Sword and the Script

Most Read Posts on Sword and the Script 2012

Most Read Posts on Sword and the Script 2012by Frank Strong

Doing an analysis on the most read posts posts of the year on any given blog is a useful exercise in as so far as it tells us what information people consumed.  TheJackB might point out that posts on our most read posts tells us about our most popular posts but may not in fact tell us which posts are best.

He’s right and I’m sure of it because the most read posts are a puzzle. We have all the information we need to analyze — Google Analytics’ Adam Singer even did the work for us — and all we need to do it put it together.  Thanks to Malcom Gladwell, I can claim there is a distinction between a puzzle and a mystery.

A mystery is forward looking — we do not have any information — and we do not know for certain what will be our most read posts in 2013. We can make inferences and forecasts from our existing data — like a puzzle, where information exists but we just need to put it together — but the fact is no one knows what tomorrow will bring.  Not even the Mayans.

Thank you to all who read this blog, who take the time to offer thoughtful comments and who engage with me on social media. Cheers and hopes for much more in 2013.  Read More…

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Why Content Marketing is the New Branding

content marketing

by Frank Strong

Note:  a variation of this post first appeared as a guest post on Copyblogger; leave a comment if you’d be interested in having me write a guest post for you! 

>>>Branding isn’t your company name.

It’s not a tag line. It’s not a logo.

Branding is creating a perception.  It gets new customers over the sales hurdle of education.  It renews loyalty with existing customers. It creates envy among the competition.

When marketers ask, “How do we want to brand this product?” what they’re really asking is how they want their audience to think about that product once it comes to market.

A brand is a promise. It’s an expectation of an experience.

The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind; they do not create it.

Brands can meet that expectation, exceed that expectation … or in the worst cases, fall short of that expectation.  In crisis, brands can lose credibility in a heartbeat; but how brands react to crisis often means more in the long run than the crisis itself. Read More…

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Trough of Disillusionment: the Content Marketing Backlash

by Frank Strong

If content marketing was a technology, Gartner might say it has entered the “trough of disillusionment.”  Ironic that even while those that point out the flaws, they will also continue to embrace the concept in practice.

What started as a charge against the dark result of a system, became a system in need of desperate repair, emerged as an analysis of a debate and settled nearly to where it was placed before it had started.

I have no intention of moving the debate; I’m merely going to state what’s I see from the trenches.

Is there a lot of lousy content on the web?  You bet.  Are good content ideas at a premium and bad content ideas plentiful?  No doubt.  Should we toss the entire concept aside and wait for the next wave to ride?  I don’t think so.

And I don’t think so because I don’t believe content marketing is a fad, I believe it represents an actual evolution: content marketing is the new branding.  This is reflective of the fact that people are distracted, nose-in-the-phone busy, and do not have the attention span for interruptions.  It has become increasingly harder, and vastly more expensive, to buy people’s attention.

Instead we have to earn their attention and content marketing is the path to that end.  Moreover, some very sizable companies, with reputations for marketing excellence, are pouring resources into the concept. Read More…

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Six take-a-ways from Marketing in the Round

by Frank Strong

Integrated marketing has been the Holy Grail for marketing since I started working in the industry.  It was popular a decade ago, and even a decade before that.  For some reason, the concept ebbs and flows like the fashion of bell bottom jeans.

Why hasn’t the concept stuck?  It’s logical, practical, and more importantly effective.  The term “integrated marketing” may not be sexy but for me, it brings a sense of nostalgia, yet the overlap in marketing functions we’ve seen as companies increasingly adopt social media, causes me to believe that maybe this time…this time it’s real.

Marketing in the Round is about integrated marketing in a digital media age and it’s a straight forward, no-nonsense read, perhaps the result of two pragmatic marketers teaming to write the book. If you are new to marketing or PR, you should put this on your reading list; if you are a veteran, its chance to step back and re-think marketing strategy.  Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston launch the book earlier this year, and though it took me a while to sit down and focus on reading, I finally got it done on a plane ride to vacation – and wrote this on the plane ride back.

Here are my six take-a-ways: Read More…

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The future of social media is email

by Frank Strong

Did you check your mailbox today?  I don’t mean email, I mean your 100% USPS grade mailbox.

Today, my mailbox had two mail order catalogs, a shopping flyer and a piece of political direct mail.  I placed them all directly into the recycling bin nearby without a glance. That’s pretty much the routine these days — there’s very little of value in snail mail these days.  It’s all junk.

Unfortunately the email inbox has followed a similar path.  I receive literally more than 300 emails a day, and I used to consider myself an email master.  Now, it’s all I can do to keep up.  I find deleting emails on my iPhone is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning.

Gosh, that’s a depressing thought.  Heaven forbid I leave my desk for 10 minutes because I’ll come back to 20 messages.

The newsletters are the worst — often produced by the publishers that employ the very  journalists who also complain about PR pitches by email.  Every newsletter in the world now offers an “extra” that comes in the form of an additional email (or two) and a “most read of the week” email which contains headlines I’ve already either skimmed or read.

Worse, few publications offer a way to opt out of the extra newsletters without opting out of the content I actually want — it’s all or nothing.  I’m coming darn close to folding my cards and opting for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I like newsletters, I subscribe to them for a reason, but I didn’t consent to the same content in triplicate.     Read More…

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