If we as marketers had just one dollar for every time we heard the phrase “content is king”, we would probably have enough money to buy and retire on a remote tropical island.
We all know the influence of great content surrounding your brand. With so many different ways to spread your message, it becomes critical to expanding your reach beyond the world of paid advertising and the content produced by your company. We are in a world where influencer marketing is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Social media allows ideas to be shared at the click of a button.
A strategy that includes earned media becomes equally as important as one that includes paid advertisements. In fact, a recent study by BuzzSumo – “earned social media drives 3.8x more traffic than owned social, or content released by brands.”
So, what exactly is earned media?
Simply put, earned media is publicity gained through non-paid promotional efforts rather than paid media advertising. Take a moment to think about the publicity surrounding your favorite brands and celebrities. Chances are that the message delivered to you was carefully crafted and deliberately placed within that media outlet by a team of communication professionals.
As Jonah Berger, explains in TechCrunch, “No one wants to seem like a walking advertisement, but they will talk about something if it’s part of a broader narrative. So build a “Trojan horse” story, a message that carries your brand along for the ride.”
Recent changes in social media algorithms placed an increased level of importance on shared content The creation of a buzzworthy news story surrounding your brand becomes essential and a cost-effective method of expanding reach when you do not have a large budget for extensive digital ad spend.
But I’m not a “publicist”, can I still do PR?
The short answer: YES!
The longer answer: As much as the lines between public relations and marketing are continuing to blur, nearly anyone with a solid understanding of a brand’s identity and messaging can begin to take on tasks that would traditionally be known as public relations.
Tools such as OnePitch help democratize PR and empower marketers to build stronger connections with contacts for earned media placements. By entering the company’s message into a formatted pitch template, the free online tool gives communication professionals a simple formula that will then give targeted journalists the exact information they need to start a great story.
“Making sure you have a finger on the pulse of your client’s industry is a key component to creating a PR success story”(Mike Melvin, Director of Growth, OnePitch).
In addition to OnePitch, marketers can access tools like Google Alerts to keep track of media coverage you earn after a story gets published. Plus, keep tabs on the media attention gained by your closest competitors and keywords that are specific to your industry.
How can I present ROI from earned media to my boss?
One thing marketers are (and should be) obsessed with is the data that determines the return on investment for marketing efforts. Determining direct ROI from earned media has been noted as one of the greatest challenges facing communications professionals. Endless arguments can be made for the metrics that are most important for a company to track.
Ultimately, it varies per industry and per each company’s organizational goals. Marketing and communications teams should be working in tandem with those in charge of sales and overall growth to determine the specific key performance indicators, or KPIs, that justify the investment into your PR efforts.
Some metrics to get you started include overall brand sentiment measured via social listening, development of new media relationships, and number of impressions received. Just like marketers use tools for reporting, there are tools available such as AirPR for neatly displaying the results of your public relations.
The fact of the matter is, in our observations, the current generation of consumers are becoming more distrusting of promotional messages put forth by brands and are relying on alternative sources to get the facts and opinions that will influence their decisions.
According to Rum Ekhtiar, executive VP of RF Radius,“Stories have to be bulletproof enough to pass the sniff test of a journalist, which translates to authenticity and truth when after pressure-testing and research.”
Incorporating earned media into your marketing strategy allows for a trusted third party to express their approval of the service or product your company provides. Most importantly, it presents the information in such a way that your customers’ interests are put first. When your audience feels as though they are being presented with value and truth, you are able to develop a loyal fan base surrounding your brand.
This article was written by Cassie Gonzalez & Jered Martin from OnePitch.