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Best and Worst of Sword and the Script in 2015

Best and Worst of Sword and the Script in 2015

The process of analyzing the best performing and worst performing is both insightful and humbling.

It’s insightful for thinking through why content performed or underperformed.  This is an analytical skill that is easily parlayed into one’s professional work.

It’s humbling for the posts thought derived from epiphany, inspiration or passion that seemingly go nowhere. Every blogger, indeed every writer, can likely relate to this phenomenon.

In either case, it’s important to strive to understand both, and some of the blogs I follow get creative with the year-end wrap up:

Top 5 PR and Comms Posts of 2015

In an effort to understand what resonated, here is what the readers of this blog said were the best posts on the Sword and the Script in 2015.

1. Appetite remains for snackable content. This summary of a 40-minute documentary picked out some of best ideas some brands are using for effective content marketing. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first (and only) documentary on content marketing. If PRSA or AMA produced a similar documentary on marketing or PR, would it perform as well? Here’s the post:

2. PR working smarter. There’s never been a better time to be in PR…if you have adopted to a digital world. At the same time, it’s infinitely more work, the deadlines are tighter and the demands are infinitely further reaching. The logical way to approach the challenge is through process – repeatable PR process – here’s one way I tackle the problem:

3. Does college adequately prepare PR pros? They probably do not; academia by design is merely a foundation on which to build a career. In a guest post on this blog, Sydney Holmquist, a recent graduate working for Vantage PR, struck a nerve with many:

4. The classics as a source. Several high-profile crisis PR cases this year demonstrated why corporations tend to favor fiction over reality when it comes to spokespeople. Fictional characters don’t have any skeletons, but they are also not immune to criticism, lampoon or even tragedy.  Here’s one such case.

5. Content marketing is PR. The approach to communications and the skills required for content marketing are a tradition among the classically trained PR profession. I’ve embraced content marketing for three reasons a) it is effective b) it is the path forward and c) it is effectively what I’ve done my entire PR career, with some modest twists.  Here’s how I spell it out:

Worst 5 PR and Comms Posts of 2015

What didn’t perform so well?  Here are the five readers paid the least attention to:

1. Look before you leap. Remembrances can be tricky business, especially when the focus is on an event with a generational impact. What some consider tribute, others might see as offensive. There’s a thoughtful comment at the bottom of this post by Ross Quintana that drives the point home.

2. A doctor with a video…so what? Dr. Bob splashed on the scene this fall with a simple video that undoubtedly exceeded the wildest expectations of his medical practice. I thought the video was instructive; readers disagreed:

3. Willpower can be nurtured. A combination of news and ideas cross paths in a post that’s something of a parable. Clearly, I haven’t hit any strides in motivational speaking:

4. Military thinking and the marketing mind. No one does plans better than the military. It is a deep, time-tested, structured, thorough and exhaustive process. I like to look for ways to translate some of the thinking from my reserve component service into marketing terminology. Often these posts resonate well; and despite earning a coveted link on Reddit (the poster remarked the post rambles), overall, this one did not:

5. Prevent a PR crisis with a single tweet. Research suggests a brooding crisis can be avoided with a simple acknowledgment or apology. But businesses don’t like to apologize; a post with a better headline, or on the sexy art of the non-apology might have done better:

* * *

What say you?  What characteristics did you see in high performing content in 2015?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Reflections: 5 Lessons Readers Taught Me in 2013

Photo credit:  Instagram; Stone Mountain, Atlanta

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