January 18, 2018
Comms Best Practices
/ by Annemaria Nicholson
While much of a content marketing strategy revolves around creating new content just for your blog (part of your owned media), I highly recommend that you divert some of your attention to incorporating earned media into your strategy.
As a refresher, earned media refers to any site or blog (even social media mention) where a journalist, blogger, or influencer talks about your brand without being paid to. Maybe they’re huge fans of your product. Maybe they found your recent news announcement fascinating. Whatever the reason you’re being talked about, it’s a good thing.
By responding to and highlighting earned media mentions, as well as developing content that others will share to encourage more earned media, you can flesh out your content marketing strategy and make it more well-rounded.
Here, we’ll explore how you can expand your current content strategy to include earned media and hopefully attract more of it.
If your PR team is doing its job to get your brand talked about online, you can enhance those efforts by baking them into your content marketing. Combining your content creation with brand mentions can pack a serious punch in terms of showing that you’re an industry leader who’s moving and shaking things up!
Here’s a great example of our own: a few months ago, Forrester commented on Cision’s recent IPO. Naturally, we were thrilled at such a prestigious media mention and shared this article with our followers. But we went one step further: Nick Bell, our VP of Marketing Communications, wrote a companion piece and linked to the Forrester article. It was subtle; his aim wasn’t to draw attention to the initial media mention per se, but he did link to it in an intelligent way. Anyone who clicked on the link would see a major media brand talking about Cision. And that works.
Not only does it connect the dots between what you’re doing on your own blog and those brand mentions, but it also fosters goodwill. Hopefully, the folks at Forrester noticed our sharing of the link and know that we’re great media partners. You never know when that media contact might reach out again for an interview or a quote, so be a good social neighbor and share those mentions.
You could also create a roundup post if you get enough media mentions. A link and description of what each article is about will show your readers that you’re trending online.
Note: never republish an article where you’re mentioned without permission from the publisher. Google isn’t a fan of republished content, and it could do both the publisher and your own site harm if you copy and paste it to your own blog. Instead, use the roundup as an opportunity to summarize each media mention and link to it.
Another component of your earned media content strategy should encompass creating content that others will link to and quote. Infographics, reports and research are ideal because they provide real value to anyone writing content on the subject you’re an expert in.
We create a ton of resources for PR and marketing professionals. Why? We want to establish our expertise in those fields. These whitepapers, templates, and ebooks aren’t heavy selling pushes, but rather informative content that we hope our audience finds useful. Others frequently link to these resources in their own content, which helps us reach a wider audience with minimal effort. Naturally, if anyone who reads these content marketing pieces is interested in learning more about Cision, they can do so easily. It’s our aim to build trust with our audience so that we can foster further relationships that might lead to a long-term business partnership.
Don’t know where to start? Conduct a survey on a topic that is important to your audience. You could send survey questions via social media and email, and get a sizeable response. From there, create different types of content: a quick-read infographic with the data highlights, as well as a more in-depth report. Once you have the final polished version, pitch it to influencers and journalists in your industry and encourage them to use the research in their own content.
You can also interview industry leaders or get tips or quotes from them for a guide, as an example, on ways to make more money. You could ask 100 experts for their best tip. Then publish the guide and send the link to each of the contributors. You can bet most of them will promote the fact that they were quoted, and that will help you reach even more people.
I said this already, but let me reiterate the importance of sharing any earned media with your network. First of all, the more links you have to mentions of your brand on different sites, the more your audience will be impressed. Clearly, you’re doing something right if all these different sites and publications are talking about you.
But, as I said before, sharing these links also helps out whoever’s writing about you. They decided to cover your news, announcement, product, whatever because they found you interesting, but if they see that you’re proactively monitoring brand mentions and then sharing them (with bonus points for tagging the site or author), they’ll be that much more excited to work with you in the future. And don’t be shy about suggesting ways to work together. A simple “thank you” tweet to the journalist could also say “we’re happy to provide a follow-up interview if you’re interested” to foster a future connection with that influencer.
These days, your content marketing strategy isn’t as simple as just “content.” With paid, earned, and owned media, you need to incorporate elements of each to help you gain the trust of your audience, connect with influencers, and expand your reach beyond your own networks. By celebrating any earned media mention, you not only give your brand something to write about and share, but you also give that media resource additional traffic.
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