The power of content marketing is emphasized everywhere in the marketing world, but how do you put a value on the content that your business is producing? Small- and midsize-business owners who wish to maximize their marketing efforts should consider paid, owned, and earned media when creating and distributing their content on their websites and other online channels. Before we dive into why earned media should be the end goal of your content strategy, let’s talk about paid and owned media.
Paid media refers to a company’s efforts to promote its products by paying for a media space and leveraging distribution channels such as web banners, paid search, and traditional advertising.
Owned media is any engagement driven directly by content that the company controls and owns. For example, when you post new content such as videos and blog posts on your website and social media channels, the interaction between the visitors and your company would be considered owned media.
Earned media is the chain of sharing that goes beyond the initial advertisement and is obtained through conversations on social media channels, emails, and word of mouth. Though it may be driven by paid and owned media, it’s an organic share from people who find the content compelling enough to want to pass on to others as a reflection of their own personality in some way.
So, why is earned media important?
1. Gain trust from your customers. We live in a culture where consumers are highly critical of any form of traditional paid media that interrupts their daily lives. They know exactly what they want without being influenced by commercial advertisements. It is clear that no one anymore wants to be ‘sold’, and consumers instead look to trusted sources for any type of life decision. According to Nielsen’s article on earned advertising, 92% of respondents trust reviews and recommendations from friends and family. Through earned media, your company avoids consumer skepticism and receives credibility from an objective third party who trusts your product or service.
2. Strengthen brand advocacy. Earned media creates a genuine bond between an organization and an individual. Customers become advocates for a business by sharing its content and endorsing the brand to friends and family. This adds more value than results from any other paid search campaigns or temporary online web banners because you are growing a group of ambassadors who are voluntarily passionate about your brand.
In order to build earned media, you need to get your content in front of the right people – people who are truly interested in the products and services you offer. This challenge requires you to analyze your target market strategically. You could share your content on all your social media pages and end up with a few hundred clicks only to see your content get pushed back by all the other content. Simply updating your content doesn’t generate earned media. Above all, have an end goal in mind when creating content. It’s important to invite your audience to join your community, engage in conversations and social sharing and amplify positive exposure for your business. Use your content to build substantial awareness and foster consumer relationships that will ultimately drive purchase intent and affect your company’s ROI.