2020 Is The Year To Push Your Earned Media
Written by Angel Mora
If you are a business leader, work in Public Relations or Advertising department, your routine has probably been reduced to a continuous parade of Zoom meetings with your teammates, just doing everything you can to keep your business afloat until things are normal again.
However, while that happens, the current one is an unavoidable reality. Which means there is a lot to be done and fight for.
That’s why I’d like to introduce a method to boost digital marketing strategies that I have applied with our clients with great results. Also, our partners at Media Coverage have found this strategy extremely fitting to current market behavior.
I’ve based it on 4 key phases (Targeting, Engagement, Measurement, and Integration) which are meant to strengthen the most powerful asset for any company as of today: Earned Media.
What does success look like in the new normal?
We all want to feel safe, and fortunately, that feeling has initiated a process of shock and readjustment, in which we can say that the transition from physical to digital is already a fact. In fact, according to recent studies carried out by Google, there is:
- 40% increase in the use and demand for content through streaming services, social networks, and digital media.
- 36% Rise in online purchases. And-
- 12% More companies are implementing 24-hour delivery services.
That means the bar for engagement and web positioning is higher than ever – a call to action for companies to improve people’s lives and safeguard industries all over the world.
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Why Earned Media Should Matter to You
As implied by its name, this media figure is born from the combined result of the Owned Media (the company’s communication channels) and the Paid Media (long-range channels sponsored by the company).
The way I see it, Earned Media is synonymous with the value within your offer, as well as the level of connection the audience experiences with your brand. Such is the case, marketing programs are being based on monetizing the company’s image in the collective consciousness.
So that tells us a lot about the true purpose of positive impressions towards products and services. Even more in an era as important as what we are going through right now, where there is a huge imbalance between stock and request.
Each content, like, follower, review and mention matters
A company’s digital silence is as dangerous as taking outdated approaches. Therefore, if someone finds your offer, he will do so looking for value, not the product itself.
This is the case of Amazon. The CNBC platform has reported a 28% increase in sales since March, in contrast to Goodyear, which is currently reporting $311 million losses.
But then, how to keep pushing your Earned Media amid low budgets and declining sales? By being timely and useful.
Your efforts in advertising (wide audience reach) and public relations (build trust in users) need to be balanced.
During such a cultural reset, the image your company showcases is formed by both of those aspects, since audiences are forced to inform themselves virtually before actually buying. Therefore, it merits the outlining of comprehensive efforts in your communication areas. Which brings us to our first point.
Let’s stop thinking for a moment about your audience as consumers. Instead, let’s stick to the term “user”. After all, on any current context, the Internet is the resource to go for.
We want to create a bridge for dialogue. In order to do that, we have to determine the platform, time, and context of the message.
But with the current restrictions on experiential marketing as well as the limited reach of Owned and Paid Media, a re-evaluation of the ideal user is needed, especially since Earned Media values depends on it.
Now, having content as a focus, make sure to introduce yourself / stay present in the platforms the audience revolves around. People are trying to make their situation more bearable. And you won’t be able to know how to provide a solution without an updated database.
The same thing applies in the case of small companies that are still in their first stages and can’t count on a high level of engagement.
These are the 3 types of audiences any entrepreneur has to “conquer” in 2020:
- 1. Conservative user: Around 56 years old, this represents the portion of the public that appreciates traditional commerce and still doesn’t fully trust online businesses unless there is a good reason for it (recommendation).
- 2. Standard user: Around 36 years old, they are looking for value. These types of users are interested in prices related to trusted names, as they don’t go into web reviews that often; yet, they still navigate online commerce just fine.
- 3. Ideal user: Starting from 18, for this type of user, comfort is a primary necessity. The key to accessing them is by providing a nice experience. So, if you deliver a decent and personalized catalog on your website, they’re in. Although the most demanding, they make up the largest Internet population.
Of course, you have to keep in mind these are just prototypes, whose behaviors are altered due to current limitations. So everything will depend on the nature of your company.
My advice would be: Get personal. Specificity is universal.
That means, When you go to one or the other, try to do it thinking about an offer that appeals to their most basic needs, something that in the medium and long term can become part of your constant user base; as I expose below.
The engagement behind Earned Media is based on the concept of reaching the users that you have already scrutinized during the previous re-evaluation stage, and the ones you know meet the ideal properties for truly being interested in whatever you’re bringing to the table.
I like to reinterpret the sales funnel. The focus is then placed on awareness and not just on the final purchase, taking into account that the average period for any ROI is reduced from 8 or 10 months to 3 or 4 until the market regains stability.
Then, two key foundations are used:
- Stimulating the interest of users (both the ones who are familiar with your brand and those who are not.) And-
- Leaving a powerful image in the user’s mind as a call to action for purchase or content sharing through branding and lead strategies.
Under this premise, it is not just about posting random information or multimedia content but instead getting real feedback from them via interactive elements such as backlinks and various tools available in social media.
This is what the public relations sector has done so far by building up their reputation – promoting a constant increase in their traffic levels to achieve media coverage.
On the other side, the capacity to obtain coverage is strictly related to the 2 competitive advantages assumed by the company:
- Being able to present one a product or service in detail, giving people the necessary amount of information.
- The willingness to generate one-on-one connections from the obtained trust during promotion.
Content diversification and web positioning
The raison d’être of your business requires you, as a strategist, to standout from the competition. Consequently, after the content is created, it is necessary to delve into the appropriate distribution techniques as well as the content that ideally yields the message you have chosen.
What is the footprint for a robust distribution plan?
- Linking a concept, idea or need with the brand.
- Showing the benefits and opportunities that the public gets when acquiring your offer.
- Materializing the results of complementary actions based on the main objectives.
On the other hand, it must be borne in mind that during a crisis, many of the successful businesses are those that manage to distribute their content on platforms outside of their own, and feed their following base — all in a mutually beneficial agreement.
Allied platforms include bloggers, influencers, news portals, and relevant company websites. Here is an example: f you have an auto-parts business or initiative, it is very probably you’re interested in working together with a shipping home repair mechanic company.
How to convince other businesses to collaborate with yours?
By making interesting publications giving an answer to a problem for both the public and the potential partner: Having the necessary Owned Media and involving the public during the process will be the first step to put yourself on other entrepreneurs’ maps. For that reason, your team has to pull a strategic content base ready to be shared.
For the distribution engine to function properly, settle the available media resources as well as their impact potential. Your goal in this regard will be:
- Using the innovative functions of each channel as part of your promotion strategy: The tools you employ should be a reflection of the benefits, principles, and overall identity of your company. Keeping the interest of the audience will depend on your ease of adaptation to each platform.
- Enabling cross-promotion techniques for content: The interconnections available between each of your platforms influence the main marketing strategy. Empowering one platform involves linking it to another so that your brand maintains a continuous stream of curated content.
- Encouraging user participation: Beyond blog posts and the comments section, there are is an endless list of options meant to motivate users who discover your online offer to get involved. An easy way to do this is to ask direct questions about customs, uses, and allow their opinions regarding your services to be posted or shared by you.
Fortunately, this last system to generate interaction and positioning won’t require the company’s own effort, and from which your brand will profit because its values will align with the demands.
Now is the time to talk about metrics, and how to calculate the effectiveness of engagement strategies driven by content diversification.
Your distribution plan requires definitive objectives. From the digitization of marketing to the appearance of social networks, these are known as SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic in time).
They are the ones to prove the level of impact accomplished. It is also important that when setting the goals you want to reach with the company, your team gets as explicit as possible.
That means outlining a course of action, frequency, predicted consequences, means, and the time for each task; like increasing 1000 followers within a month, or boosting the sales by 5% in that same margin.
Which measure parameters are relevant regarding Earned Media?
- The volume of brand news and mentions.
- Tones employed in articles or third-party posts when referring to your services.
- Processing the number of interactions obtained per publication.
The most common monitoring tools to make such measurements are found in resources like Google Analytics. This tool throws very important data about platforms like readers, comments received, and shares.
Additionally, part of the advantages of having a strong social media presence is that the apps integrate their own measurement mechanisms, which you can determine by following simple formulas.
For example, Engagement Rate by Reach (ERR): The estimated percentage of users who interacted with your content. It looks somewhat like this:
ERR = Total engagements per post (comments or likes) / Reach per post (impressions) x 100
The sum of all ERRs during the week or month must be divided by the number of publications, will provide the average.
This point refers to the conception of the 3 previous steps as well as their subdivisions, translated into one unified strategy. Hence, we can summarize the targeting, engagement, measurement, and this integration step as follows:
- Getting to know your target population in-depth and involved in their digital spaces.
- Enhancing awareness and value levels by updating the sales funnel model.
- Identifying the KPIs suitable for your business and chart the progress of your procedures, as well as the Earned Media outcome.
- Comparing results and refine the above strategies.
Currently is expected a rebound effect on the purchasing behavior of users a the beginning of this year’s third trimester, once social restrictions passed. Therefore, it will be time to reap the rewards of your Earned Media as well as the profits.
As you can see, a moment of financial austerity doesn’t have to incur in a crisis for your business, but rather an opportunity to hone your tactics and cement your position in the market.
If you want to be one of the businesses that stand out for the upcoming 2021, but have limited time, or perhaps manage a small company, you can lean on our team at Media Coverage, where we create strategies meant for strengthening your Earned Media.
Currently, we have a varied list of inbound marketing packages as well as other modalities for your business.