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

If there’s one upside to the Coronavirus pandemic for marketing and communications, it's an environment to study how rumors spread.

Misinformation about the virus has been shared far and wide. Some of it unintentional -- absent “trustworthy verification.” And some is spread on purpose -- “falsification.”

Interestingly, there’s a framework for examining it born out of a psychology lab established at Harvard in 1942.

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

Yours in marketing and communications,
Frank Strong

>>> PS:  New research! 72% of communications professionals say partisan politics makes their job harder, according to the third annual JOTW Communications Survey for 2020. 

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. 


1) Loose Lips: The Psychology of Rumor During Crisis (Behavioral Scientist) "...basic rumor formula: r = I × A, expressing the idea that rumor is a direct function of importance and ambiguity."

Leadership and the CMO

2) Survive or Thrive? CEOs Must Invest Now in Marketing (Marketing Profs) Studies by Harvard and Boston Consulting Group found businesses that cut marketing spend during a recession still struggle when times get better. 

3) An essential marketing tool in a downturn: Spend management (McKinsey & Company) “Think through which services you really need..Change the way the work is done...Optimize where the work is done...Pay the right price.”


4) We have hit peak pandemic advertising, and now they’re all just annoying (Fast Company) “Sometimes hearing the same message over and over again actually begins to engender the opposite emotion and instinct it was meant to inspire.”

5) Marketers: use first party data or die (The Drum) “Third-party data is a commodity, but still a useful tool. It’s used in combination with first-party audiences, and it makes a contribution to measurement.”

6) Hertz is filing for bankruptcy while suing Accenture for $32 million for a website design that Hertz claims doesn't work (Twitter / thread) “Accenture made a ton of money highlighting and positioning themselves against so-called advertising agency short-comings.”

7) Four cognitive biases and psychological drivers for influencing behavior (Marketing Land) Anchoring Effect. Goal Gradient. Social Proof. Loss Aversion.

Public Relations

8) Why COVID-19 Has Renewed Corporate Respect for Internal Communications (ARPR) “Internal communicators played a pivotal role in communicating sweeping changes, first-time policies and health/safety guidance to employees.”

9) These 5 Types of Stories Will Help Market Your Business (Enchanted Marketing) Tell a business founding story; let them imagine using your product or service; best storytellers are your clients; make them up [illustration]; share personal lessons.

10) Our client got shitposted on Reddit. What do we do? (Reddit) "If you're going to take a bath in the media, get clean the first time."

11) The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update (Edelman) “Trust in government is not only up by double digits in six of 11 markets surveyed, it is the only institution trusted by the mass population (62%).”

12) Here are 15 excellent journalism & media newsletters for being in-the-know (PR Newswire) “Whether you’re looking for the latest in journalism job openings, podcasting, digital media, or tools for journalists, hopefully you can find at least one newsletter on this list that meets your needs.”

13) How These Reporters See the Media Landscape Changing (PRsay) “One way is to send your pitches at a different time other than the start of the week.”

Content Marketing

14) Publishers are seeing a mini-boom in coronavirus newsletter signups  (Digiday) Gannett, Washington Post and Time have all launched Coronavirus newsletters. “Time Magazine’s coronavirus newsletter has gathered up 70,000 subscribers.”

15) So, You Want Your Content to Be Audience-Focused. Be Prepared for Some Challenges. (Marketing Charts) “Roughly 6 in 10 say they lack enough staff skilled in content strategy (63%) or that communication between teams (60%) is an issue. And while not covered in the study, another factor in managing content is the sheer volume many organizations have had to deal with.”

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Email Marketing 

16) Unconventional Tips to Improve Open Rates in 2020 (Campaign Monitor) Not quite “unconventional” but a good review of the basics.


17) The Upside of Perfectionism? Creativity. (Harvard Business Review) “Curiosity is strongly linked to creativity. Curious people are more motivated by the possibility of acquiring new knowledge than they are by the prospect of solving specific problems.”

18) New research sheds light on how creatives are performing during COVID (Bulldog Reporter) “Creatives took the transition to remote work in-stride.” [disclosure: client]

Search and SEO

19) Top 10 reasons Google penalizes a site (Media Post) It’s the obvious stuff: Paid links, link building with guest posts; blog networks.  

20) The 10 Basics of an SEO Audit (MarTech Zone) “Search engines are truly behavior engines, not just crawlers that scan the bits and bytes of your site.”

Social Media

21) Marketers at B2B Firms Tout the Value of [paid] Social Media (Marketing Charts) “When asked to choose a single channel that helps their organization reach customers most effectively, 3 in 10 pointed to paid social media...ahead of the runners up, which were paid search (16%) and email marketing (15%).”

22) Where Your Brand Is Going Wrong With Paid Social (Convince and Convert) “ with emojis universally perform better than those without"

23) LinkedIn Publishes its Latest 'State of Sales' Report (Social Media Today) More virtual meetings, but buyers are less responsive as sales cycle lengthens.


24) Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage (Margins) Pizza shop owner discovered “a delivery option had mysteriously appeared on their company's Google Listing. The delivery option was created by Doordash.”

Marketing & PR Technology

25) Google Launches Podcasts Manager to Help Podcasters Maximize Performance (Social Media Today) “...available via Google Podcasts to glean more insights into their audience behaviors in order to recognize relevant trends and shifts.”


26) Behavioral Analytics: An Overview For B2B Marketers (Follow Your Buyer) “Traditional marketing measurements can’t uncover purchasing intent.”

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Recent Posts from Sword and the Script

The Sword and the Script blog and this newsletter are two separate subscriptions: Subscribe to the blog here to receive thoughtful weekly posts. Here are the most recent you might have missed:

Contributions and Mentions from Around the Web

Here are some of the third-party sites we’ve been fortunate to contribute to over the last month or so.

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About Us
Sword and the Script Media, LLC is a certified veteran-owned public relations agency immersed in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. We focus on building consistent, 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 welcome a "reply." 

Frank Strong, MA, MBA
Founder & President
Sword and the Script Media, LLC
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