How earned mediaâ€™s value is shifting
There is immense value in PR, no matter how many â€œexpertsâ€� claim
PR is dead.
Brand managers, marketers and even PR professionals overseeing paid content
campaigns have become very well versed with all the types of new software
that can provide real-time measurement of the impact content is having on
consumers from their initial engagement with the content to where they go
after to what they end up purchasing.
PR pros should bring these sophisticated ideas to their more traditional
earned media campaigns. After all, the most basic definition of PR is
influencing people through content.
Now PR pros can have real-time answers to all sorts of questions and can
tweak campaigns while theyâ€™re just getting off the ground. Is the video
being viewed to the very end? Did it lead to a website visit? How did a
consumerâ€™s attitude towards a brand change?
New business models
New business models are often a bridge to far for PR agencies. Measuring
anything in real-time often flies in the face of setting somewhat
arbitraryâ€”and often costlyâ€”monthly retainers.
It might be time to take change more seriously. As the CEO of Edelman
says in an article on their advertising campaign promoting Edelmanâ€™s expanding integrated creative, paid and consulting
expertise, PR pros â€œhave a business model problem.â€� Namely, too
many PR practitioners pitching to too few journalists. (PR professionals
outnumber journalists 5-to-1 in 2018).
This is leading agencies like Edelman to become more holistic content
creators who work with a brandâ€™s internal content team to time, scale and
distribute branded content creation.
Unless you are
The Coca-Cola Company, your owned and branded content will struggle to attract viewers without
promotion. In fact, a
recent study by researchers using Ahrefs' SEO tool found that 90 percent of organic
content receives no search traffic from Google. Branded content just
doesnâ€™t have the built-in reach and engaged audience of established
To boost your reach, you can tie your branded content strategy into your PR
strategy. Rather than simply trying to create a trend story that a client
can pitch to a journalist, integrated teams can create brand driven digital
trends with creative assets.
A strong example of this tactic is Intel. Luke Kintigh, the head of Intelâ€™s
very well received Intel IQ, explained how
their branded content team can often work in harmony with their PR team.
â€œOur Intel IQ video can serve as a B-Roll-like supplement for our PR team
to entice journalists and gauge if there is media interest,â€� he says. â€œIn
addition, our integrated team can also pick and choose where we want to
amplify an Intel relevant storyline through branded content or earned
content, or sometimes, both.â€�
Top media outlets earn trust
In addition to earned media offering reach, it also boosts consumer trust.
Fake news is a big deal. The recent
Cision State of the Media Report found that 59 percent of U.S. consumers said fake news is making them more
skeptical of what they read and see. Itâ€™s even worse on social media
Edelmanâ€™s Trust Barometer, which found only 30 percent of Americans trust what they see on social
This doesnâ€™t mean consumers eyes glaze over when they see a news story from
a trusted news sourceâ€”quite the opposite. Consumers are moving to media
channels they trust. A
report from the comScore at the end of last year found
data that points to information consumption shifting from BuzzFeed back to
traditional news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Earned media placement on trusted outlets can validate your owned content
and give your brand third-party credibility. With each additional mention
in the press, your credibility increases. For instance, a
past study by Ogilvy found that journalists agree (65 percent) that the more the media covers a
brand, the more credible the brand appears.
The true value of earned media
Merely increasing your digital or traditional advertising budget without an
eye towards incorporating earned media can be costly and ineffective.
While traditional paid advertising may drive clicks and short-term views,
past research from Forrester has found that 88 percent of consumers say
direct advertisements have little or no influence on their actual
Northeastern study found that on average, increasing a brandâ€™s social media output of owned
media by 10 percent saw a 7 percent increase in brand awareness, a 4
percent increase in customer satisfaction, but only a 3 percent decrease in
purchase intent. The same percentage increase in earned social media output
led to significant increases across all three categories.
Edward Kim is the founder of Simple Reach