Sword and the Script

Reading: Understand Google’s War on SEO in 1.5 Minutes

by Frank Strong

Tractor pulling a helicopter

Nothing to see here! Just a lawnmower pulling a helicopter. This happens every Saturday.

It’s a monkey suit weekend for me, so I’m out and about.  Here are four reads from the week, with a little sauce added in for a weekend morning:

1. Google’s War on SEO.  Some SEOs say Google’s on the wrong war path, and point out the inconsistencies in the company’s approach or even entertain conspiracy theories (player please!).  These claims are not without merit and certainly have had examples to prove it.  On the other hand, Google is trying to fix the index of the web.  Think about what a massively huge challenge that is for a moment and then add in the fact it involves rooting out the cyberjunk some of these players published.  “Joel” sums this up in a really brilliant post:  90 Seconds or Less: How SEO Got Into This Mess (And How It’ll Get Out).  Someone with a creative flare will turn that post into an infographic; I’d call that link-bait.   Read More…

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Off Script #3: Ian Lipner and Quiet Professionalism in PR

by Frank Strong

Ian Lipner, Lewis PR

Ian lipner is a vice president with LEWIS PR and leads the firm’s Washington, DC office

We have to listen carefully to find them, but they are out there.

The silent but brilliant minds.  These people don’t pen PR or marketing blogs, fire off dissenting opinions in comments and aren’t streaming a feed of hot content.  We won’t find them on the speaking circuit, or quoted in the trades, or promoting their latest book. They are discreet, reserved and generally getting it done for their clients with a quiet professionalism.

Ian Lipner, in my view, fits in this category. He’s a throwback of sorts, to the time when PR wasn’t the headline, quote or the story. You won’t find him online championing what’s hot now, but if you’re lucky enough to grab a quiet lunch with him in an undiscovered DC restaurant, listen carefully, because he’s been pretty darn good, by my accounting, at forecasting what’s next, and often, long before its cool.

Ian has both opened and led the DC offices of LEWIS PR, which is a sizable and growing independently owned PR firm. LEWIS PR ranked #39 and #40 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, on Paul Holmes’ list of the 250 firms, which ranks firms by revenue.

Within agency circles, and certainly in Washington, DC, Ian is a familiar name, perhaps even a frenemy of sorts to many.  For corporate PR types, I’m betting he’s the smartest PR pro you’ve never heard about.  He’s genuinely humble, polite and generally, a really decent guy.

I’ve been fortunate to have known Ian since the last time America saw a sock-puppet in a Super Bowl commercial.  In this way, I’ve seen him in multiple roles as a competitor, friend, peer, and twice the lead for my PR agency of record. Read More…

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Words: Goldman has Clients; Wells Fargo has Customers

by Frank Strong

Goldman has Clients; Wells Fargo has Customers

Are you bullish on word choice?

Somewhere between my junior and senior year of college, money grew real tight and I needed to pick up a full-time job to finish my degree.  I started working full-time, while carrying a full course load, in a secure juvenile detention facility for felonious youthful offenders.

Don’t let the youth part mislead you, some of these “kids” were pretty tough, either pending trial (so still innocent until proven guilty, but where a judge decided to remove them from the home environment), or in some cases, booted from other programs for misconduct. While they had no more freedom than their adult counterparts in the county jail, the former were called “prisoners” while the latter, the kids in our facility were “clients.”

When I started the word client struck me as an odd description for kids wrapped up in some, way, shape or form with the likes of gang violence or domestic abuse.  Over time though, I began to understand how a simple word can shape an organizational attitude, which becomes pretty important when dealing with the fragility of youth, including those accused, guilty or innocent. Read More…

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Reading: Indie PR CEOs Frown on Omnicom-Publicis Merger

by Frank Strong

Ben Franklin is attributed as saying, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  Here are some great reads (and one view) for this weekend.

1. Caturday Catvertising.  By 2015, 90 percent of the content on the internet will be about cats. You might laugh, but somehow that is nearly believable. If you work in marketing, you must watch the video nearby. If its Saturday morning and you are drinking coffee – you’ve been warned: wear a bib. Read More…

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If You Had One Wish For Marketing…

by Frank Strong

One Wish For Marketing

The genie beckons and what would you choose? (Flickr)

When I was little boy, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea about wishes.  Should I ever free a genie from a lamp and be granted three wishes, my third wish would be a wish for an infinite number of wishes.

Genius right?  Or naive greed, perhaps.  Then I grew up to not one…but two facts of life:  1) genies do not exist and 2) if they did exist, everyone else had also thought of that brilliant idea.


Want creativity?  Limit resources Read More…

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Google to Clamp Down on Press Release Anchor Text

by Frank Strong

Google to Clamp Down on Press Releases Anchor Text

Google no like anchor text in press releases (and Google has big teeth even it’s arms do look funny).

It’s been time honored advice for the better part of a decade, and maybe a little longer.  A staple of press releases in the modern media age is to hyperlink key words in the body of the release, otherwise known as optimized anchor text.

That is until now.

On Friday, Search Engine Land reported Google was cracking down on guest posts, advertorials and press releases. That the search giant has bucketed these three items together is not accidental.

This is one of the big changes that may have not been so clear for many webmasters. Google said, “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites,” is an example of an unnatural link that violate their guidelines. The key are the examples given and the phrase “distributed on other sites.” If you are publishing a press release or an article on your site and distribute it through a wire or through an article site, you must make sure to nofollow the links if those links are “optimized anchor text.”

Here’s how you create a nofollow link. Read More…

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Reading: Why Librarians Make Good Content Marketers

by Frank Strong

Why Librarians Make Good Content Marketers

Reading: There’s no shame in taking care of an itch.

The more I read, the more I find it I have to read.  Here’s some goodies I’ve come across this week:

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Off Script #2: Gini Dietrich on Business, Balance and Access

by Frank Strong


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm.

I had mentor once that used to say:  you may not remember what people say, you may not remember what people did, but you will always remember how people make you feel.

Over the years, I’ve found that to be true – and it’s true of Gini Dietrich.  I don’t really remember how or when I first bumped into Gini online, but I do remember being surprised at her responsiveness. Not just with me, but with everyone. The commenters on SpinSucks are a community onto ourselves; the “crazies” as she affectionately calls us.

Here was an influential PR pro, with tens of thousands of followers, as CEO of Arment Dietrich with a business to run, taking time to respond to individuals as individuals. It was beyond impressive – and a lots of people noticed. Gini makes you feel good, and I often wonder if that’s a talent that can be learned but not taught.

If you peruse her posts regularly, you’ll begin to pick up that Gini has had some tip-toe-to-the-edge-of-failure experiences in the business world. Even so, there was always some detail in between I had wondered about…and Gini agreed to answer the five hardest questions I could think to ask.

* * *

S&S: You’ve often written you used to work for a Top 10 PR firm.  Then you left and started your own company.  How did that evolution take place? Did one day you just decide to resign and go put out a shingle, or was this something you had been planning or something else? Spontaneous?  Read More…

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What If Warren Buffett had a YouTube Channel?

by Frank Strong

Fortune 500 Blogs

34% of Fortune 500 companies have blogs, which means 66% do not.

Warren Buffett doesn’t have a YouTube channel.  Or more accurately, his company Berkshire Hathaway, doesn’t have a YouTube channel.  One might credibly argue, the holdings company, which has recently, if not oddly, gone on a strange buying binge of print newspapers, doesn’t have much of a website either.

The venerable Mr. Buffett apparently prefers the nostalgia, and perhaps information, of newspapers over cat videos.  And who can question him? Preferred stock in Berkshire Hathaway is trading for just shy of $180,000 per share. Can you imagine?

The holdings company is alone among the top 1o companies on the Fortune 500 list that does not have a YouTube channel. This is according to a report published by UMASS Dartmouth titled: 2013 Fortune 500 Are Bullish on Social Media.  The school’s Center for Marketing research has a long tenure of such studies, including this one on the Inc. 500.

Among the findings include: Read More…

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Off Script #1: Ruby Simmons PR Pro with a #socialCV


Ruby’s application to Porter Novelli (Australia) using the controversial #socialCV hash tag on Twitter

One of the first things I did when I started this blog in early 2009, was to implement Google Analytics. Right off the bat I realized, it tends to get quite a bit of international traffic.

The US and UK rank #1 and #2 as might be expected. India ranks #3 which isn’t a surprise since I’ve connected with several PR pro from India on Twitter over the years. Canada is #4, which is also unsurprising given geography and economic ties, eh?

Then there’s Australia at #5. There are some common factors:  we speak the same language, our countries are strong allies and we have common roots in Great Britain. Even so, it struck me as rather random…why would people so far away read this little blog?

It’s the magic of the web I suppose.  The flattening world, shrinking borders, pick a cliché, but the web brings us what has become an under-appreciated benefit:  the ability to connect with people we might not otherwise meet.  This brings me to Ruby Simmons.

Until just recently, Ruby Simmons spent her last few months of college as an intern for the Public Relations Institute of Australia, or PRIA.  One of her roles was identifying and curating content – sourced content – for the PRIA blog which is what led the two of us to connect.

Having just recently completed school she’s begun her job search, which included an application under a controversial recruitment initiative by Porter Novelli.  Applicants, including Ruby had to apply using the #socialCV – a resume in 140 characters.  Unfortunately, the hash tag was hijacked by trolls, which seems rather mean-spirited to me; it’s hard enough to find gainful employment without the trolls.

In either case, she has pressed on and was informed the PR firm will follow up with her – perhaps even this week. In the meantime, we caught up by email, where she graciously answered a few of my questions for the purpose of kicking off this series. Read More…

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