham, NC.

Journalists don’t read marketers’ press releases and it appears to me as if marketers don’t read journalists’ press releases either.

The announcement that BtoB magazine is merging with Advertising Age in 2014 would have slipped by if it weren’t for a work colleague who emailed the link to a group distribution today. A quick search shows there’s been very little coverage of the news.

So much for the mantra that nobody watches the media like the media. This time around, nobody was watching the media…and well, maybe that’s part of the problem. Read More…

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Ultimate Marketing Secret: Happy Customers Bring Friends



by Frank Strong

ulitmate marekting secret, Happy customers bring friends

When was the last time a business thanked you for your business?

Marketers are always looking for that home run:  the killer email that fuels the click-through rate, the viral video that brings a thousand registrants in for demos, or the latest offer, that deal that’s just bound to drive foot traffic.

It rarely happens that way.  And we can spend and awful lot of energy pursuing the perfect pitch, only to find it hasn’t quite gotten the mileage we had hoped and we’ve exhausted ourselves in the process.

A better strategy is base hits.  A consistent focus on the fundamentals.  Make customers happy and they’ll tell their friends.

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2 Billion Meetings a Year are a Waste of Time



by Frank Strong

meetings are a waste of time

Meetings make many sleepy.

In the United States, educated guessers say we hold about 11 million meetings per day, which adds up to 4 billion meetings a year. Those same educated guessers, Harvard historian types, point to survey research finding people believe about half of all meetings are wasted.

Net impact?  Two billion wasted meetings a year.

The problem isn’t education or a lack of resources. There are thousands of quality results for searches on “productive meetings.” Quora’s got a bunch of helpful answers too on the topic, so long as we don’t get distracted by fascinating questions such as If a tiger fought a lion, which animal would win?  (Spoiler:  Dant.  Dant-dant-dant).

The culprit then?  Email! Read More…

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House of Cards: Emmy Win Winks at the Future of Marketing



by Frank Strong

house of cards, emmy, future of marketing

What House of Cards says about the future of marketing (photo: screenshot of Netflix’s home page on 9/23/13)

House of Cards won an Emmy award.  That matters to marketers. In a big way.  It’s winking at the future of marketing.

First, some context:

NPR reported:

This win could help Netflix establish itself as it seeks to compete for eyeballs and talent, although the cable channels dominated the Emmys – especially HBO – which racked up 27 awards, more than any other outlet.

The Wall Street Journal said Netflix made history:

The Emmy win could boost Netflix’s prestige in Hollywood as an outlet for high-quality original series…

TechCrunch set it up:

Today’s Emmy win is a strong indicator that Netflix can compete with television’s major players, even though it redefines “primetime” by presenting shows in much different ways than traditional networks. Netflix does not have linear programming and all episodes in a season are made available at once.

And a paragraph or two later provides important perspective:

For many TV critics, the premiere of The Sopranos on HBO in 1999 heralded a new “Golden Age of Television,” with cable networks launching series, such as Breaking Bad, The Wire and Mad Men, that are more narratively complex and darker in tone than previous well-received TV dramas.


Behavior modification in the making

The tech savvy marketer will be quick to point out that content consumption habits have been changing for some time:  Netflix is anything but new.  That is certainly true…but it is true only for the early adopters and perhaps some of the early majority. Read More…

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