How to Improve Your Earned Media Content

by Bryan Bjerke
November 19, 2015

“Marketers are churning out more content than ever before. In many cases, we found that content production continues to increase, no matter how effective organizations feel they are at content marketing.” (From the Business to Consumer Content Marketing 2015 Research)

It’s no secret that marketers are creating volumes of content. However, content marketing strategy can only be effective with the proper use of key forms of media. Creating content can be instructive to your audience. But if you’re satisfied with only the creation and dissemination of content on your website, you’re only halfway up the hill. If your content is worth talking about and sharing, smart content creators build a platform based on paid, owned and earned media to get their messages the rest of the way.

Earned, Paid and Owned Media

There are three forms of media at your disposal: earned, paid and owned. Some examples of earned media, in addition to traditional news release placements, are what is essentially online word-of-mouth viral videos or other content that is picked up by other sites, shared blogs or posts, favorable reviews or recommendations, shares and reposts.

Paid media gives you the most control, as you can decide where you want your ads, messages, banners and the like placed, how often they run and exactly what they say. Owned media comes from promoting your own content on your social media, through customer or influence email lists, your website and other digital content (like this article).

Creating Conversations with Your Audience

Earned media can be the most challenging of the three, in part because it can come in many forms, like news about your company or brand through traditional media, word-of-mouth, unprompted positive reviews and other mentions that come from your most dedicated brand ambassadors. They aren’t a huge segment of the audience…at most maybe a quarter of it. But their passion and enthusiasm for your brand or product should be nourished and encouraged. It’s all about creating conversations you can develop so they can thrive online and off. It’s where your customers become part of your channel.

Traditional PR and Social Media

Traditional public relations efforts are still a good source of earned media, but social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. are playing increasing roles. And sponsored and unsponsored forums and key influencer blogs are also equally effective earned media. That presents new challenges to create content that appeals across this new, expanding, vast horizon of earned media. The diversity of media available to influencers and editors today presents, at times, a challenge for them and an opportunity for you. Providing an audio clip, a short video clip or several key photos, along with to-the-point, vibrant information, can help enhance your relationship and make the influencer or editor’s work a little easier. Any and all of that has to be relevant, of course, and credible. That means finding quotable research whenever possible to reinforce key elements of your content. This can be especially effective when your audience is consumers of trade media rather than general interest media.

Don’t Forget About the Basics

Before you start creating content and thinking about how to properly market it, there’s an important basic exercise to do first. Sit down with your team and list the traditional media, social media and influencers you most want to have talking about your brand or product. From that discussion you can begin to form your strategy using paid, owned and earned media. When you create dynamic, relevant content that highlights your brand and connects to your audience, your earned media strategy can strengthen existing customer relationships and create new brand ambassadors to help tell your story.

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