Happy New Year!
This blog published about 60 new posts in 2018. While some years have seen more, and some years have seen less, that’s about on par with the average over the last few years.
New posts go up every week – consistently – though some posts do better (thank you for reading) than others. As I tend to do at year’s end, I’ll look at the analytics to see which ones were most successful.
I also look at those that weren’t so successful and some wonder why I do it. For me, it’s part accountability, part transparency and part re-purposing of the idea I’m trying to convey.
And so here’s the annual look at the most read, least read, and posts I recommend reading, that were published on Sword and the Script in 2018.
The 7 Most Read Posts in 2018
Here are the posts readers read the most in 2018 – as measured by readers clicks.
The median salary for a PR professional in early 2018 was $95,000, according to an annual salary survey by PR Week. This was flat with the $91,000 median originally reported in 2017 and the $92,125 originally reported in 2016. Across segments, the median for 2018 came in like this: corporate: $132,000; agency $88,000; non-profit: $78,300.
If you are going to invest in PR and media relations, then you want to get the most out of it. To that end, what you do with a mention earned in the media is every bit as important as getting it in the first place. This post covers some things you or PR team should consider doing to extend your investment in PR.
I had a chance to team up with IABC Fellow Ned Lundquist to survey PR and communications professionals that subscribe to his “Job of the Week” (JOTW) email newsletter. The findings put some data around the trends in the PR community and the report is embedded nearby. Whether you are an employer or job seeker you should subscribe to the JOTW for the community. It’s free.
I’m hard-pressed to see applications in marketing or PR for virtual reality because it walls off the real world with a physical barrier like a headset or goggles. Augmented reality, by contrast, does what it says it does – makes something better. It augments reality in a way that has practical use cases in marketing. This post is part of the Unscripted Marketing links (UML) series, an occasional roundup I sometimes post on Saturdays.
In 2018, we saw many marketers pushing brands to dive headlong into politics. They cite various surveys, which I’ve reviewed, but I didn’t think the questions were pointed enough. So, I set out to do a survey that asked better and agnostic questions. This survey – embedded nearby – has a margin of error of (+/-) 6% with 95% confidence.
It seems to me if creativity is a talent it can be fine-tuned, like a natural athlete trains to compete in professional football. Still, talent suggests some intangible pre-existing characteristic that can’t be made from will alone. You either have the talent to play at a professional level, or you do not. On the other hand, if creativity is a skill, it can be taught and with practice, that skill might become good, and potentially even great, though great somehow implies an interdependency with talent. This is another good piece from the Unscripted Marketing series focused on creativity.
Unless your story today is about Google, Facebook, money or scandal, the traditional, bona fide reporters are not interested. Only the most seasoned reporters are granted the editorial liberty of pursuing enlightenment and that population is dwindling. Businesses are compelled to build systems for taking that message directly to a target audience. This is building public relations in the truest sense. So, I contend, in fact, have proven, over and over, for PR, it’s because of the sorry state of media relations, and not in spite of, that an owned media strategy has become essential.
The 7 Least Read Posts in 2018
The following posts didn’t quite earn the attention as some of the others, yet still, there are some good marketing lessons buried in here.
If your marketing isn’t performing, perhaps your competition is doing a better job. Search marketing is a good example of this: if you do all the right things, but your competition does it better, your metrics can still go down.
Google+ is a stain on Google’s reputation. It has a long and growing history of over-promising and under-delivering on its next cool thing. Google will suck up your time and then leave you hanging. Every year we get a reminder that marketing should not make home improvements to rental property – that advice is as relevant and important as ever.
This is a cautionary tale: I’ve seen so many brands spend upwards of $10,000 – and tons of time – for a single professionally produced video that winds up with 57 views on YouTube. And they do this more than once.
Building an audience requires tenacity, hard work and patience. The shortcut, if there is one, is to buy an audience. That so few are paying attention to this means it’s a real opportunity for an entrepreneurial CMO with bona fide content marketing chops.
The point is advertising is not content marketing. Native ads are not content marketing. Sponsored posts are not content marketing. You can augment content marketing with these things and vice-versa, but to have the intended effect, content marketing is its own thing.
Too many organizations focus on what they want to say versus what the audience needs to hear, and then wonder why no one is reading, listening or subscribing. However, successful content marketers put the audience first. In fact, “nearly all of the most successful B2B content marketers (90%) prioritize the audience’s informational needs over their sales/promotional message, compared with 56% of the least successful.” The whole study is embedded nearby.
Many companies allocate a large percentage of the budget to analyst relations and a very small percentage of their time. There’s a perception that if you write a check, suddenly the analysts are your new best friends. It just doesn’t work that way. Surprisingly, analysts are people too, and so you need to take the initiative and make things happen.
7 More that are Worth Your Reading While
The following posts didn’t rank high or low – but I think they are worth your while to read and so have listed them here.
Distribution tends to fall to the wayside for several reasons. First, for many marketers, so much effort is poured into the creation that distribution becomes an afterthought. Second, when it comes to distribution, many haven’t built a subscription model and so the content competes with lead generation emails for distribution (and that’s not truly content marketing). Third, those that do finally get around to thinking about distribution, are generally are doing all the same things everyone else that finally got around to distribution is doing too.
When we think of aesthetics in content, we typically think of graphics and images meant to complement or illustrate the text. Although visuals are important, the aesthetics of the text itself can influence how many people consume content and how long they spend engaged with it.
To be successful, you must build subscribers. Visitors are a good indication, but email subscribers are best.
This is how to stand out in a sea of marketing sameness – and it could work for almost anyone.
This data shows marketing has less and less influence on product, price and place, which leaves us with just promotion. It reminds me that good marketing will make a bad product fail faster.
Trust is hard to build, easy to lose but it’s clearly a distinctive advantage.
For all the new priorities being added, very few priorities are coming off. As such, the pace of modern public relations (PR) professional’s day-to-day work is fast and intense. It’s remarkable how much we get done.
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18 Marketing and PR Statistics that Read Like a Meta Description for the Year 2018
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