I began my career in marketing with a traditional Madison Avenue advertising agency in 1981. We spent a lot of money producing and placing television commercials.
In 1986 I managed all of the retail and commercial advertising for a bank and learned the value of database marketing.
In 1992, I introduced the first Olympic trading cards in a press conference at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Because of the novelty of our product, we had more media at our press conference than Coke did in the press conference that immediately followed ours.
The media coverage that press conference generated convinced me of the value of earned media and its been an integral part of any integrated marketing communications plan I’ve developed ever since.
With the advent of social media, earned media is growing in importance and popularity.
Here are five reasons earned media needs to be part of your marketing strategy from a white paper by Zuberance:
- Earned media is the most trusted and credible form of content for a brand. The most trusted source of information about your company, your products and your services comes from your customers in the form of content they create such as reviews, recommendations, ratings and stories about their experiences. If a publisher of a blog or a vertical trade magazine writes about your product or service, it’s an implied endorsement from them as well.
- Social media has amplified the sheer quantity and reach of earned media. Based on a study conducted by Forrester, “each time a consumer posts something on the social web, it reaches approximately 150 people.”
- Conversion rates are higher and ROI is larger. Earned media generated by advocates generates conversions of five percent or higher versus paid media which has conversion rates of one percent or less.
- Earned media has legs. Offline word-of-mouth is very powerful, yet reaches just a handful of people while online you can reach millions and every post will live on in searches and indexed content indefinitely. This is a key reason you want to have brand advocates rather than detractors since anything a detractor says online will live on as well.
- Earned media is measurable. There are a number of tools available to allow you to collect and calculate the quantity and quality of earned media.
In the past four years, I’ve been able to generate more than $25 million worth of free media exposure from P.R. efforts. I am just beginning to see the fruits of my efforts on the social media front but I have no doubt it will be even more successful than our P.R. efforts.
What’s your experience with have earned media as part of your marketing strategy?