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Weekly Scripts:  Vetted links across PR and marketing. 
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Dear  <<First Name>>:

Businesses value communications more than ever. 

That was one of the key findings from the 2021 JOTW Strategic Communications Survey (summary | report).

Why do you think that is? Why do organizational leaders see more value in communications today...than they did a year ago?

I’ve worked on the JOTW survey for four years in a row with my colleague in research Ned Lundquist, and I’ve got a working theory: They spent a year at a continual loss for words.

Last year, organizations were blindsided by one calamity after another. That caused every executive, boss, or leader to ponder what they needed to say to employees, to customers, to investors and, yes, to the media.

It was in those moments they may have realized professional, authentic, and meaningful communications work is hard.  It’s not a press release. It’s not a memo. It’s not a briefing sheet with three key messages. 

Communication is more than words. It’s an essential function of every organization. Professional communicators stepped up in a year of crisis in a big way. 

That leads us to the top story in this edition of the Monthly Scripts.    

Yours in marketing and communications,
Frank Strong

PS: Awards alert! The Drum is one of my favorite marketing publications because they cover more than just ads...and they even include PR.  They have a globally recognized awards program open for submissions!  Read more:  4 Awards to Enter Now for PR, Social and Content Professionals [sponsored] 

The Must-Read Articles

Every month I peruse hundreds of articles about marketing and public relations. Near the month’s end, I analyze those metrics with technology and human judgment to find the most important stories. 

Featured

1. Organizations Value Communications More than Ever. When asked about specific functions, respondents overwhelmingly said employee communications (93%) grew in importance compared to pre-pandemic times. (Spin Sucks

Leadership and the CMO

2. Marketing budgets at a low point. “Marketing budgets as a proportion of company revenue fell from 11% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021, their lowest point in the history of Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey.” (Media Post

Marketing

3. Longer sales cycles. “...more than half of the marketing, sales and IT executives surveyed say that, on average, their purchase timeline has increased significantly (21%) or somewhat (34%) compared to a year ago.” (Marketing Charts

4. Copy-cat competition. Your competitors can copy everything except, "The unique way you communicate with customers (and potential customers) and care for them." (Mark Schaefer)  

5. Positioning before messaging. “If you don't purposely position your product, your competition and your customers will do it for you.” (Marketing Profs

6. Mobile attention. US Adults to Spend Almost As Much Daily Time on Their Mobiles As on TV and Radio, Combined (Marketing Charts

7. Incentives in marketing. “‘We’re going to target everyone who can buy from us’ doesn’t sound nearly as smart as ‘We’re going to target only the most valuable sub-segments’...Segmentation is simple, but the incentives require it to stay complicated.” (Marketing Week

8. What makes marketing and pr so hard [in 30 Seconds or Less] (Sword and the Script

B2B Marketing

9. Marketing people-to-people. “B2B has become increasingly person-to-person in that it is real people (versus organizations) that choose, approve and use products and services. Real people with real expectations and real emotions.” (Digital Commerce 360

10. Fame over function. “...B2B marketing campaigns that made rational claims about a company’s products and solutions against those who set out to make their brands famous... fame strategies had an impact on profits, sales... that was 12x higher than making rational claims.” (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

11. B2B sponsors sporting events. "Whether it’s medical equipment or insurance for small businesses, B2B companies leverage sports to tell their often complex stories in a more simplified, relatable way." (The Drum

12. Customer-centric. Why some B2B tech companies fail at marketing (Sword and the Script - guest post)  

13. More optimism. 75% of B2B are optimistic about the business outlook for their organization (CustomerThink

Public Relations

14. The top 10 comms challenges. 1) too many priorities 2) cutting through the noise and 3) working with “leaders that don’t understand comms” (36%) – educating execs is “superpower.” (Sword and the Script)  

15. Tips for corporate apologies. “Agree the customer’s feelings are reasonable given their experience.”  (Mark Schaefer)  

16. Corollary. “A corollary from PR's new luster is that communicators have too much to do. Indeed, the survey found the top issue for communicators is having too many priorities (40 percent).” (PR News

Content Marketing

17. Marketing foundation. Content marketing should be the foundation of your marketing program (Inc.)

18. Data skepticism. “B2B marketers should apply a healthy dose of skepticism to all data, including what they get from third-party lead gen providers and media partners. ” (Follow Your Buyer

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Creativity

19. Less creative? You almost certainly do not need as much new creative as you think. The idea that creative wears out is a myth. In fact, saying the same thing over and over again is how you make your brand more memorable. (Marketing Week)

Media

20. Another plus. Tumblr debuts Post+, a subscription service for Gen Z creators (TechCrunch)

SEO & SEM

21. Crawled but not indexed. “Are pages that are found in the Google Search Console coverage report, under "excluded" and labeled as "Crawled - currently not indexed" a sign that there are quality issues with not just those pages but also the site? Maybe.” (SEO Roundtable)  

22. Fix dropping traffic. You find out that your Google Search traffic dropped. What should you do? (Google

23. International SERP. “Search Atlas makes it easy to see how Google offers different responses to the same query on versions of its search engine offered in different parts of the world.” (Wired

Social Media

24. Unhealthy. “...social media may be creating perverse incentives for divisive content because this content is particularly likely to go “viral.” ...posts about political opponents are substantially more likely to be shared on social media.” (National Academy of Sciences)  

25. Fleeting features. Twitter to kill Fleets feature (CNBC

26. When Twitter trolls Twitter. Edit buttons. (Twitter

Marketing & PR Technology

27. PR tech roundup. OnePitch recommends reporters to pitch; ResponseSource shuts down #journorequests curation; Meltwater acquires Owler; Critical Mention adds “cast & crew” TV data (Sword and the Script)

28. Small fish; big pond. “Sometimes the biggest vendors carry the biggest risks” (MarTech

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Sword and the Script Media, LLC is a verified veteran-owned public relations agency immersed in the B2B tech marketplace. We focus on building sustainable and process-driven programs for PR, content marketing and social media. A defining difference comes down to our approach – that marketing ought to have utility. This is because marketing that helps, sells better than marketing that hypes.  

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Questions, comments or suggestions? Send ‘em.  I’d like to hear from you! 

---------------------------------------------
Frank Strong, MA, MBA
Founder & President
Sword and the Script Media, LLC
www.swordandthescript.com
PR | Content Marketing | Social Media
LinkedIn | Twitter
(202) 352-5920 | frank@swordandthescript.com

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