These days, anyone who works in communications, and uses earned media, knows that we find ourselves in a sprawling, fragmented, constantly changing media ecosystem.
At the same time, we work in an increasingly digital universe which gives us some modicum of control.
And when executed well, it allows us to put earned media at the heart of a successful PESO strategy.
Today’s communications professionals do so much more than send out press releases and maintain journalist connections.
They have to understand the conversations and people who are important to their audience.
And they have to manage relationships with an increasingly diverse influencer pool, identify opportunities for their message, and stay on top of trends.
So you’ll need to adjust your comms strategy as you go and clearly connect your efforts to the work of your organization.
Our world of digital communications changes quickly. And while it can often be overwhelming, it also promises an abundance of new opportunity.
We have data available to us like never before. Now, PR teams can prove their impact right alongside the marketing team.
Using Real-Time Data
This happens by using online, broadcast, print, and social media monitoring and analysis.
You have access to intelligent media contacts databases, influencer relationship management programs, and smarter, more data-driven pitches.
There are real-time alerts and notifications that let you know as soon as something important happens.
(And if you don’t have all of these things at your company, there are many great tech platforms that provide them. TrendKite is one of those solutions.)
By using real-time data- and insights built from that data- you can understand precisely how your message is received and by whom. And then you can adjust your message and optimize your impact.
This also allows you to capitalize on the inherent credibility of your earned media by integrating it with the rest of the marketing organization. This will increase brand lift and improve conversion rates across the organization.
So let’s talk about how to make earned media—the ‘E’ in your PESO program—the heart of your communications and marketing strategy.
Here are six ways to leverage the authority and credibility of earned media to drive better results throughout your paid, owned, and shared channels.
1. Syndication to Shared Channels
Share your most interesting, most shared, or most relevant earned media coverage with your company’s social media team so they can share it across your owned social channels.
For channels like Twitter, set up tweets on different days and times to make sure your followers see the post.
For longer-form channels like LinkedIn, consider adding a paragraph of your own interpretation or analysis of an earned media article when you link to it.
Make it easy for your followers to share to their own networks to make the most of social amplification.
Hopefully, you’re getting some shares from the original third-party piece itself.
But do what you can to increase that spread and get the widest possible audience for the message.
2. Influencer Activation
Use a successful earned media article as social proof when reaching out to a new influencer.
If an expert in your field sees a trusted third-party endorsement of your ideas or products, they’re more likely to respond.
And, the right earned media coverage may result in certain influencers reaching out to you first.
You can also use insight from the earned media you generate to identify new influencers or networks of relevant experts you can get to know.
Use earned media insights to better engage with journalists, bloggers, and other influencers on their channel of choice to generate more high-quality earned media which resonates with their target audiences.
3. Promotion Through Paid Channels
By using paid media, you can pave the way for future outreach.
And when you’re working on paid digital campaigns- whether on social or the web- don’t forget to spend some of your budget promoting both earned and owned media.
Audiences unfamiliar with your brand are more likely to click on a link from a publication or blog they recognize. This sets the stage for future interaction with your brand.
If you don’t have control over a paid media budget, work with the team who does. Provide them with some interesting, credible third-party mentions they can promote.
4. Integration into Owned Channels
Take your earned media and turn it into owned content which you can repurpose in your own properties.
Many news outlets and blogs will allow you to repost something from their site with appropriate attribution. So be sure to find ways to share your earned media articles on your blog and website.
Or, you could post an excerpt from an earned media article on your blog (always with a link back to the original source), along with your analysis or take on the article’s subject.
Keep a list of press hits on your website.
And keep the conversation going on owned channels by creating additional content to piggyback off earned media pieces.
5. SEO and Site Strategy
Because you measure the impact of your earned media, you know how articles drive traffic back to your websites.
Take measure of which articles generate the most traffic, as well as the quality of that traffic. What do visitors do when they get to your site? How long do they stay?
Now, use these insights to inform future content creation from blogs and social posts to landing pages, ebooks, webinars, and more.
Your earned media results help show what resonates with your target audience, so you can do more of what’s working (and less of what isn’t).
And be sure you’re quantifying—and reporting on—lifts in organic search and traffic to your site.
You may be able to correlate increases in organic traffic to specific earned media activity, even if those audiences don’t click directly through a news site’s link to your site.
Also, watch for changes in search keywords that send traffic to your site to learn what’s resonating and what you should be pitching in the future.
6. Audience-Driven Retargeting
Set up retargeting campaigns to get your best-performing earned media (and related) content in front of existing audiences to reinforce key messages. This should include existing customers, as well.
It’s a surprisingly common mistake to focus exclusively on the wider market without focusing intentional effort on existing customers.
Work with your digital marketing team to create retargeting ads and nurture emails highlighting your top earned media. Or incorporate messages which have worked well in third-party publications.
Keep Up the Good Work with Earned Media
Communications pros are facing an unprecedented opportunity to take a bigger seat at the table.
And we’ve got the data to show the impact we’re having on our bottom line.
There’s a lot we can do to continue to integrate and amplify our results through the rest of the marketing team.
Start with these six strategies and put the ‘E’ in the PESO model at the heart of your team’s digital communications strategy.
This piece was originally published in Spin Sucks.
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