Earned Media for business growth
with contact sheet of top media journalists
Written by Angel Mora
Nowadays, businesses don’t just have to sell, stand out, and succeed within the market. To this task is added the counteracting of the financial debacle that threatens to devour everything in its path; so it is necessary to count on the support from the public opinion in the form of Earned Media.
That means no one can afford to wait months to get the return on their investment and campaigns. Winning takes much more effort than to just add “These are difficult times …” in front of your offer.
Buyers are not innocent anymore, so you better play smart.
I am going to share with you my special recipe to escape the financial disaster of the past few months via direct and accessible tactics.
2020’s (good) digital marketing brings with it the answers to all our recent problems applying concepts like brand mentions, press coverage, organic traffic, interactions and many more.
These can be broken down into 3 essential attack flanks: Owned Media, Paid Media and the aforementioned Earned Media. Immediately after reading the word “media”, one specific component comes to mind, which is content.
But, leaving aside the “create as much content as you can” mentality, this subject must be tackled intelligently and by (or in response to) media as a whole, which will result in a proper call-to-action and much more important at the beginning of a global conjuncture, in content-sharing.
Have you ever wondered how it is that so many companies managed to recover from crises like the one from 2008 and they are currently making more money than ever while others disappear? Yes, I’m talking about you, Amazon.
Inside The PR Engine
Alongside other techniques, corporations have made their Owned Media and Paid Media to work around one cumulative Earned Media as part of one indivisible strategy. But before jumping right into how integrating all of them works, let’s first take a quick look at the theory:
- Own Media:
As its name indicates, these channels are adopted by us in order to reach users and personal buyers, and ultimately create a long-lasting bond with them, ultimately leading towards conversion.
How it is achieved, is through content creation following particular needs identified, where:
- One main website works as the brand’s main representative.
- Messages strengthen the company’s objectives published from a corporate blog. And-
- Social networks employed as horizontal communication channels (Business-To-Client modality).
Then, the key to Owned Media’s authority lies in diversification. And so, each flow will fulfill multiple purposes. Meanwhile…
- Paid Media:
It is the easiest method — and the most feared by small businesses on a budget — to improve brand recognition.
Those who invest in promotion made in media or third-party platforms with traction earn the chance of displaying their offer to a completely new audience, hence benefiting the website’s traffic individually from the company.
All of that without neglecting full control of the primary message. Among the purposes that make up Paid Media as a branch, we find the linking of offers with news and trends (Branded Content) or the cultivation of traffic by posts/opinion articles introducing promotional messages.
Needless to say such media should be used carefully since it works similarly to conventional advertising; therefore, it lacks a considerable amount of impact and credibility when compared with other alternatives. However, it complies with the following element…
- Earned Media:
Proper management of the details within and surrounding the buyer experience you provide: Spontaneous or free user content distributed all over social media, influencing both online (potential virilization) and offline (collective awareness).
That being the case, whether they have a negative or positive connotation will depend directly on the effectiveness of the aforementioned segments.
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What Benefits Does Unified Media Strategies Bring To The Table?
Feedback: Of course, the fact that there is a difference between each type of media implies that they all contribute particular advantages.
However, when viewed from the perspective that they all belong to a single gear (converged media, or what I like to call the Earned Media Machinery), they become amplifiers of each other, benefiting the ROI.
Impact: In this section, I’d like to highlight the importance of Owned media and Paid media — in that order — depending on the Earned Media, because the more promotion made, an increase in traffic occurs in which you can finally collect the reactions and include them in your strategy of promotion.
Independence: Diversification brings with it a multitude of advantages, such as eradicating dependence on specific portals and tools — something influencers all over the world hate to think about since their entire income comes solely from on platforms like Instagram or Youtube.
Instead, this time it is replaced with a modality that makes the company resistant and adaptable to shifts in the market, as well as trends within networks —content is published whenever and wherever you want with the ideal user in mind—; at the same time managing the reach and response from both audience and media.
The Expert’s Opinion
If you’ve come this far, you’re probably thinking:
“All of this looks beautiful on screen, but how can I be sure that all this verbiage will lead me to more sales”
Well, if so, let me tell you that I fully support you! Everybody’s tired of falling into clickbait traps of trash posts that leave us hanging.
That’s why here I bring to you 3 Facts on how the Earned Media machinery affects ROI and conversion rates:
- Word-to-click marketing: A recent Google study proved that more than 90% of consumers take into account reviews and suggestions from other internet users when deciding on their purchase.
- An ever-changing advertising scenario for smart customers: According to NBC News, the effectiveness of common digital advertising is in “free fall” due to the current pandemic. At the same time, many companies have had to resort to increasing their budget in an attempt to offset losses.
- Never-seen-before-peaks of consumption: In contrast, AcuityAds Chief Strategy Officer, Seraj Bharwani, reported a 37% increase in service usage as well as a 34% rise in levels of purchases made online.
So, after taking into account the above data, how do you make your own marketing strategy integrate these three phases efficiently?
Developing A Bulletproof Plan
Even though there is no single formula, a footprint does exist.
Whether you’re thinking of strengthening an already scheduled plan or creating a new one, there are a small series of universal steps for implementing the Earned Media Machinery that you can from taking a look at this blog.
For example, How well do you know your audience?. I’m not talking about a bunch of data in a monthly spreadsheet, but real people acting based on their needs and stimuli.
It is for this reason that any converging media strategy worth its salt is to dab into the intricacies of its soon-to-be clients’ life to enter their purchasing routine.
The process looks like this:
Start by determining the buyer persona. Specifically, those to whom you currently have access or to the closest public. Detail basic aspects such as gender, age, location, and hobbies. From that field, we enter into the specific.
Mind you, in the last month your target audience pretty much just resorts to consuming content at home and opting for businesses with delivery options; thus, an infallible method is to look the accounts they’re following.
Who do they look up to or respect? This type of internet character is an exemplary window to both potential client’s doubts and wishes, which leads us to…
Let’s remember it is good to trace a “route”, so to speak, of the online places they frequent and where they exert influence. Just as if it were a map, your job will be:
- Delimiting: The number of channels, level of engagement, amount of connections with other personal brands, as well as the interaction across audiences, and how they relate to yours.
- Analyzing: The content they release, levels of engagement alongside how they’ve adapted to changes and trends.
All of that will give you the tools to accurately mirror their needs and supply demands. This information not only helps to magnify Owned Content but also collaborations; something I will explain later on in this blog. Now let’s talk about your message …
Those of us who dedicate ourselves to professional content creation, tend to place a high value on the storytelling component yet almost at the same level there is format and timing:
- Measuring: Finding the difference it makes between including images or videos (or both), uploading content to platforms such as Spotify for audio consumption, providing interactive material (i. e. Polls or challenges), and the medium.
But don’t worry! You don’t have to manifest an audience from scratch. You can explore established communities such as groups or forums, extract email addresses, and combine online with offline activities.
At this point, defining your amplification strategy is your goal. Find the reason for both from this simple question: “What do I want my company to be like after this strategy.
The answer will be subject to which “phase” your business is going through. That is whether you’ve acquired a primary customer base after your initial focus, the number of platforms provided to users interested in finding services/products just like yours as well as the company’s relationship with media outlets and how you want to position yourself in this equation.
After everything’s clear about your aims of popularization and diffusion, let’s talk about how you can quantify it by choosing which are the appropriate KPIs.
Yes, this is a rule as repetitive as necessary. But I promise, once you and your team have found the exact process that works for your business, it will be an effortless procedure.
Here’s my approach to it:
- Appointing appropriate staff: Each member of your company in charge of content must meet a certain objective: Copywriters, storytellers, planners, community managers, and analysts.
This may even involve a restructuring of the department. It is your responsibility as a brand representative to divide working groups and choose the leaders (those you have identified over the course of launching) to ensure full compliance -depending on the line of action- to each task.
- Picking Tools: Google Analytics, SEM Rush, or Piwik show very interesting data regarding the behavior and reaction your content inspires on the Internet.
Progress can be channeled by making a careful examination of the engagement per piece generated as part of settled promotion strategies. And as a closing argument…
- Evolving: Polishing the approach you have been taking depending on the results or changing the direction of a strategy.
Perhaps the actions that until now had been carried out for one goal it’s influencing another seemingly unrelated area. It is on this occasion that there are audits to be carried out and the stages of each cycle to be considered, including the previous technological tools.
Customizing your final image
Something I recommend to my clients is to base their expansion strategy on the buyer’s journey model (awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, recommendation). That is: finding out you’re client’s stage of involvement with the brand and producing different types of content about it.
Here comes into play the behavior of users who interact in one way or another with the company, which leads to the final conversion — that includes downloadables, newsletters, and several other filters.
Here is an elementary example of the buyer’s journey application:
If you run a grocery store, your customers are probably dying to know what the hygiene measures guaranteed by your establishment against viruses are, and even recommendations for food handling at homes as soon as the groceries arrive.
- Enhance your company’s assets.
There is one universal truth that works every time: If you have it, show it.
When it comes to Owned, Paid and Earned Media, they suggest that your content should be found in the right channel for them. But before doing that, be sure to carry out an in-depth study about the resources at hand for spreading the brand’s message.
Many people tend to confuse organic traffic (visits from search results) with the fact that content alone does all the work. If it were so easy…
Any material aligned with promoting your company has to be truly easy to find for users. In other words, even if they don’t enter the main page, that information has to be available somewhere else in the appropriate format. The fewer clicks it takes to get there, the better.
Owned Media (social networks, blogs, websites) are ideal for a first approach and setting precedents with the Google algorithm because it will be published at your own time and form.
Once you have identified the filters between the user and the purchase, assign them a special destination meant for answering the questions of the new potential client. Of course, thinking of the three different types of media as part of the same plan.
How To Take Advantage Of Your Earned Media
Related to the different levels in the buyer’s journey, once the content-creation part is done for Owned Media and alongside Paid Media, you can:
- Redirect users through outsourced sponsored content to purchase pages.
- Grow the continuous interaction between brand and users, encouraging them to propose new modalities and ask questions about future launches or derived alternatives offered.
- Collect reviews from the services or products offered by the company as advice on what to acquire.
- Publish, share, or include in the company’s promotional campaigns all the multimedia material (photos or videos) posted by users who responded positively, which is going to help retain future customers.
Additionally, one of the most efficient (and economic) ways to reinforce all the measures detailed above is to resort to the exchange strategies with online authorities surrounding your industry.
These highly trained individuals or portals, and your company, can benefit from an agreement in which both generate content for mutual promotion.
In that case, two types of buyers converge and new brands become involved. A fairly straightforward road to get there is to use titles and keywords that not only comply with the algorithm but also catch the user’s attention.
The Untold Truth About Content Creation
fter reading all the previous info, it looks like generating content from scratch requires a lot of effort and time. Who would’ve thought?
However, the benefits are indisputable. It is for this reason that once you have reached a significant audience, having applied the above suggestions, you’ll have access to an invaluable amount of content suitable for the brand’s catalog without having to spend an infinite number of hours planning or creating.
A great way to see it is when the feedback obtained from buyers can be tracked to more sales than even the Own and Paid Content. Then, start by adding it to the filters with the highest conversion.
Have You Finally Made It In Digital Marketing?
Currently, even amid this economic partial collapse, all the actions you take as part of your digital strategy will yield results to be analyzed by you or your team.
Such data will show a bigger picture on which of the actions implemented, as well as the earned media, have had the greatest positive impact on your brand.
Success is not a point in space, a position, or a number, but the ability to withstand the test of time instead. Now, having all this knowledge, it becomes possible to delegate and explore other frontiers.
If you’re too busy focusing on core management areas and your digital marketing strategies need an update ASAP, here at Media Coverage we provide customers from all over the world with trained experts in the field who will design a perfect approach for your demands.
For more information, click the link above where you will find a list of reference prices for our inbound marketing plans and many more things.